Commercial flights into the storm ravaged Douglas-Charles Airport are expected to recommence as early as next week, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said.
According to the Prime Minister, the country has received the all clear from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) for a number of air carriers to land at Douglas-Charles.
The ECCAA a civil aviation authority serving the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). It serves as the aviation accident and incident investigation authority of its jurisdiction and is headquartered in Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda.
“We have gotten clearance from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority for the LIAT planes to land in Dominica,” he said on Thursday. “Earlier this week, we had gotten approval for the ATR42 to land, as of this morning (Thursday 10 September 2015), ECCAA gave the all clear for the ATR72 to land… and prior to that we had also gotten approval for Winair and Seaborne to land in Dominica.”
The airport was not spared when Tropical Storm Erika, on 27 August, visited the island leaving equipment, furniture and other items in the terminal building destroyed. The runway was severely affected when the nearby Melville Hall River overflowed its banks.
Skerrit informed that the CEO of LIAT, the Director General of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, Donald Jeremy McPhail, along with the LIAT’s Chief Pilot and other senior officers have been to the airport conducting their own independent assessment and investigation.
Based on this, the country’s leader said, both LIAT and the ECCAA are satisfied that the Douglas Charles Airport is at a “state where commercial flights can be channeled through”.
“The CEO of LIAT has said to me, and has said to the government, that LIAT will restore services to Douglas Charles Airport as early as Monday but no later than Tuesday, they will commence operations,” he stated.
He said a couple of days is needed to allow the country to be reinstated back into the airline’s schedule and system and a they are working with LIAT to see if a trial run could be made with passengers on Friday.