During the most recent ICAO activities aimed at measuring the effective implementation (EI) of the eight critical elements (CE’s) of an effective oversight system, part of the ICAO Universal Safety Oversight Program (USOAP) yielded unsatisfactory results.
The main cause of the unsatisfactory compliance results (among others) is the lack of funds. Whereby the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority (CCAA) is unable to maintain an effective and efficient performance of supervisory tasks. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis and considering "Emerging Issues" will further increase the civil aviation system complexity which has the potencial to make this problem even more acute!
Ensuring sustainable funding for the activities related to the main oversight responsibilities of a civil aviation authority is an issue facing an increasing number of states worldwide, regardless of the form of ownership of the civil aviation authority.
Limited funding for these activities has led to a decline in aviation safety and security oversight and the CCAA's inability to comply with ICAO SARPs, especially in the Caribbean.
In our case the Department of Civil Aviation and Shipping and Maritime Affairs (SMDCA) of Sint Maarten relies on the CCAA for aviation oversight, both CCAA and the SMDCA have insufficient resources, which further stretches the CCAA's limited resources.
The CCAA is a public body under the supervision of the Ministry of Traffic, Transport & Spatial Planning. CCAA provides oversight functions for both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The Kingdom of the Netherlands remains responsible for defense and international relations (including civil aviation treaties), but Curaçao and Sint Maarten are each responsible for overseeing their civil aviation sector. The Kingdom of the Netherlands recognizes changes in ICAO standards and submits differences to ICAO.
Diversification of funding sources is the direction our governments and authorities must take to ensure the sustainability and effective functioning of the CAAs in the kingdom, even before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an exacerbated and dramatic drop in funding for the CCAA.
To address the problem of limited financial resources, it is important to develop and implement a funding strategy and structure based on the diversification of funding sources to increase resilience to crises or market shocks and to ensure the long-term sustainability and capability of the civil aviation authority.
It is empirical to encourage key ministries and Governments of the Dutch Kingdom to work with aviation professionals and aviation industry stakeholders, based on the principles of inclusion and diversity, to explore other options and find funding sources. To ensure the effective functioning of Civil Aviation Oversight and to cover ongoing capacity-building efforts to achieve sustained success in achieving the compliance levels required by ICAO, and finally, a fruitful economic development of air transport for all (ICAO "No Country Left Behand" iniciative).
In the meantime, we continue to prepare for recovery. The aviation industry will need to find ways to innovate, protect key infrastructure, encourage investment, strengthen oversight and work on human resource development and capacity building.
Every stakeholder has a role to play in this and of course they must overcome challenges, but working together keeps the aviation industry strong, resilient, and reliable.
“Looking ahead together towards a better and stronger aviation future.”