AIRPORT–St. Maarten has been removed from the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) list on which it was previously listed as a Category 2 (CAT 2) country. St Maarten’s removal is based on there being no current St. Maarten airline servicing any United States (US) destination, nor has there been a codeshare agreement between any US carrier and a St. Maarten airline for 4 years.
It is standard under such conditions for the international programme and policy division of the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to remove countries from the list, whether they are CAT 1 or CAT 2. This policy was adopted by the FAA to improve the quality and accuracy of the programme and the IASA list.
According to Civil Aviation, Shipping and Maritime head Louis Halley, “Curaçao was downgraded to CAT 2 after failing its audit. At the time, Insel Air was also not flying to the United States. Since some of the responsibilities for St. Maarten’s aviation service were being executed in Curaçao after 10-10-10, while St. Maarten was establishing its own civil aviation authority, we were automatically downgraded to CAT 2.”
Halley said St. Maarten’s removal from the IASA list does not mean that its score was changed in the US. What this means for St. Maarten-based airlines is that the prohibition of flights into the US will remain until St. Maarten is reassessed and receives a satisfactory score of CAT 1.
Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Stuart Johnson said on Thursday that being on the IASA list is essential for any tourist destination, but especially for St. Maarten and the neighbouring islands it is necessary to remain competitive in the level of airlifts offered.
He said, “The ability for our local carriers to engage in reciprocal code-sharing exercises between American carriers is a critical component of our ability to expand the hub function of Princess Juliana International Airport. Once the department performs its internal checks and balances, I am confident that they would be able to pass the FAA examination and St. Maarten can be restored to a CAT 1 destination.
“It is crucial for the Civil Aviation stakeholders in St. Maarten to know that the Department of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of TEATT remain committed and are diligently working with their partners in the Kingdom of the Netherlands to address the deficiencies.”
The Department of Civil Aviation will take all the corrective actions and/or measures before the end of 2019, after which it will request an audit from the FAA so that St. Maarten can be reinstated as a CAT 1 country. Once this is done, St. Maarten airlines will have the opportunity to fly into the US or to engage in code-sharing agreements with US airlines to facilitate visitors travelling through St. Maarten to the US.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/86753-st-maarten-removed-from-iasa-listing