Saint Lucia could ditch the Antigua-based Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), according to this country’s Civil Aviation Minister, Guy Joseph.
Citing what he said are challenges which Saint Lucia continues to have with the authority, Joseph told reporters Monday that a number of airlines are encountering difficulties in acquiring requisite licences.
“Presently with my department we are working on a couple of areas where if an American based airline wants to operate in Saint Lucia, they would need certified TSA persons to do their baggage handling and things of that nature,” the Saint Lucia minister disclosed.
He observed that it’s one of the problems at the George Charles airport that the authorities are trying to rectify.
“There are a couple of airlines and there is one airline that was already providing service to St Croix and these places, and because of the challenges they were facing had ceased operations, but have recommenced operations and we are also in discussion with them to get a 40 seater to run at least between Saint Lucia all the way up to Jamaica,” the Civil Aviation Minister stated.
He said local authorities are working on obtaining the requisite licences.
Joseph recalled that some time ago, Saint Lucia announced that if it could not get matters rectified through ECCAA, it would consider pulling out of the organisation and aligning itself with another agency offering the same service.
“We have not ruled this off the table completely,” he declared.
However he explained that local authorities are working as best as they can to resolve matters.
Joseph told reporters that “quite a few airline people” who have shown interest in Saint Lucia continue to visit his office highlighting the challenges they face in obtaining a licence from ECCAA.
” I can tell you that when I see other Islands having four airlines with licences on some occasions and Saint Lucia has so much difficulty. There are all kinds of issues being raised to get a licence to operate an airline from Saint Lucia and we do not intend to continue to be held hostage,” Joseph asserted.