Regional Aviation Safety Oversight System
Late in 2001 the Civil Aviation Authorities of Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, OECS, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago signed an agreement to participate in a cooperative approach to aviation safety oversight in the form of the “Association of Civil Aviation Authorities of the Caribbean” (ACAAC) with the aim of sharing resources and experience in the Caricom. (Belize is not an active member as it has aligned itself with neighbouring States cooperative efforts) The ACAAC provides a formal framework for cooperation and the establishment of the Coordinator’s Office under the umbrella of the CARICOM Secretariat. ACAAC has developed Rules and Procedures of a Regional Safety Oversight System (RASOS) that outline, inter alia, the functions of a System Coordinator, and the functions, structure and management of the ACAAC.
The ACAAC was formed in response to the lack of required organizational capacity and technical skills for any one of the small states to fully meet, on a sustainable basis, the requirements of civil aviation safety oversight required under the Chicago Convention. The ACAAC agreement responds to the challenge by implementing a mechanism (RASOS) that reduces the cost of providing the required airworthiness and flight operations oversight services to individual member states. The implementation of the Regional Aviation Safety Oversight System (RASOS) has seen growth in the existence and availability of the required technical skills in the various states and is working to optimize the use of the region’s technical resources. Its focus is strengthening the civil aviation authorities, promoting the upgrading and harmonization of regulations, standards, procedures guidance material, inspector training and enhancing the ability of the individual states to fully discharge their safety oversight responsibilities. The sub-regional approach chosen is consistent with the global strategy promoted by ICAO to address safety oversight problems of contracting states.
In September 2002 the RASOS General Board chose Kingston as the site of the interim coordinator’s office.
RASOS has developed its corporate strategic plan for the period 2004-2008 and has embarked on several harmonization initiatives. The decision to share the technical resources results in a pool of some 32 trained technical inspectors available to each Authority rather than just the 4 or 6 that are normally on staff in a typical small organization. All of the participating states are now more advanced in upgrading the capability of their civil aviation oversight organizations: Jamaica was in Category One at the time RASOS was commenced, Suriname advanced to Category One in 2003 and both OECS and Trinidad and Tobago are expected to advance to Category One in 2004.
Although training still continues to be an ongoing requirement, the RASOS group is now focused on harmonization issues and has formed six working groups to study and make recommendations to the board regarding areas of change or enhancement needed to achieve a greater degree of standardization and commonality among the seven CAA of RASOS. Working groups are active in the areas of aerodrome certification; personnel licensing; safety regulations and standards; foreign repair station approvals; inspection methodology and reporting forms; flight test standards, flight test examiner/check airmen guidance and flight test reporting forms.
A RASOS web site ( www.rasos.org )has been developed and it contains both public information and members only sections.
ACAAC is not only focused on aviation safety oversight as required in ICAO Annexes 1, 6 and 8, it also is focusing on all of 18 ICAO Annexes including security, aerodrome safety and aviation security. interested in developing mutual cooperation in safety oversight. The ACAAC and its RASOS stand ready to provide any information and advice to interested organizations