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Aviation attorney warns of audit impact

  • Llewellyn Boyer-Cartwright.

Published: May 01, 2013

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Less than two weeks before the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) lands in The Bahamas for a thorough audit of air safety regulations and practices, a former commercial pilot and leading aviation attorney said the country must “continue to pay close attention to international requirements or face the real risk of a widespread economic impact that could affect the entire nation”.

“Aviation is a highly dynamic and ever-evolving industry and you cannot compartmentalize it or try to separate it from any other part of the economy,” said Llewellyn Boyer-Cartwright, a partner at law firm Callenders & Co. and an outspoken proponent of the creation of a Bahamas international aircraft registry.  "We are under serious scrutiny by the FAA to meet ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) standards and there is a lot at stake.  If The Bahamas is downgraded from category one to category two because of unfavorable FAA findings, it will affect everyone across the board, airlines, hotels, restaurants, banks, taxi drivers, rental cars, every sector of the economy.  When air travel is impeded or believed to be less secure, the impact is immediate."

Boyer-Cartwright pointed to the U.S.  "Because of budgetary constraints and the furloughing of 1,500 air traffic control officers in the U.S., the impact was instantaneous.  In one day, air travel became congested with hours of delays, frustration, missed business appointments and cancellations.  It was so bad that Congress had to act immediately. It was the first area that was restored after sequestration.  Congress did not address other affected areas such as Head Start programs, Medicare, etc., but it paid immediate attention to air travel."

Boyer-Cartwright's comments came yesterday following a story in a daily newspaper quoting Civil Aviation Department Director Patrick Rolle as saying the country was well on its way to making the improvements demanded by an ICAO "action plan for The Bahamas" following its 2012 inspection.  ICAO is the overriding regulator of international civil aviation.  Its report was highly critical, rebuking The Bahamas for what it called the worst aviation regime in the region. If FAA inspectors do not find improvement in key areas, The Bahamas could be downgraded, something that could affect airlines and travel.

"When it comes to aviation, there is no compromise," said Boyer-Cartwright.  "There are good people, like Captain Patrick Rolle, who are truly committed to what they are doing, but we are lagging behind.  It is quite sad that after 40 years of independence, we have come such a long way but we still have such a long way to go when it comes to aviation regulation and oversight.  It is one of the reasons that I have been fighting so hard to establish an international registry. Once an international registry is in place, there can be no turning back because we will be forced to meet and continue to uphold ICAO standards.  It will be better for all of the airlines, especially the national air carrier Bahamasair, which now faces more danger in Family Island transport, especially, than any other airline simply because of the frequency of flights.  Sometimes it takes a wake-up call to make all of us move more quickly and prudently."


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