FAA assigned Curaçao and Sint Maarten Cat. 2 safety rating

January 20, 2012

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that Curaçao and Sint Maarten do not comply with international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), based on an assessment of each country’s civil aviation authority.

As a result, the FAA has assigned both Curaçao and Sint Maarten an International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) Category 2 rating. With a Category 2 rating, Curaçao and Sint Maarten air carriers will not be allowed to establish new service to the United States, but can continue existing service. Both countries were previously part of the Netherlands Antilles, which had a Category 1 rating.

A Category 2 rating means a country either lacks laws or regulations necessary to oversee air carriers in accordance with minimum international standards, or that its civil aviation authority – equivalent to the FAA for aviation safety matters – is deficient in one or more areas, such as technical expertise, trained personnel, record keeping or inspection procedures.

As part of the FAA’s IASA program, the agency assesses the civil aviation authorities of all countries with air carriers that operate or have applied to fly to the United States and makes that information available to the public. The assessments determine whether or not foreign civil aviation authorities are meeting ICAO safety standards, not FAA regulations.

Countries with air carriers that fly to the United States must adhere to the safety standards of ICAO, the United Nations’ technical agency for aviation that establishes international standards and recommended practices for aircraft operations and maintenance.

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Report: Islander ditching following engine failure caused by overloading

May 20, 2011

The Dutch Safety Board published the results of their investigation into an accident involving a BN-2 Islander aircraft of Divi Divi Air in October 2009. 

The airplane suffered a right hand engine failure shortly after takeoff from Curacao on an inter-island flight to Bonaire. The pilot elected to continue to Bonaire on the remaining engine. Altitide could not be maintain and the airplane ditched off Bonaire. The pilot was killed in this accident.  The nine passengers escaped the airplane relatively unharmed and were picked up by boats nearby the crash site.

The investigation showed that the airplane was unable to maintain horizontal flight after one of the engines had failed, due to overloading. The airplane was overloaded by 9%. With the continuation of the flight under these circumstances the pilot took a completely unacceptable risk. Furthermore the Board has established  that Divi Divi Air used standard passengers weight that were too low.  A random audit revealed that the maximum takeoff ‐ and landing weights, were systematically exceeded.

The investigation also revealed that the Divi Divi Air management insufficiently supervised the safety of the flight operations of their airplanes. Also safety oversight conducted by the Netherlands Antilles Directorate of Aviation was limited. In this light, the Safety Board referred to the ICAO audit that was conducted in 2008. This audit revealed many deviations of the ICAO standards and regulations. The Board is concerned about safety oversight on civil aviation at Curacao.

The results of the investigation have resulted in recommendation of the Board to Divi Divi Air and the Minister of Traffic, Transportation and Spatial Planning of Curacao and the Governor of Bonaire.

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