Posted as a comment on another blog
“Category 1 airport status in corrupt Antigua; Category 2 status in number one developing state Barbados.” – Kiffin
… the OECS created the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), funded it properly, and gave it some teeth and experienced people. The DCA here Barbados is still merely a gubmint Department over seen by a Minister, while the ECCAA is an agency – a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) – which is to some measure independent and apart from politics, and collect their own revenues (as well as some government financing in many cases).
The DCA in Barbados has for decades been run by Air Traffic Controllers who rose through the ranks following very narrow rules and have little or no breadth of experience or knowledge, and (in Barbados) for their entire careers they have been abused by their Directors who have ensured they have as little say in their own professional lives as possible.
From personal experience I can tell you that the Controllers in Barbados have lost every part of their jobs – which is standard internationally – and gave them insight into airspace outside of Barbados. For instance, they are trained solely in Barbados, and “FAM” (familiarisation) flights to other islands or even to north America were cut off many decades ago. They are also treated with scant respect – and so have as much interest in expanding their personal horizons as a coffee cup.
If Barbados wants a Category 1 rating, there are changes to be made and money to be spent. As we speak, there are more global changes coming which I know the Barbados government will look upon with even more surprise, but they are changes which MUST be adopted, whether they like it or not, or be ostracised from their affiliation from ICAO (and therefore with the FAA, Canadian DoT and the CAA in the UK).
In part, the ECCAA has a Cat 1 rating because it keeps up and deals with reality. Barbados does not have the Cat 1 Rating because they do not have the structure, financing or people in place to make it all happen.
And that the current Director should advise REDjet as badly as he did is a testament to the level of damage a poor incumbent can do – and this has repercussions throughout CARICOM and the “developed” countries whose airlines serve Barbados.
On Africa, you may have noticed that Jamaica just signed a treaty with Nigeria for air rights between the two countries. I could make any number of comments about corruption, violence and waste, but I will merely mention instead that I think it will be some time before nan airline looks at that question and finds some economic merit in taking a chance on it.