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Call for Greater Recognition of Air Traffic Controllers

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004 – The Ministry Of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation has called for greater recognition of the role of Air Traffic Controllers in securing the safety of the Region’s airways.

Addressing the one day workshop on the Liability of Air Traffic Controllers at the Bay Gardens Inn on Tuesday, August 31, 2004, Officer for Civil Aviation in the Ministry of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation, Alva Baptiste said there was need for a better appreciation of the critical functions of Air Traffic Controllers.

“The only time that an air traffic controller receives any significant form of publicity is when major incidents and accidents occur. This is the only time that their jobs as Air Traffic Controllers are important, and the tremendous responsibility that they have for people’s lives are acknowledged. Air traffic controllers have been murdered in the aftermath of ATC incidents and major incidents, which provides fatal evidence of the importance of Air Traffic Controllers and the inherent risks involved in discharging the duties of an Air Traffic Controller,” said Mr. Baptiste.

Mr Baptiste acknowledged the integral role of the Civil Aviation industry for the sustained economic development of the region. He also highlighted the pivotal role of air transport in the Agricultural, Tourism and Trade sectors.

He said, “The availability of the region’s airports has created entirely new industries, such as the export of fresh fruit from the region to Europe, because it provides a faster mechanism for distributing those perishable goods. Air transport is also the most reliable means of inter-island transport within the region. It serves as a vital transportation service for local businesspersons, traders, as well as the local travelling public. Safe, reliable air transportation is vital, in this community of small island nations.”

He concluded that the sustained development of the Region was critically dependent on a comprehensive air transportation system responsive to the Tourism and Trade needs of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).



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