Bahrain’s civil aviation 'facing downgrade'
Manama, March 26, 2013
Bahrain could be downgraded by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) unless it makes urgent changes to the aviation sector, said a senior government official.
The country has around a month to implement a new civil aviation law or risk losing its status, Transportation Minister Kamal Ahmed was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
"There are several new advancements in the civil aviation field like regulations by ICAO and the Chicago Civil Aviation Convention that we need to introduce and our current law is outdated, being introduced in 1995," he told the Shura Council.
"We would like to thank parliament for approving the law without amendments and adding some enrichment articles as asked by us in a record time despite presenting it just months ago.
"There is no time and we have to think of our future status within the international community and without this law we are in danger of being downgraded and we have to keep everyone here informed that getting an excellent grade in the assessment is vital."
Ahmed said a comprehensive report would have to be submitted to ICAO next month, which could potentially give Bahrain a better status than it currently has.
"This law deals with the licensing of planes, responsibilities of captains, transfer of passengers and luggage and penalties for trespassing in the country's territorial airspace without prior authorisation besides all technical aspects that would help regulate the aviation field," he said.
Shura Council members yesterday approved 25 out of the 143-article law without amendment and council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh said next week's session would be devoted exclusively to passing the law.
Ahmed praised council members for trying to push through the law quickly, saying it showed they were aware of the consequences.
"Gulf Air has lost code sharing deals with American Airlines, which it was forced to cancel because legislation at the moment has huge loopholes," said the minister, who is also the responsible minister for Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, which Gulf Air falls under.
Council public utilities and environment affairs committee secretary Mohammed Radhi said that new law would have huge benefits for Bahrain.
"This new law will give Bahrain the necessary reputation for international investors to operate from Bahrain International Airport and branch to other airports as a strong transit hub," he said.
"The law will also help open new doors for Bahrain in international markets through new agreements in the field, especially with US partners - the world's biggest airliners." – TradeArabia News Service