Western News

Williams-Singh wants drone operation under JCAA control

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — In light of the proliferation of drones, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Nari Williams-Singh, is advocating that the operation of the unmanned aerial systems fall under the umbrella of the civil aviation infrastructure.

Williams-Singh was recently elected president of the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) 40th Assembly.

“Drone technology or unmanned aerial systems, it's a technology that continues to evolve and develop. And the use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones as they are called, continues to increase as well. So we have seen it fit where we need to incorporate the use of these aerial vehicles into our civil aviation infrastructure,” Williams-Singh argued.

He was speaking to reporters at the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Association (IFALPA) Caribbean and North America (CARNAM) Regional Meeting, hosted by the Jamaican Airline Pilots' Association (JALPA) at Iberostar Rose Hall Beach Hotel, Montego Bay recently.

Williams-Singh reasoned that statistics show that air transport doubles roughly every 20 years “and from the statistics that we are seeing the number of passenger movement is going to be increasing exponentially”.

He further noted that as economies prosper, the population of the world will increase, and the number of people that will have access to air travel will increase at a greater rate.

“So we have to ensure as aviation professionals that we factor all of this, not only the increase in the number of aircrafts, but certainly increase in the number of persons who will want to be accessing air travel, and ensure that we plan accordingly,” the ICAO president said.

“We have to take a very holistic approach because airspace flight information regions are finite space, and if you want to put more aeroplanes in a finite space, you really have to develop initiatives, procedures to deal with that and so you really want to maximise the capacity of the air space, but again holding safety as the overarching priority.

“You also have to look at the infrastructure or air navigation services provisions. You have to look at the airports and how the airports are going to handle this increased demand on their space and so technology will also drive those decisions and how those industries also develop accordingly.”

He said it was a pleasure for him to be asked to be the guest speaker at the IFALPA and CARNAM regional meeting which attracted various representatives from the Caribbean, United States, Mexico and Canada.

“It certainly was a privilege to have been asked by IFALCA, through the Jamaica Airlines Pilot Association to be a part of this. And I think it really augurs well and demonstrates that the aviation sector really needs the input of all of its stakeholders — regulators, the various service providers, the industry organisations — for us to meet our mandate. Aviation safety and security is all of our priority and so once we have this sort of synergy going we'll continue to meet our mandate,” said the JCAA director general.


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