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Dec 7, 2015

Civil Aviation Day Commemorated in Belize

December seventh, by resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, is recognized globally as International Civil Aviation Day. The purpose of the celebration is to generate worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation.  Today, the local Civil Aviation Department observed the day with a solemn ceremony in honor of pilots who have left their mark in the aviation industry in Belize. Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

This morning at the monument at the Municipal Airstrip, a memorial ceremony was held by the Department of Civil Aviation to honor dozens of fallen pilots for their contributions to the industry. In the presence of relatives and friends as well as civil aviation employees, wreaths were laid on site as they collectively remembered deceased pilots.

 

Lindsay Garbutt

Lindsay Garbutt, Director, Civil Aviation

“Today is International Civil Aviation Day and we thought what better way to celebrate it than recognizing those pilots who contributed so much to the development of civil aviation in Belize; to the fallen pilots who are not here with us. Over the last few years, we have always given an award to somebody that’s special in Civil Aviation and that has contributed. This year, we decided that that award would go to the fallen pilots who like I said paved the way and gave their lives in civil aviation.”

 

Since 1971, six pilots—Malcolm Roe, Kandasamy Daran, Dwight Santana, William Fincher, Luis Rene Tam and Sir Barry Bowen—have lost their lives to airplane crashes; others died from other causes. One such pilot is Nigel Flowers, who died at the age of thirty-four.

 

Alma Ellis

Alma Ellis, Mother of Nigel Flowers

“Nigel when he was three saw the movie Top Gun and then because of everything and actually it was a gunner pilot that he wanted to be, but we don’t have that here. As his passion was nourished, he grew up to be this humble, wonderful pilot. Nigel attended Lubbock after trying with the Belize Defense Force, but because of a medical problem with his eyes, they didn’t accept him even though he came first in the course. Went to Lubbock and did extremely well there; he came back and his passion continued.”

 

Lindsay Garbutt

“Fortunately, we had the families represented and they were given the opportunity to say something that they had remembered about these pilots. So I thought it was a great experience to hear fathers, mothers, brothers, relatives talk about these people who meant so much to them and meant so much to them and so much to aviation in Belize.”

 

Annually on the celebration of International Civil Aviation Day, the local aviation department acknowledges the achievements of the industry and honors those who made an impact in aviation locally. It was also established with the intent of promoting the safety, efficiency and regularity of international air transport.

 

Lindsay Garbutt

“Our primary goal like we said last week was to start the process of completely renewing and updating all our equipment for air traffic services. The other significant achievement was to bring on more air traffic controllers, to bring on more technical people in our department; to spend even more or invest even more—I think more investing than spending—invest even more in developing the capacity of the people we have working in the department of civil aviation and I think we have been very successful in that.”

 

Yashin Dujon

Yashin Dujon, C.E.O., Ministry of Civil Aviation

“I think you’ve seen growth in civil aviation. We have two new carriers coming on line; one is here already and one will be done this week. We hope to see more traffic. We need to explore these markets; we need to look at exploring business linkages again. You mentioned earlier my background in trade…and it is ultimately important that we don’t only depend on passenger traffic, but we look at what we can trade and what we can trade and what we can move within the region.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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