IsLands’ Airport Safety Conference Takes Off at SXM Monday.

SIMPSON BAY:— Experts from various airports that comprise the Islands’ Airport Safety Committee (IASC) will be discussing issues related to all aspects of operational safety at aerodromes from Monday, May 21 to Friday, May 25th, at a conference hosted by the Princess Juliana International Airport, SXM. The Honorable Interim Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Dr. Cornelius de Weever, will officially open the conference which will attract delegations from Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bonaire , Curacao, Saba and Suriname.

According to the head of the SXM delegation, Stefania Kong – Gumbs of the Quality Assurance Department, the conference was supposed to have been held in September 2017 but due to hurricane Irma it had to be cancelled. SXM was given the opportunity to host this year’s event by the President of IASC, Mr. D. Phalai and Mr. Michel Hyman, COO, accepted on behalf of the SXM airport. At the opening session on Monday, Hyman, will provide the conference with updates and information about developments at SXM Airport following the severe damages inflicted by Irma last year. FAA expert, Kenneth Taira will give a presentation on “Safety in Airport Design”
while another FAA colleague, Mr. Mahendra Raghubeer will follow with a presentation on “Safely in Airport

The packed schedule which includes a meet and greet at the beginning, conference meetings, audits, and a closing party on Friday, has been designed to offer participants an opportunity to engage in interactive sessions, while they would also be able to see for themselves how the island, and particularly SXM airport, continue to recover from
the devastation of last September storms.

“Aviation safety is at the core of SXM Airport’s fundamental objectives. SXM Airport is constantly striving, in close collaboration with partnering airports and the entire air transport community, to further improve aviation’s successful safety performance while maintaining a high level of capacity and efficiency. We are indeed happy to be able to host the Conference this year, in spite of all the challenges of rebuilding our airport and island after the unprecedented damages suffered at the hands of Irma and Maria last year,” said Hyman.
“We hope all participants will be able to experience first-hand the resilience that we are known for, and the friendliness that is our trademark,” he added.

Presentation by COO Michel Hyman.

Opening of the IASC Conference

Honorable Minister of TEATT, Dr. Cornelius de Weever, President of the IASC,
Heads of Delegations from IASC membership

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Let me begin by thanking the President of the Is-Lands’ Airport Safety Committee, Mr. D. Phalai for giving us the opportunity to host this year’s conference. Last year, the conference was to have been held in September, but as you know, it had to be cancelled as a result of Hurricane Irma. We have been steadily digging ourselves out of the rubble the storm left behind. We are however honored to welcome you, as always, with open arms, to this important conference.

Safety for us at SXM Airport has always been and will continue to be top priority. This has become even more so in the aftermath of the hurricanes of last September. Only those who lived through that nightmare would know how powerful Irma was. Gusts of up to 230 miles per hour were recorded at our airport and storm surge recorded at
18 feet high. That is what hit us on September 6th last year.

As you can see, we are in full recovery and reconstruction mode right now. Our goal is, of course, to rebuild better, stronger and smarter, so that, God forbid if we ever get hit again, we will be able to withstand storms as strong as or stronger than Irma and Maria. In this process, our focus remains firmly on safety; operational safety; passenger safety, and safety of equipment, aircrafts, and in particular, safety of all our staff
and employees.

The Princess Juliana International Airport has been a member of the Is- Lands’ Airport Safety Committee since its inception in 2006. And this is the third time we have had the honor of hosting this Conference where we exchange safety information, sit in safety classes/workshops, review various aspects of aerodrome safety and share safety ideas. This has always benefited us as an aerodrome operator and has helped us prepare for external audits.

But let me say this: the safety of any one of our airports affects the reputation of all the others in one way or another, the same way that when a hurricane destroys any one of our islands in the Caribbean, the whole region feels the impact.

That is why coming together in conferences like this one allows us to share experiences and best practices, while ensuring that we all remain on the same page when it comes to safety matters.

Aviation safety is not only a national or regional concern, it is a global issue, with organizations like the International Civil Aviation Organization, ICAO, at the forefront of promoting aviation safety worldwide. Recognizing that the air transport industry has a significant role to play in world economy and development, ICAO, a United Nations body, sets Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) to “facilitate harmonized regulations in aviation safety, security, efficiency and environmental protection on a global basis.”

We must, in our own region, function as a mini-ICAO, fostering cooperation among ourselves, to improve safety at our airports and therefore continue to earn the confidence of all our users.

Finally, I would like to ask for us to keep in our prayers the family for the more than 100 passengers who lost their lives when a Boeing 737 crashed shortly after take-off from the Jose Marti International Airport, Havana at about midday last Friday, May 18th. This is a chilling reminder of how seriously we must take aviation safety.

I wish you all very insightful and useful deliberations and a very successful conference.

I thank you.

Source: St. Martin News Network