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The aviation industry of Curaçao on the road to recovery

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has had catastrophic consequences globally and our island is not an exception. Our government, therefore, faces the challenge of remedying or mitigating the consequences of the pandemic in all sectors. As a result, the government has temporarily suspended many projects inclusive in the aviation sector unfortunately in specifically Human Recourse Development and Capacity-building in aviation.

Even I have seen an executive making statements as if the aviation sector has ceased to exist as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and that there is no need to invest in aviation improvement and innovation projects because the downturn has made all efforts obsolete.

I was astonished and couldn't believe it. According to me, leadership is the ability to create an alliance of trust and communication, which is the recipe for sustained success and harmony. Did we lose faith? Are we unable to communicate constructive? Do we no longer believe in ourselves and our professionals? These are the questions that immediately arose.

In my opinion it should be the other way around. As the aviation industry continues to find its way on a pathway to recovery, we are able to stepped ascent strategically and prepare for the changes and challenges expected with the new normal. We should prepare our current and future aviation professionals on all levels to guarantee sustainable aviation safety, oversight and management in a complex, demanding and ever-changing aviation industry (Now more than ever!).

The government and aviation industry operators must together work on managing the impact of Covid-19. Collaboration between aviation and non-aviation stakeholders is pivotal to the successful restart and continuity of the industry.

After analyzing, I concluded that the following critical factors are of the utmost importance to establish and maintain a close working relationship between partners in the aviation industry, to provide the aviation system perspective and establish a framework and practical steps for recovery.

New resilience: we need to address capacity resilience in the context of aviation safety oversight and aviation management.

Sustainability: at this moment we have the opportunity to rebuild better and strengthening our aviation system and create sustainability. I am sure sustainability is and will be at the top of all agendas.

Added Value: Investing in the aviation system is critical. I hope that the focus has shifted to added value; with budgets squeezed the distinction between cost and value has become clearer.

The local aviation community is currently facing the challenge of surviving an unprecedented aviation crisis, caused by a global pandemic, while ensuring a proper establishment and management of the State Safety Oversight System and eventually recovery. This double challenge will dominate our mandate for the coming years.

Before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, it was determined that our state security oversight did not fully meet international requirements. Meanwhile, aviation learning, aviation training and capacity-building efforts were taking place with the establishment of a civil aviation training center targeting the local, regional and international aviation community.

This effort was immediately embraced and supported by the management team of the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority of Curaçao, the Minister of Transport, Traffic and Urban Planning, as well as the local aviation community which considers it a highly important project with a great impact on capacity resilience with regards to enhancement of the civil aviation system.

The aviation education and capacity building project has the potential to support the aviation authorities, service providers and the aviation community by providing skilled and qualified personnel, including technical and support personnel, to perform safety oversight functions and duties necessary to establish an appropriate and practical safety oversight organization and maintain a well-organized and competent civil aviation system.

Leadership, determination and budgetary resource allocation are essential to the establishment and sustainability of a State safety oversight system and to ensuring compliance with ICAO SARPs. Our government faces the challenge of the initial investment costs for building an effective and sustainable civil aviation safety oversight system.

However, the socio-economic benefits and contributions of aviation to the sustainable development of our island can offset such costs. The government should therefore strike a balance between the costs of establishing and maintaining state aviation safety oversight and the ability of industry stakeholders to contribute to the financing of such a system and the associated efforts to improve the system. Industry stakeholders can truly demonstrate that they are of added-value to the aviation system value chain and our community even in today's difficult times.

Concluding, as we continue to prepare for recovery, the aviation industry will need to find ways to innovate, to safeguard key infrastructure, to encourage investment, fortify oversight, and work on human resource development and capacity-building. Every stakeholder has a role to play in this and of course challenges they need to overcome, but by working together, the aviation industry will be stronger and will continue to be resilient and reliable. I look forward to a brighter and stronger aviation future together.

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