The ECCAA is guided by the motto “Aviation Safety through Service and Partnership”
Director general (ag) of the ECCAA, Donald McPhail said the purpose of this recognition is to promote the importance of civil aviation in the social and economic development of states in general and of the OECS member states in particular where the availability of air transportation is critical.
McPhail stated that the most significant contribution of the ECCAA to the people of the OECS over the past seven years has been safety in transportation.
“This is what the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority is all about. It is charged with the responsibility to ensure the highest level of safety and security in Civil Aviation in the OECS and in carrying out this mandate our organization conducts safety and security oversight of all the airports, air traffic control systems including air traffic controllers airlines, airplanes, aircraft maintenance facilities pilots and engineer in its efforts to ensure compliance of the applicable international standards and recommended practices on the parts of these entities. This is done basically through a system of audits inspections, tests and surveys,” he said.
The ECCAA evolved from the Directorate of Civil Aviation (DCA) – Eastern Caribbean States established in 1957. From inception, the Directorate was seen as a vehicle for facilitating a collective and uniform approach to civil aviation matters affecting the then Windward and Leeward Islands, which now comprise the OECS.
In 1961, the primary responsibility of the DCA was revised to “to advise the governments of the Windward and Leeward Islands on all matters relating to civil aviation including airfields and airport development, the implementation of ICAO conventions and the adequacy of air services.”
In 1982, the Directorate became an Institution of the OECS through the Treaty of Basseterre, which established the OECS. At the 35th meeting of the OECS heads of governments, in 2002, the heads decided that: “a fully autonomous body should be established with the responsibility to regulate civil aviation activities within OECS member states.”
Acting upon this mandate, in October 2003 at St Georges, Grenada, the OECS ministers responsible for civil aviation signed the agreement establishing ECCAA; however, this agreement had to be given legal effect through Acts of Parliament in OECS member states. By October 2004, five member states had passed the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Agreement which signaled the ECCAA’s birth.
Today, the ECCAA regulates civil aviation in six of the OECS states: Antigua and Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada; and provides communications, navigation and surveillance (CNS) services to those states, as well as to Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.