Thursday October 1, 2009

The Captain Augusta George Airport on Anegada is now certified by the regulatory body, Air Safety Support International (ASSI) to receive international flights.

Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE received the certification from His Excellency Governor David Pearey who expressed delight that this “important landmark in the development of the BVI aviation sector had been reached.”

Governor Pearey also noted that, “This new status for the airport clearly opened the way for the further development of the tourism product on the island."

As the Minister for Tourism and the representative for Anegada, Honourable O’Neal welcomed the certification and the potential it brings for the development of the tourism industry there.

Acting Director of Tourism, Ms. Hadassah Ward also welcomed the new certification.

“Increased access is great news for the Anegada tourism industry and we hope that this certification will lead to better landing facilities and improvements at the airport so that more airlines will be encouraged to fly in,” she said.

The new certification by ASSI follows a year of diligent improvements by the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) to address the problems hindering international certification and ensuring that the airport meets the requirements.

ASSI’s Caribbean Manager, Captain Margaret Wilson commended the BVIAA for “its excellent work in resolving many of the findings affecting the certification of the airport.”

Captain Wilson explained to the Department of Information and Public Relations that, “In order to be eligible for international certification, the aerodrome must meet stringent International requirements with respect to the physical size of safety areas at the aerodrome; the completion of manuals describing all operations at the aerodrome; the provision of fire fighting and numerous other mandatory obligations placed on the aerodrome operator.”

Having secured international certification, it is expected that the airport will seek full night certification, which will involve the installation of lights to facilitate night landing.

At present, ASSI only permits medical evacuations by specific operators after dark.

The Captain Augusta George Airport was primarily used for inter-island domestic flights, providing an important link to Tortola, but with its new certification, the airport can now receive direct international flights.

The airport can accommodate light twin-engine aircraft which can operate within the declared distances.