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$40k annual spend on safety training for Civil Aviation

Safety training expenses for the Department of Civil Aviation total around $40,000 annually, according to its Director Patrick Rolle, placing priority on that aspect of flying as domestic carriers currently undergo an international training program.

Rolle told Guardian Business yesterday that safety costs in the sector are relatively high across the board for local carriers, in an effort to stay up to speed with global standards.

“Because of the size of our carriers it’s hard to say but they spend considerable amounts,” Rolle said.  “I know for our training within Civil Aviation…  in order to maintain our people in the safety division we’re spending an average of $40,000 a year, to ensure that we are up to date with those procedures and standards.”

Rolle’s comments came after the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) began its State Safety Program (SSP) yesterday to introduce basic safety management principles and train local carriers and get up to speed with the guidelines set by the aviation organization.  The training will be conducted over the next several months, with Rolle optimistic that it will benefit airlines from top to bottom.

Rolle mentioned that each airline will have to conduct audits of their operations and re-evaluate their respective safety segments, which potentially could reduce or increase expenses already incurred.  It will also help assess the spending done by Civil Aviation as well from a safety standpoint.

“The intent of the course is to mitigate risk, so anything that we find that could become a hazard to the flying public or the operator, Civil Aviation gets together with the operator and finds the best resolution for that,” he said.  “(During) the week of training that we’re having we’ve brought in all of the stakeholders and are going through a safety management system and a state safety program, which will allow [stakeholders] to see that not only must they implement the safety standards, but those standards must be maintained.”

According to the Civil Aviation chief, airlines that don’t comply with the ICAO standards will be subject to fines and other penalties, and licenses could even be revoked in some cases.  Around 20 stakeholders were present for the first day of training.

Safety management expert for the ICAO Alfredo Arrisueno is heading the training session and is impressed by what he has learned about The Bahamas’ aviation sector so far.

“The Bahamas has good safety levels and a good legislation in place,” Arrisueno said.  “Aviation is very important in The Bahamas and this project will help The Bahamas to improve more and more and to be [up to the standards] which are now established by the ICAO.”

He mentioned that no glaring flaws have been found in the aviation sector at this point, adding that The Bahamas is the first country in the Caribbean to go through the state safety program.  This will place the local industry at an advantage over other countries by completing the process first, according to Arrisueno.

“Being the first country in the Caribbean to go through the SSP training will put The Bahamas ahead of others when it comes to the program, and once they complete this course they can continue to grow the sector which already has good airlift and a number of carriers coming here,” he said.

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