Is Russian Roulette Being Played with Public Safety?
Submitted by Bajan Savage
The following email was circulated to some very important people in the region regarding the declining state of airline management in the region. Minister Kerri Symmonds with responsibility for aviation matters in Barbados was not omitted from the circulation. In the interest of public safety for crissakes let us get our act together.
Sent: Wednesday, January 1, 2020 3:55:34 PM
Subject: Two eastern Caribbean airlines playing pirate games
M. Patrick Gandil, Director General of Civil Aviation Direction Générale De l’Aviation Civile (DGAC)
Mr. Pekka Henttu, Chairman European Aviation Safety Agency
FAA (US Embassy, Political-Economic Officer) John Haley
PRECOPE Rene DAC-AG/FORT-DE-FRANCE
Barbados Airport Manager
Tech officer Barbados CAD
Sean Widmark, British OT Air Safety
Overseas Territory Inspector for MNI Anguilla Tortola
Mr. Benoit Nardouille Chairman, ECCAA
Mr. Kerrie Symmonds
Minister of International Transport, Barbados (Responsible for the Barbados Civil Aviation Department)
Lady and Gentlemen…
I am retired now, but my background in aviation starts about 1967 when I was an Air Traffic Controller in Barbados (West Indies/Antilles Anglaises), after which I trained in Canada for a Commercial pilot licence, flew charter for a few years, then joined LIAT (1974) Limited
in Antigua as an airline pilot in 1980. I took medical retirement in 1996 (complications from a cataract operation), soon after which I emigrated to Canada and I have been here ever since.
I archive news articles about Caribbean aviation, and send out a Digest every Saturday night which links to a web page listing all the subject lines and links to the articles of the last 7 days: Caribbean Regional Aviation Network
(*If you wish to be added to the CRANe Digest ancillary subscription List, please let me know. You can cancel any time, no hard feelings.)
This means I am current with the public aspect of Caribbean aviation. I also know most of the “players” in the region personally, and I correspond with them regularly. That “circle” includes the Chairman of ECCAA. The Minister of International Transport never responds, nor does anyone at the Ministry, and the published email for the Barbados Civil Aviation Department no longer exists.
I write to advise you about two airlines who currently seem to believe they are pirates of some sort and are making a dangerous mockery of the aviation authorities in both St. Vincent and Barbados.
First, Executive Air of Barbados, also dba Tropical Aviation based in Antigua. This linked incident (below) almost killed the current Prime Minister of Barbados, but clearly nothing of substance was ever done. Basically the plane completed an approach and landing at Barbados while the weather minimums were lower than legal, dropped the passengers off – and then ran out of fuel crossing the runway to its hangar. Undoubtedly,
an overshoot into weather that bad would have ended in the sea.
Recently, Executive Air / Tropical Aviation has been offering Beech
KingAir 200 executive travel for guests of a new hotel in Dominica from
the northern islands of the eastern Caribbean – Antigua, St. Maarten,
etc – under the Barbados registration. This means that they are
operating some 400 miles away from their country of registration and the Barbados CAD does not have the manpower, expertise or funding to oversee ANY airline based there. So Executive Air / Tropical Aviation is
basically operating exclusively in an area where there are no
There was a gear collapse…
Executive Air also has a history of leasing small aircraft and
defaulting on the leases, where the aircraft owner has to come to Barbados and repossesses the aircraft. Apparently the BCAD has done nothing to reprimand the owner, a John Ackie, possibly a good friend of the Prime Minister, because she has done nothing to limit his activities either.
One Caribbean started by registering their first aircraft — a Beech 1900D — at St. Vincent’s new Argyle Airport. Then, soon after, a Boeing 747-400 appeared with their One Caribbean logo – easily registered in Barbados, because the ECCAA would not register it as they were not equipped to oversee that type or4 size of aircraft.
On arrival it was parked in a location where it blocked movements of Boeing 737-size aircraft, and I am told because there is no tug at the airport and they brought no nose wheel towbars with it, the airplane was somehow moved manually some other way — pulled with ropes, I was told — to another part of the ramp. The 747 eventually went to Barbados (Argyle’s entire existing fuel storage capacity on site cannot fill the 747-400’s tanks), from where it departed for the USA, somewhere in Kansas, I believe, for maintenance and/or interior work, and has not
been heard about since.
Three months ago, a One Caribbean aircraft skidded off the runway at Argyle in St. Vincent, a wheel may have broken off… https://www.craneforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=28739
On 22 December (it is believed), a One Caribbean Saab 340B landed at Argyle and dragged the tail on the concrete runway quite some distance. The crew disembarked the passengers normally, and loaded up again for Tortola.
When they called for taxi clearance, the Tower Controller – correctly – refused, and after maintenance personnel had examined the damage and cleared it for flight they departed again. Photos are additionally
An ongoing discussion is the same airline — One Caribbean — going into and out of Bequai (Grenadines) with the Saab 340B with full loads. The ECCAA requires a 70% reduction of the actual TORA, so the actual **_LEGAL_** TORA is 2,526 feet (Bequai runway is actually 3,609 feet),
The aircraft’s Performance charts – received direct from Saab USA – (at ISA+15) requires an accelerate-stop distance of about 6,400 feet, 2.5 times the ECCAA runway available, and double the actual runway available.
The Saab 340B is ILLEGAL in and out of Bequai, even at the 15 degrees C cooler temperature of ISA and no 70% restriction. Until the ECCAA grounded it a few days ago, the Beech 1900D was also illegal, but they used it into and out of Bequai anyway.
As above, ECCAA has withdrawn One Caribbean’s St. Vincent AOC and grounded the Beech 1900D, but Barbados – WHICH APPARENTLY HAS NO OVERSIGHT OR INSPECTORS – apparently has no problem with — or is not interested in whether — its registered aircraft doing anything and
everything illegally, whether on Barbados soil or elsewhere.
I have suggested to the Chairman of the ECCAA that perhaps these two carriers should be banned from the ECCAA’s territories until Barbados finally comes to the realisation that piracy is a thing of the past, and there are standards even an IASA/ICAO Category Two country MUST observe. May I suggest that you do the same – Barbados was broke, is borrowing more money, and needs some kind of hard-nosed stimulant to wake them from their sleep when it comes to aviation. “Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous.
But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.”
Best wishes, happy new year.
* Originally from Barbados, West Indies
The following link seeks to verify one of the incidents highlighted in the communication: