From left: Statia Personnel Affairs Unit Manager Francesca Gibbs; new flight information service officers Antonio Maduro, Rasheeda Bourne, Shermin Carty, Eurduchen Woodley and Dane Connell; and F.D. Roosevelt Airport manager Darren Wilson.
ST. EUSTATIUS--An Aerodrome Flight Information Service Officer (AFISO) certification ceremony took place in St. Eustatius on Friday.
Present at the ceremony were F.D. Roosevelt Airport manager Darren Wilson, Statia Personnel Affairs Unit Manager Francesca Gibbs, Personnel Affairs policy officer Riana Bennett, Saba Airport Unit Manager Maegan Hassell, and Princess Juliana International Airport Aviation Training Academy trainer Duncan van Heyningen.
Five graduates hail from Statia: Rasheeda Bourne, Shermin Carty, Dane Connell, Antonio Maduro and Eurduchen Woodley. Saba graduate and valedictorian Derrick Johnson, a former security officer at Saba’s Juancho Yrausquin Airport, attended the ceremony virtually.
Gibbs said F.D. Roosevelt Airport has been short-staffed for quite a while, as it has been a challenge to fill the positions because specific training is needed.
To properly staff the airport tower, the public entity St. Eustatius started a selection procedure in 2019 for two aeronautical flight information officers.
As the training is very specific and difficult to provide for only one candidate, it was to train a group of persons.
The flight information service officer’s main objective is to provide aeronautical and meteorological information to aircraft flying in Statia’s airspace.
The basic AFISO training was provided by the public entity in collaboration with Van Heyningen and his team.
Gibbs explained that the training had started under former interim airport manager Ric Isarin, after which then-interim manager Richard van Dinter took over. New airport manager Wilson was there to congratulate the graduates.
Van Heyningen said the first three weeks of training had gone smoothly, but the second part of the course was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the training to be handled online.
Due to unfolding developments, the Statia government decided to hire three AFISO officers for a one-year trial period.
Van Heyningen thanked Gibbs and her team, Van Dinter, instructor Philmore Watson, and the staff of New Challenges Foundation for assisting with the online exams and the governments of Saba and Statia for their continued trust in the training.