Presidential Decree Encourages GA Travel
Following up on their initial presentation to visitors at
Lakeland earlier this year, a delegation of high-level aviation
officials from the Dominican Republic came to AirVenture to
encourage pilots to visit their Caribbean nation.
Led by Jose Tomas Perez, Secretary of State and Director of the
Dominican Institute of Civil Aviation (IDAC), the Dominican
contingent aimed to promote the virtues of general aviation
tourism. With their nation already a favorite Caribbean tourist
destination, the Dominicans are now intent on becoming the top
tourist stop for private aircraft.
The government has teamed up with Caribbean Flying Adventures to
make the Dominican Republic the newest and most exciting
destination for US-based private pilots.
"With a tourism-oriented economy, we simply could not continue
to forfeit this lucrative segment to our Caribbean neighbors," said
Jose Tomas Perez. "The President has demonstrated his determination
to move the Dominican Republic to the top position in General
Perez was referring to a March 2008 decree signed by President
Dr. Leonel Fernandez. Presidential decree 169-08 eliminates
government user fees for personal aircraft up to 30,000 pounds
maximum landing weight, and 12 passenger capacity. The decree also
directs government agencies and employees to facilitate the
convenient and pleasant movement of general aviation aircraft and
Andres Van Der Horst, Director of the Dominican Department of
Airports and a principal agent in the drafting of the executive
order, joined forces with the Director of the Dominican Institute
of Civil Aviation to implement and enforce the decree.
"This segment of tourism cannot be developed under the shadow of
user fees", said Mr. Van Der Horst. "It is in our national interest
to move to a fee-free policy." The recent participation of the
Dominican Ministry of Tourism brings additional resources and
momentum to the campaign, and provides a rare opportunity for
With concerns about excessive and inconsistent user fees and
handling charges, leisure traffic to the Dominican Republic over
the last few decades had become non-existent. Experienced and
competent representatives working jointly with Caribbean Flying
Adventures on the national level were deployed by the Directors to
quickly align Customs, Immigration, and other agencies behind the
"We are placing resources and mechanisms in position to ensure
the ongoing enforcement and integrity of the President's decree,"
said Mike Trim, an airline pilot and technical advisor who serves
as the delegation's coordinator.
Next to be tackled is the natural resistance of the independent
private enterprise concessionaires managing the country's
international airports. The six non-international airports were
immediately fee-free with the signing of the executive order, and
in fully embracing the decree, so too was Felix Garcia and the
centrally-located Cibao International Airport in Santiago, the
first of the eight privately-managed international airports to
eliminate their landing, parking and handling charges. Frank
Rainieri and the Punta Cana International Airport followed
Santiago's lead with their elimination of user fees for all
aircraft under 6,500 pounds.
Caribbean Flying Adventures is planning the first of many guided
fly-ins for October 9-14.