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Dec 5, 2014

Civil Aviation Lays Wreaths in Honour of Fallen Pilots

The Department of Civil Aviation held an event today to coincide with International Civil Aviation Day. The activities began with a wreath laying ceremony to honor pilots who perished in aircraft crashes since 1971: Malcolm Roe, Kandasamy Daran, Dwight Santana, William Fincher, Luis Rene Tam and Sir Barry Bowen. That aside, a review of the Department and the aviation sector in Belize cites significant improvements which place Belize as number one ranking country in CARICOM, number two in Central America. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

The seventieth annual civil aviation day celebration took place today at the department’s offices near the Phillip Goldson International Airport. Held under the theme, “Promoting Global Friendship and Understanding,” the event sought to recognize the accomplishments of the industry and to acknowledge those employees who have gone the extra mile in carrying out the work of the aviation department.

 

Lindsay Garbutt, Director, Civil Aviation

Lindsay Garbutt

“When we checked out statistics, we recognized that we are going to be having close to three hundred thousand operations this year basically from the municipal airstrip, the P.G.I.A. and San Pedro. And we recognize that this could not happen in the safe way it does without the contribution of those people: the aircraft mechanics, who make sure all the bolts are as tight as they should be and work day and night to make sure that those engines keep running. We want to thank the pilots, who have an enviable record for safety that is comparable to any country anywhere in the world. And certainly we want to thank the owners of Tropic and Maya…you who are true pioneers, who have sacrificed your time and your capital to grow this industry.”

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Civil Aviation

“The International Civil Aviation Organization carried out a comprehensive review of the Department of Civil Aviation and the aviation sector in Belize. The IKO audit revealed that our operations have improved by twenty percent over the previous audit, making Belize the number one ranking country in CARICOM, the number two in Central America and among the top five in the entire Latin America.”

 

Earlier today, civil aviation employees, family and friends of deceased pilots gathered near the municipal airstrip this morning to lay a wreath at a monument in memory of the fallen pilots. Eight have perished since 1971; six of which have been due to aircraft crashes.

 

Francis Lizama, Flight Operation Inspector, Department of Civil Aviation

Francis Lizama

“Since we normally celebrate the International Civil Aviation Day, every year we do honor and remember our fallen pilots from Belize. We miss them and every year t just happens that we remember them by putting a wreath there for them and their families.”

 

Duane Moody

“Tell us how many persons have lost their lives since the inception of civil aviation unit.”

 

Francis Lizama

“Well apparently fallen pilots are about eight in all; one went missing, a missing pilot, and one died of natural death. The others have died of aircraft accidents in Belize.”

According to Minister of Civil Aviation, Manuel Heredia Junior, fifteen million dollars have been invested in aviation infrastructure with an additional seven million by the end of 2015.

 

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“From the time my government took office in 2008, we have worked diligently to improve the aviation infrastructure across the country for the further development for civil aviation in Belize. More than fifteen million dollars have since been invested in physical infrastructure in Corozal, Dangriga, Punta Gorda, orange Walk, San Pedro Airstrip and at the municipal airport in Belize City. By the end of 2015, we would have invested an additional seven million dollars to complete the works ongoing at the municipal which will serve as a first class hub for local air transportation. With more than twenty-four thousand flights annually, my government feels that this is the least that we can do to ensure the safety, security and convenience of our citizens and visitors alike”

 

The Industry Award for outstanding contribution to the growth and development of civil aviation was presented to Rudolph Coye, while Marsha Hinkson was awarded employee of the year for the department. Duane Moody for News Five.

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