Jamaica is expected to earn increased revenues from overflight services as a result of the recent US$17 million (J$2 billion) upgrade to the Kingston Air Traffic Control Centre (KATCC).
Speaking at the recent opening of the centre, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, explained that Aviation contributes billions of dollars to the Jamaican economy, both directly and indirectly.
“Simply by flying over our airspace, revenue is earned and we have to find ways of improving the technology and at the same time offering that service, by virtue of Jamaica’s scale, to other countries in the region that may not have what we have, so we can leverage civil aviation as an industry,” he said.
Meanwhile, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Nari Williams-Singh, explained that the additional revenue would come from accommodating more aircraft in the Jamaican airspace as a result of more efficient movement of aircraft through the country’s Flight Information Region (FIR), which is many times the size of Jamaica.
He pointed out that the upgrade at the KATCC was part of a larger air navigation services modernisation programme, which includes two new air traffic control towers at the Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports; an instrument landing system at the Sangster International Airport (SIA); an upgrade from Aeronautical Information Systems (AIS) to Aeronautical Information Management (AIM), and implementation of navigation aids – Doppler Variable Omni Range (DVORs) – which provide signals to aircraft to navigate to a particular point at the Norman Manley and Sangster airports.
“It’s really part of a process, and with aviation technology consistently changing, we have to be at least at the cutting edge, if not ahead of the curve, to ensure that we can continue to provide a safe and reliable service,” the Director General said.
“We can now bring airplanes closer together and while we would have reduced the separation between aircraft, we can do it safely, and so the margins of safety are still maintained,” he added.
Mr. Williams-Singh said this will redound to a benefit for the country as more airplanes in the airspace means more revenue earned from overflight services.
The Prime Minister commended the JCAA for what he referred to as the seamless execution and guidance of the multibillion dollar investment.
“This successful project has created a significant evolution in Jamaica’s air traffic capacity, efficiency and safety,” he said.
“In an environment of continuous air traffic volume expansion, rapid technological advancements, sophisticated threats and increasing efficiency demands from myriad stakeholders, the recent upgrades at the KATCC were opportunely timed,” he said.