The Airports Authority of Jamaica is seeking to partner with small airline operators and aviation training schools overseas, in a bid to establish the country, as an aviation training hub.
President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Airports Authority of Jamaica Mr. Audley Deidrick told JIS News that Jamaica is seeking to tap into the general aviation market, which he points out, is a big growth factor for the country’s aerodromes.
He said that aviation training is of special interest to Jamaica, as it has been found to be one of the drivers of general aviation.
“Aviation training naturally has as an offshoot, interest in the sector, and by extension, the growth in the sector,” he said.
Mr. Deidrick pointed out that general aviation runs the entire gamut, from business aviation to leisure aviation, but it is largely small aircraft operators doing different things.
“It is a very big component of world aviation and it’s one that Jamaica, so far, has not tapped into in any substantial way and this is a major area that we intend to embark on, to pursue growth going forward,” he stated.
The President said that part of the remit of the AAJ in growing general aviation is to build out training capacity in the country, which in addition to training “will act as a tourism product, if you will, where we can train pilots, and other aircraft operators and mechanics from overseas”.
“That’s the power of an aviation training facility, people will send their child across the globe to train in a facility and when they’re finished to get back home to practice their aviation activities,” Mr Deidrick stated.
Meanwhile, the President informed that in January 2020, just before the pandemic hit, the AAJ, along with the Jamaica Tourist Board, went overseas to court small aviation operations and also a training school to come to Jamaica.
“That is where we were at that time when COVID-19 came, but all is not lost. I think it’s a matter of picking up where we left off with the airline operators and the aviation schools that we have been talking to, and to re-engage them early in the game. As aviation traffic and tourism grow out of the impacts of COVID-19, we will be one of the countries and indeed the organizations that are at the forefront of re-entering the growth path with this trajectory,” Mr. Deidrick said.