Norge Botello, director of the Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation (IDAC) presented President Leonel Fernandez with the certificate that authorizes Dominican registered airplanes (HI) to fly to US territory. The ban had lasted 14 years.
The flights had been banned on grounds of weak local supervision. An FAA delegation that visited in April determined that the country had made advances and meets the aviation security requirements established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
Despite millions spent by the government to comply with requirements, it was not until recently that major advancements were made. The government has announced it will be participating in a new airline in partnership with private investors.
Speaking at the event, US Charge D’Affairs Roland Bullen highlighted that 1.1 million American citizens vacationed in the DR last year, and the security enhancements will contribute to the development of the aviation and tourism industry of the DR.
Melvin Cintron, manager for International Programs and Policy of the Federal Aviation Administration came for the presentation at the Presidential Palace. He commented that the upgrade was achieved because of mutual political will on behalf of the governments. Cintron is a Dominican. In his congratulations, he stated: “May you receive my congratulations, Mr. President, in my role as chief of the International Programs and Policy Office of the FAA, and taking pride in seeking how my country gets ahead.”
Also present was Planning Minister Juan Temistocles Montas, Tourism Minister Felix Jimenez, and the president of the Civil Aviation Board, Luis Rodriguez Ariza.