As we appreciate the novelty of the 2017 year, and anticipate the fulfilment of the opportunities it brings, I join Chairman of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Mr. Phillip Henriques and members of the JCAA’s Board, in wishing our invaluable team members, industry partners and stakeholders a healthy, happy and successful 2017!
The JCAA is grateful that, as an Authority, we were able to transition to the 2017 year on a positive note, by maintaining an aviation industry that supports and serves Jamaica, as a facilitator of trade, tourism and national development.
Over the past year, the JCAA continued to mature as a leading aviation administration, by embracing the wisdom of challenge as “nature’s gateway to change and progress.” Through careful planning, team work and the implementation of strategic programmes and projects, the JCAA was able to solidify the foundation for sustainability, growth and development of the local air transport industry, in a fast-paced, dynamic and risk-sensitive environment.
The progress achieved has been significant. On November 16, 2016, a new Air Traffic Control (ATC) Tower was commissioned at the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA). This state-of the-art facility allows for optimized management of the airspace around the NMIA terminal, while creating flexible and functional solutions to support our Air Traffic Management (ATM) monitoring and performance requirements.
Additionally, the JCAA was able to meet the completion deadline for a project to install a new Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the Sangster International Airport. This system, which will be flight-checked over the next two months, will enhance the safety and quality of Jamaica’s air navigation services, by providing pilots with vertical and horizontal guidance during their landing approach.
Other notable achievements under the JCAA’s Air Navigation Services (ANS) modernisation programme included:
- the procurement and substantial installation of key infrastructure for the Topsky Air Traffic Management (ATM) system
- the procurement and receipt of critical equipment and servers for the Kingston Air Traffic Control Centre (KATCC)
- the installation of consoles for the TopSky Air Traffic Management (ATM) system and full population of the NMIA approach sector with all necessary communication devices
- the installation of the Fibre Optics interface and other equipment for interconnecting the new Voice Communications and Control System (VCCS) and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) Simulator room
The progress we have achieved continues to be validated by growing international confidence in Jamaica’s air transport system and the JCAA’s piloting Jamaica to achieving the highest ranking, in the English-speaking Caribbean, of 82.38% for the Effective Implementation of the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Similarly, Jamaica’s air traffic activity continues to increase, year-on-year, with annual traffic movements totalling 182,653 flights, over the 2015-16 period, and an average of over 15,000 traffic movements per month and 500 traffic movements per day.
While we have been making significant strides with the implementation of various upgrade projects, and are partnering with the Ministry of Transport & Mining to update our laws and regulations to enhance growth, efficiency and performance within the sector, it is clear that expediency and innovation will continue to be the necessary platforms for survival and the sustainable development of the local air transport industry.
The inspiration of a new year gives us renewed zest that will impact the momentum of our efforts, as we complete projects that will secure a sustainable future of our industry and country. Industry modernization efforts, over the 2017 year, will be focused on:
- commissioning the new Air Traffic Control Tower at the Sangster International Airport
- upgrading the current radar surveillance system from Modes A & C to Mode S
- upgrading the Air Traffic Management AUTO TRAC II automation system to a Top Sky system
- transitioning from the Enhanced Terminal Voice Switch (ETVS) communication system to a Voice Communications and Control System (VCCS) system; and
- fully installing and commissioning new Air Traffic Control (ATC) Approach, Enroute and Tower Simulators for the Civil Aviation Authority Training Institute (CAATI).
Other strategic activities and projects will include:
- commencing the process for the periodic review of airport charges, with technical assistance provided through a consultant agency
- continuous stakeholder engagement and the intensification of processes for reviewing and updating our Civil Aviation Act and Regulations
- continued staff development and training initiatives, which optimize the performance of the JCAA team, while supporting their personal and professional growth objectives
The focus on human resource development will also be orchestrated through the establishment of a Strategic Business Development Plan for the Civil Aviation Authority Training Institute (CAATI), with the view to moving CAATI towards financial self-sufficiency and ensuring the maintenance of our ICAO TRAINAIR PLUS accreditation.
2017 will, indeed, be a defining year for the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority and Jamaica’s air transport industry. As team members of the JCAA, users of the air transport system and stakeholders, we all have a supportive role to play, as we seek to ensure a successful and sustainable outcome.
Let us, together, play our part to ensure a safe, reliable and responsive sector, as we make Jamaica a better place for current and future generations.