In 1996, a Safety Oversight assessment team of the International Civil aviation Organization ( ICAO )followed by an audit group of the Federal Aviation Administration ( FAA ) conducted safety oversight audits in Suriname to determine whether or not Suriname by means of legislation and other mechanisms fully complied with international and national regulations to guarantee aviation safety.
Both teams came to the conclusion that the Surinamese Civil Aviation Act, which dated back to 1935 did not comply, was restricted and as such did not guarantee aviation safety. It was also concluded that the required organizational structure was missing whereas at the time, the much needed coordination between the several departments was impossible.
As a result, the FAA decided to rate the Republic of Suriname in Category III , which means that with regard to aviation safety, our regulations did not meet international standards and no aircraft registered in Suriname was allowed to land within the territory of the United States of America.
While taking into account the complexity of international civil aviation legislation and technological developments worldwide, this decision by the FAA with the full support of the ICAO necessitated a new construction to guarantee aviation safety at all times with the ultimate goal of regaining and sustaining Category I rating for Suriname.
For this purpose the following actions had to be taken :
Establish a well-structured organization initially in charge of flight operations, airworthiness and personnel licensing;
Formulate a new civil aviation act adapted to new international standards;
Formulate mechanisms to ensure aviation safety oversight at all times;
Draw up regulations to meet the requirements set forth in the sector;
Establish rules to enable the above-mentioned organization to regulate and take measures when necessary;
Draw up regulations ; in this case the Civil Aviation Regulations Suriname( CARS) were formulated . Civil aviation characterizes itself that the ever developing technology compels states to continuously modify and amend regulations to comply with the Annexes to the Chicago Convention of 1944.
In the end, the above-mentioned initially resulted in the founding of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Suriname ( CASAS ) by State Decree of 12 May 1997 listing the duties and responsibilities of this body pending a new act on civil aviation.
After the CASAS has been established, a draft civil aviation act was drawn up which would reflect the developments within international civil aviation in the past 15 years with the emphasis on safety and security of the sector for which reference can be made to articles 4 and 5 of the draft act.
On 28 February 2002 the Act on Safety and Security of Civil Aviation in Suriname was approved by parliament and subsequently enacted on 12 March 2002.
In line with the technical nature of the Authority’s duties and responsibilities, it is of utmost importance that the CASAS has the availability of technically qualified personnel which must be given the opportunity to receive international training at a regular basis not only to keep pace with international developments but to be able to fulfill its duties as well.
The objective :
The objective of the CASAS is to ensure safety and security in civil aviation in Suriname. This can be achieved not only by conducting safety oversight audits outlined in a continued surveillance program but through random checks as well. The Authority moreover has an organizing, regulatory and advisory role with regard to policy matters.
The ICAO more and more advocates the establishment of self-supporting entities of which the CASAS is a good example.
Safety Oversight Audits conducted by the ICAO in the year 2002 and 2003 reflected the progress made by the CASAS over the years. Upon the request of the Authority, the FAA in June 2003 conducted a pre-assessment to give Suriname guidelines regarding measures it should take to be rated Category I. The FAA auditors concluded during their visit that no formal assessment was needed and in September of the same year Suriname was formally informed that it has been rated Category I .
It is up to the CASAS and its staff to sustain Category I. For this, regular training and upgrading of the CASAS staff, inspections within the Surinamese aviation sector should continue and revision ( modification ) and amendment of its regulations should take place where necessary.