Air traffic control in the Dominican Republic is approaching crisis point, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The ITF also claims that attempts made by the Dominican Air Traffic Controllers Association (ADCA) to address reported safety issues (including a total communications failure at Punta Cana) were met with sackings, demotions and arrests.
The ITF’s civil aviation secretary, Gabriel Mocho Rodriguez, said: “The Dominican Republic’s government appears to be hell-bent on breaking the ADCA, and silencing its warnings about deteriorating safety.”
Rodriguz claimed the ADCA has warned the authorities about incidents including:
• a total communications failure in Punta Cana, with controllers coordinating by mobile phone;
• unserviceable navigation aids at La Isabela International Airport, forcing pilots to complete all approaches visually;
• the distance measuring equipment at El Catey Presidente Juan Bosch Airport going out of service; and
• the control tower at Puerto Plata Gregorio Luperon International Airport working with only an emergency radio for over a year, and suffering frequent communications failures.