Willemstad/ Aruba:--- Civil Aviation Inspectors from the Netherlands (ILT) who traveled to Aruba and Curacao to conduct an investigation into the air-worthiness of Insel fleet, and the competence of the Aviation Authorities of Aruba and Curacao has released a very disturbing and damning report that travelers should take keen note of since airworthiness and flight safety of Insel fleet of Insel Aruba and Insel Curacao have great risks.
The Secretary of State “Dijksma” informed the second chamber on February 21st advising them on the safety situation of Insel Air all of which was based on the findings of the Aviation Inspectorate of the Netherlands (ILT). The letter was sent to inform the second chamber on the findings and the follow-up actions taken by ILT. During the week of February 5th, a team of inspectors conducted and indebt investigation in conjunction with the local civil aviation authorities of Aruba and Curacao who requested their assistance. The Secretary of State stated in her letter that the Curacao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) does not have the required legal framework in place to guarantee compliance and other legal requirements. Certain part of the legislation does not meet international norms and standards. The CCAA does not have sufficient competent staff, an insufficient structure while proper management is lacking. ILT also concludes that there were insufficient independence and objectivity towards Insel Air. Insel Air International seems not to be in compliance with essential parts of Aviation Legislation, creating a huge safety risk for travelers.
The Supervisory system of CCAA was unable to prevent the high safety risk caused by Insel Air. The report further states that ILT was not able to get sufficient insight into the agreements that were made for the “wet-lease” with other airlines for the lease of aircraft's that are currently transporting passengers internationally for Insel Air. As per Aruba, the department Civil Aviation (DCA) has sufficient staff with broader and more diverse experience, a good management structure where internal procedures have been established. The supervision remarkably focuses on the inspections of the daily operations --- the so-called product inspections, while in a limited amount of time on system levels. Insel Aruba is not in compliance with essential parts of Aviation legislations that has elevated a very high safety risk, while the supervisory level of DCA was also not able to prevent these risks for travelers. The high safety risks involved demanded actions, as such in consultation with the Minister of Economic Affairs of Curacao, the Curacao has agreed with the assistance from ILT and the transfer of authority to supervise Insel Air International and also to evaluate the current wet-lease agreements. Besides, that ILT will work closely with CCAA to provide reinforcement for them and to ensure that proper legal basis is established along with supervision.
As per Aruba, the department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has sufficient staff with broader and more diverse experience, a good management structure where internal procedures have been established. However, supervision remarkably focuses on the inspections of the daily operations --- the so-called product inspections, while a limited amount of time was placed on system levels. Insel Aruba is not in compliance with essential parts of Aviation legislation which has created a very high safety risk, while the supervisory level of DCA was also not able to prevent these risks for travelers. The high safety risks involved, demanded actions, as such in consultation with the Minister of Economic Affairs and Transportation of Curacao, Curacao government has agreed with the assistance from ILT and the transfer of authority to supervise Insel Air International and also to evaluate the current wet-lease agreements. Besides, that ILT will work closely with CCAA to provide reinforcement for them and to ensure that proper legal basis is established along with supervision.
While in Aruba discussions were held with Minister of Tourism and Transport of Aruba, who also agreed that ILT will be formerly involved in the re-certification of and the future the decision to release the grounded aircraft of Insel Air Aruba. ILT and DCA will work closely to improve the quality of DCA in Aruba, ILT will be granted formal authority to conduct the work they have decided to do. Clearly, both CCAA and DCA have been proven to be incompetent bodies that could not flight safety for travelers.
Both countries within the Kingdom, Curacao, and Aruba will sign a collaboration agreement with ILT and make separate legal agreements to grant ILT the necessary authority to execute the tasks. The outcome of the joint inspections with Curacao, Aruba and ILT are necessary to guarantee the flight safety of Insel Air. The Secretary of State made clear that unless she receives clearance from ILT that flight safety has been guaranteed, the Minister of Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk will join her in maintaining the travel prohibition for Dutch Civil Servants and the Marine Korps.
The report which was found on the ILT website along with the letter can be viewed beneath this article.
Now that the ILT and the Dutch Secretary of State have made their report public, it behooves the people of St. Maarten of the steps to monitor the that will be taken by St. Maarten Civil Aviation and Government, namely the acting Minister of TEATT Rafael Boasman. It must be noted that St. Maarten Civil Aviation formerly falls under the CCAA and if they are incompetent and are not able to guarantee air transportation safety then St. Maarten has to now look in other directions for proper guidance or join the ILT to build St. Maarten’s Aviation Authority.
It is clear that the ILT and the Secretary of State of the Netherlands chose to properly inform the general public of their findings in order to guarantee public safety and proper awareness, something St. Maarten should consider especially the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) and USZV that are scheduled to be audited in the near future.