Suriname on the way to aviation modernisation


Suriname is a South American country highly dependent on income from natural resources. A decline in prices for bauxite, oil and gold caused severe economic downturn and in 2016 Suriname declared 67.1% inflation. 

To help Suriname revive its economy, aviation transportation was one of the sectors that needed to be improved driven by an expanding ecotourism sector. The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) funded a study “Air Transport Programme” (2012) which identified gaps and recommended solutions on the country’s civil aviation legislation, institutional, organisational and regulatory framework.

The IADB has subsequently decided to fund the modernisation of these four areas as part of its Suriname 2016-2020 strategy to support economic stabilisation and to modernize the country’s public and private sector. After winning the tender, CAA International (CAAi) was appointed to the project in partnership with IATA Consulting.


In January 2016, CAAi held the first open discussions with the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Tourism (MTCT) and relevant stakeholders of Suriname to discuss the approach to ensure that the scope of work was fit for purpose.

After conducting the initial gap analysis, CAAi identified that the legislative and regulatory frameworks were out of date and did not reflect the latest International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) standards and recommended practices.

CAAi had to deliver a large scope in a relatively short timeframe. Timely engagement and cooperation from the local stakeholders was required to ensure expected progress.

Another challenge was the limited budget that was dedicated to this project. CAAi had to manage its resources very carefully but at the same time fulfil its responsibilities. To accommodate the budget, a lot of the work was performed remotely as desktop assistance.

Our Solution

Working together with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority Suriname (CASAS) and the Civil Aviation Department (CAD), CAAi, in partnership with IATA Consulting, started with the revision of the legislative framework that needed to be modernised. CAAi conducted a high-level review of the existing aviation regulations, and recommended areas that required amendments, and advised on the additional regulatory areas that were missing and needed to be implemented to meet ICAO’s requirements.

After the first stage, CAAi commences an organisational revision including gap analysis, recommendations for the new civil aviation organisational structure and recommended number of personnel required and their job descriptions. During this stage, CAAi experienced some challenges, including a perception from local personnel that changes proposed to their job descriptions might have an unexpected impact on their current role and pay grade. An ongoing communication to mitigate these perceived concerns was implemented alleviating any concerns about potential change.

In the final stage, CAAi advised Suriname on the existing institutional framework. At present, a majority of the service provisions related to aerodromes and air navigation services are publicly owned by the State and a decision was to be made whether to continue with public ownership or whether it would be more feasible to fully “corporatise” and/or privatise these. To make the right recommendation, CAAi and IATA Consulting had to consider various factors including the fact that many aerodromes are not profitable and their function is purely to connect remote locations with the rest of the country. CAAi conducted a financial and strategic analysis to assess various scenarios and suggested a corporation model. Corporatisation will allow Suriname to practise responsibilities as if the services were privately owned and will also ensure funding support of those services that are not profitable but imperative for the local communities. CAAi prepared a roadmap for Suriname to follow over the next few years to achieve a more efficient aviation system.

Outcomes and Benefits for Suriname and MTCT

CAAi and IATA Consulting helped introduce new civil aviation legislations including a new draft of the Civil Aviation Act. CAAi reviewed and made recommendations for amendments and implementation of additional civil aviation regulations. The gap analysis and assessment of the organisational framework was done and CAAi recommended a number of roles and drafted job descriptions for the CASAS and CAD personnel. CAAi also analysed the existing institutional framework and provided a roadmap for corporatisation and potential privatisation of service provisions. CAAi provided Suriname with a solid basis and modernisation plan. The implementation phase will now be carried out by Suriname.

Country Profile
  • Name of country: The Republic of Suriname
  • Size of the country: 163, 821 km2
  • Population: 558, 368
  • Number of international airports: 1
  • Number of international carriers: 2
  • International passengers traffic: 434, 000
  • Contribution of Travel and Tourism to GDP (2016): 2.7%
Key Achievements
  • New proposed Civil Aviation Legislation including Civil Aviation Act
  • Revised civil aviation regulations including recommendations for amendment
  • Gap analysis and revision of the aviation organisational framework
  • Analysis of the institutional framework including a roadmap for corporation and potential privatisation of service provisions

“We have learned a lot from the UK CAA, especially from the team members and the engagement and support of ICAO SAM Regional Office. Apart from the great learning experience for all Suriname staff involved, the recommendations and advice provided by UK CAA will undoubtedly help the Suriname civil aviation sector move in the right direction”.

Spokesperson from MTCT

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