A brand new start greets the Civil Aviation Authority, which celebrated its move of location at its new premises at Grand Harbour Friday afternoon.
The 12 staff mingled with guests inside and outside at the informal gathering where refreshments were served.
The authority moved to its new location, which has 2,000 square foot of space, in January. The Cayman Islands Airports Authority is situated in CAA’s old office space on Owen Roberts Drive by the Owen Roberts International Airport.
CAA’s move was prompted by its separation into two bodies in July. Through this separation it complied with a mandate of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority to separate its regulatory responsibilities from its business service provisions. This has resulted in the creation of two authorities; the CAA and the CIAA.
The newly restructured CAA is responsible for the provision of regulatory functions concerning safety of the aviation industry throughout the Cayman Islands while The Cayman Islands Airports Authority is responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of government’s two aerodromes, the Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman and the Gerrard Smith International Airport on Cayman Brac.
Director-General of Civil Aviation for the Cayman Islands, Mr. Richard Smith said he is elated with their new offices.
Mr. Smith, who has worked at the airport for 28 years, said he will miss being beside it, but he’ll be over and back there.
He said that some people would ask how the CAA will function properly away from the airport.
‘We don’t need to be there, but it’s only five minutes away if there is something that we do need to attend to there,’ he explained.
He added that it may be helpful not to be based there as they may notice things they may not have, if there every day.
Mr. Smith added that it is also important for the CIAA to establish itself on its own and take on its own identity, which will take a while.
‘We’ve settled in very well here. The staff is enthusiastic, morale is high and there are new challenges to be faced. It’s a brand new start,’ he enthused.
Mr. Smith said Hurricane Ivan has provided the opportunity to address some of the shortcomings at the airport, such as an overhaul of the terminal building.
Chairperson of the CAA’s Board of Directors, Ms Sheridan Brooks-Hurst apologised on behalf of the Minister of Aviation Mr. Gilbert McLean who had other duties to attend to and could not attend the function.
She said it was a testament to the CAA and the CIAA that before Hurricane Ivan 4,700 persons were evacuated from the Cayman Islands, and 10,000 were evacuated afterwards.
Permanent Secretary with the Ministry of Aviation, Ms Andrea Bryan said the Minister extended congratulations on the new offices to all concerned.