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Pilots express concerns about reporting of rapid testkit policy, “We have our own choices”

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Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020. 4:47 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: A group of 16 pilots from Maya Island Air and Tropic Air has issued a statement expressing their concerns following the Prime Minister’s press conference.

The statement says that the pilots have been closely monitoring the Government’s policies and approach to the COVID-19 situation.

“Our jobs and ability to provide for our families hinge on those policies,” the statement says.

The pilots say that they are concerned about the positions the Government of Belize has taken in regard to opening up the country and putting the 20,000 employees directly and the thousands more who depend on tourism for the dignity of working to earn a living, back to work.

But, the pilots want to clarify that several news outlets have reported that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has objected to the opening of the Philip Goldson International Airport until a rapid test kit for Covid-19 is available.

“IATA has no mandate or interest in setting policies that will see air travel and the air travel industry continue to be handicapped, as the requirement for a rapid test kit would do. In fact no international body including the WHO has even recommended that a rapid test kit be a pre-requisite for the opening of an airport to international travel. Belize is a Sovereign Country. All local policies and plans to deal with Covid-19 are our own, they are not imposed on us by IATA or any other international body and should not be attributed to them. We have to own our choices,” the statement noted.

The pilots noted that it is important that the reporting of all Government policies, especially as it relates to our approach to Covid-19, and what is the rationale behind those policies are accurately conveyed, as the cost paid by so many Belizeans is literally their daily bread.

 

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