By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Belize Department of Civil Aviation observed International Day of Civil Aviation on Friday with a list of events, including a wreath-laying ceremony to honour pilots all over the world who lost their lives in the course of their duties, and a larger ceremony on the Phillip Goldson International Airport compound.
Durong that event, the department honoured one of its employees for having 51 years of service in the field.
Nigel Carter, chief operations officer at the department, explained that the day was all about raising awareness about the importance of civil aviation and safety-related issues.
“By the end of 2014 we will have had 290,000 flight operations,” Carter said. “We have different classifications, depending on damage and number of injuries to define an accident and for this year our only accident happened yesterday December 4.”
Carter also emphasized that Belize has a respectable record overall when it comes to safety, and the department is making the necessary steps to keep that record in tact for the future.
Apart from raising awareness about civil aviation’s importance, the day also marks the anniversary of the formation of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Now on its 70th year, the ICAO is the United Nations’ (UN) body responsible for developing international standards for aviation safety. ICAO was established on December 7, 1944, to secure international cooperation and uniformity in civil aviation matters.
The International Services Transit Agreement and the International Air Transport Agreement were also signed.
In 1996 the UN General Assembly proclaimed December 7 as International Civil Aviation Day, in accordance with an ICAO initiative and with the Canadian Government’s assistance. The assembly urged governments and organizations to observe the day. This day is now an official UN day.
The theme for this year’s event was “Promoting global friendship and understanding.”