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Former President David Granger said the September crash landing of yet another light aircraft at Eteringbang was only the most recent reminder of the seemingly relentlessness streak of aviation accidents in the hinterland which have occurred over the past thirty months.
Accidents at Aricheng, Bisaruni, Eteringbang, Issano, Kamarang, Kuruduni, Kwakwani and Mahdia – some being of foreign aircraft involved in illegal traffic but a few occurring more than once such as at the notorious Eteringbang airstrip – have occurred, he reminded.
Mr. Granger, in his weekly programme, the ‘Public Interest,’ speaking to on issue of aviation, said air safety failings are fatally unforgiving. He pointed out that aviation accidents have resulted in death, damage to public infrastructure and personal injury caused by various factors including adverse weather conditions, engine failures and pilot error. “In one extreme case, investigators found that a pilot had made nineteen shuttles in a single day!”
Decrying domestic air safety failings, Mr. Granger reminded that much more needs to be done to ensure aviation safety in an industry he described as essential to economic stability and national security. Aviation regulation must contend with the hinterland’s difficult terrain, variations in weather conditions and breaches of national airspace by foreign aircraft, he said.
The former President said that the importance of aviation safety cannot be overstated. Hinterland airstrips for example, serve four ‘capital towns’ – three of which are ‘ports of entry’ for international passengers. To this end, aviation safety requires decisive Governmental action to ensure that executive agencies acquire the capability to conduct countrywide surveillance and enforce compliance by aircraft operators.
Mr. Granger expressed the opinion that aviation safety can be assured by enhancing the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority’s capability to enforce compliance with safety standards, extending national airspace monitoring capability, establishing a permanent information, inspection and investigation service and ensuring better support to its corps of air traffic control officers and inspectors who should be always well-paid and well-trained. The important thing, Mr. Granger concluded, is to do everything necessary to prevent the loss of more human lives.