BRADES, Montserrat, Friday October 19, 2012 – A two-man team of British aviation safety experts is due to arrive today to review the operations of FlyMontserrat, which was temporarily grounded following recent incidents including the crash that resulted in the deaths of three Caribbean nationals.
The audit is being conducted by the UK-based Air Safety Support International (ASSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the UK Civil Aviation Authority.
According to Maria Boyle, CEO of ASSI, their airworthiness surveyor Craig Stubbington and flight operations inspector Cydric Desbarida will begin the audit of the airline’s operations this week.
Airworthiness surveyor Stubbington will travel to Anguilla, where FlyMontserrat’s aircraft are serviced. Flight operations inspector Desbarida is to travel to Montserrat early today to look at the operational side.
The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) was invited to accompany ASSI on these audits as observers, but declined and will await the report and findings, Boyle said.
On Tuesday, ECCAA informed FlyMontserrat that, as a result of recent incidents, they have informed all Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) member states to suspend the operations of the airline until further notice.
Following the grounding of FlyMontserrat, the government of Montserrat announced that St Vincent and the Grenadines Airline (SVG Air) will add more flights to meet the demands of the flying public.
Premier Reuben Meade said discussions will continue with SVG and another regional airline to ensure that with the coming festival season visitors will be able to travel to and from Montserrat.
He added that the ferry will be another reliable alternative for nationals and others planning to come home for the annual festival celebrations.
“It’s important to reiterate that we are aware of the critical importance of residents and visitors being able to travel when they need to. That is why we have been pursuing relationships with other carriers to ensure that both our air and sea access meet the needs of travellers,” the premier said.
The government is soliciting bids for both ferry and air travel services to support the current transportation needs.
In the meantime, the MV Carib Surf will be providing ferry service between Antigua and Montserrat twice daily this weekend.