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BVI Awarded Category One Standard For Aviation Safety

by Amanda Banks,, London

26 May 2008

Following assistance from Air Safety Support International (ASSI), aviation safety oversight in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) has been awarded the highest safety category possible by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The award means that all the UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean, and Bermuda, are now ‘Category One’ under the International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) programme.

The full list of UK Overseas Territories in the Caribbean and Bermuda, now all IASA Category One, comprises: Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Previously, aircraft operators whose aircraft were registered in BVI, and whose operating certificates were issued by BVI, were severely restricted in the services they could operate to and from the USA. As a result, local air operators in the Territory operate US registered aircraft and are all officially based in the USA. Now that BVI has been assessed Category One, operators will be able to register their aircraft and receive their operating certificates locally and still operate services to the USA.

Chief Executive Officer of ASSI, Rod Dean, commented: “BVI achieving Category One status provides an excellent opportunity to develop the local civil aviation industry, with commercial operators moving their bases back to the Islands. Achievement of Category 1 is a public recognition of the high safety standards achieved in BVI. BVI has the largest number of offshore companies in the world (nearly 400,000), many of which operate corporate aircraft which they may now wish to register in BVI.”

David Pearey, the Territory’s Governor, praised the efforts of ASSI, a subsidiary of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, in bringing about this upgrade in status. He said: “This re-categorisation is a clear recognition of the hard and sustained effort being put into achieving internationally accepted standards within the Territory.”

Air Safety Support International Ltd (ASSI), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), was formally established on 1st April 2003 and is funded through the UK Department for Transport. The company’s remit, through Directions from the UK Secretary of State for Transport to the UK CAA, is to audit safety regulation in each UK Territory; to provide assistance, training and advice to the Territories; to carry out safety regulation where designated by the Governor; to draft amendments to the AN (OT) O 2001 and produce means of compliance with the legislation.

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