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The National Assembly approves amendments to Civil Aviation bill to improve aviation sector

The government’s commitment to ensuring safety, security, and compliance within its aviation sector took a significant step forward with the passage of the Civil Aviation Act 2024.

Approved during the 81st sitting of the National Assembly at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, (ACCC), the legislation introduces crucial amendments geared at fortifying the regulatory framework governing aviation operations.

The 16 amendments introduced in the Act are a result of identified deficiencies in the 2018 Civil Aviation Act following a recent comprehensive review.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, lauded the bipartisan cooperation witnessed during the passage of the bill, emphasising the collective dedication to safeguarding aviation interests as Guyana prepares to undergo an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit.

“When it comes to aviation safety and security, the national assembly is united…It is sending a very clear message in our growing and expanding industry and we are going to work together. This amendment bill that is before us is necessary at this time because Guyana is about to face an ICAO audit,” he stated.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill as he makes his debate presentation in the National Assembly on Friday

Underscoring the multifaceted nature of the impending audit, Minister Edghill highlighted a series of critical areas under scrutiny, including legal frameworks, organizational structures, personnel licensing, operational procedures, and accident investigation protocols.

Further, the minister disclosed that the government has engaged the expertise of the ICAO and regional aviation authorities in preparation for the audit. It also strengthened the aviation sector’s infrastructure and operational capabilities, particularly in areas such as aerodrome management and aircraft certification.

Alluding to the significance of the audit on the country, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, described the upcoming audit as a comprehensive recertification process with the entire civil aviation apparatus of Guyana under scrutiny.

He said adherence to international standards is most important to ensure a successful outcome.

“This audit is a recertification is not the usual run of the mill yearly surveillance audit. This is a total recertification they are looking from the group up, the entire civil aviation apparatus in Guyana is being audited in May going into June. Canada has just been through one of these and the report that came out is that they barely passed this audit,” Minister Indar emphasised.

Amendments to the act include:

(Section 2(1)) ensures standardisation and consistency in utilising the ICAO definition of terms within the Civil Aviation legal framework in accordance with annexe 14 of the Chicago Convention.

(Section 17(2)(b)) clarifies the uses of a generic term ‘aviation documents’ to include specific licenses and certificates, with provision for new documents as approved by the authority.

 (Section 39) empowers the Director General and authorised inspector to conduct surveillance activities at aerodromes by including the term ‘aerodrome’ in the section.

 (Section 39(2)) expands the list of accessible documents for the authority to include such as licenses, permits, and logbooks.

 (Section 42(a)) allows inspectors to take immediate action to prevent safety or security breaches when the Director General cannot be reached.

 (Section 45(a)) allows the incorporation of additional obligations to be undertaken by Guyana as a state of registry under Article 83 bis of the Chicago Convention, concerning recognition of documents for foreign operators.

 (Section 50(a)) mandates the maintenance of journey log books for aircraft engaged in international navigation to comply with Article 34 of the Chicago Convention.

 (Section 51(1)) extends access rights to individuals authorised by the Director General to intervene for safety reasons, outlining procedures for inspectors to prevent unsafe aircraft operation.

 (Section 56(a)) ensures compliance of Guyana registered aircraft with international standards during operations over the high seas, incorporating relevant standards into the country’s regulations.

 (Section 56(b)) amending legislation to align with Article 3 of the Chicago Convention, requiring compliance with interception orders issued by Guyana.

requires a list of documents to be carried during international flight operations to align with Article 29 of the Chicago Convention, providing guidance from Annex 6.

 (Section 69(1)) individuals authorised by the Director General can take actions of detaining aircrafts in position of prohibition or conditions and seizure of products and goods in line with Section 69(1).

 (Section 69(a)) introduces enforcement provisions and penalties for violations related to the transport of dangerous goods by air, aligning with Annex 4 of the Chicago Convention and ICAO technical instructions.

   a structured approach introduced for accident and incident investigation introduce to conducting independent accident investigations as required in Article 26 of the Chicago Convention and Annex 13 for compliance.

 (Section 89(1)) rectifies the absence of aerodrome certification by allowing certification of international and domestic aerodromes and helidecks/helipads.

(Section 142) replaces ambiguous standards with technical requirements to align with ICAO annexes and ensure clarity in regulations.

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