By Sheena Forde-Craigg
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (BGIS) — Barbados concluded an air services agreement with the government of Qatar on Wednesday, in the margins of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) 41st General Assembly.
Minister of tourism and international transport, Senator Lisa Cummins, formalised the agreement while attending the ICAO General Assembly, which took place in Montreal, Canada from September 25 to 28.
Minister Cummins revealed that as part of the efforts to deepen and strengthen Barbados’ relations with Qatar, the two countries also signed a joint Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in addition to the air services agreement.
She noted that the agreements would allow Barbados and Qatar to begin discussions on commercial carriers flying to this island.
It was also disclosed that Barbados was in the process of finalising and approving code-sharing arrangements for Qatar Airways, and in the coming months “dedicated engagements” would occur with the government of Qatar regarding airlift between that country and the region.
The minister with responsibility for the Civil Aviation Department further noted that specific to the MoC, Qatar agreed that they would support Barbados in capacity building for the creation/development of its new aviation authority. This would include the training of Barbadian nationals and the provision of scholarships in the area of aviation.
“One of the critical elements of work at the ministry of tourism and international transport is in the area of aviation and aviation development. It has been an aspiration of Barbados, for over 40 years, to establish a civil aviation authority and we are just about to do that,” Senator Cummins stated.
She added that over the last two years, a considerable amount of work had gone into developing the aviation sector, including the drafting of an aviation strategy. In addition, she noted that for the first time in Barbados’ history a Civil Aviation Authority Bill would be laid in parliament in the coming weeks.
While pointing out that the Bill, once passed, would establish a Civil Aviation Authority, minister Cummins said: “It will also have with it two additional items of legislation on air navigation services and accident investigation services, and those things together will allow for Barbados to emerge into a new era of aviation development.”
The tourism minister stressed that the efforts at creating a new era in aviation development represented Barbados’ efforts to become the southern logistics hub within the Caribbean.