The Belize Department of Civil Aviation has regulatory responsibilities related to the safety and security of the flight operations and flying itself.
The Department's regulatory functions in the area of flight operations are: Certification of the aviation industry for different types of flight operations (Air Transport, Aerial Work, Aviation-Sports Activities), continuing inspection of the certificated entities from the industry, and inspection of any other type of flying activities.
Flight Operations conducts oversight of air operators through assessments of general flight operations, including operations manuals and quality systems. All licenses for flight operations are subject to approval and control. Flight Operations oversees commercial and private aviation so as to ensure that they are conducted in accordance with current rules.
The Flight Operations Section is responsible for:
- Overseeing private aviation.
- Overseeing commercial operations of Belize Air Operator Certificate holders, procedural rules of air operators, flight crew members.
- Issuing air operator certificates which attest that air operators are in compliance with the Standards and Recommended Practices of the International Civil Aviation Organization as they relate to aspects of flight safety in their respective operations.
- Flight Operations furthermore carries out surveillance of foreign operators to and from Belize in accordance with the ICAO Doc. 8335.
- In cooperation with the Licensing Section, Flight Operations oversees the certification and surveillance of flight schools.
- Flight Operations examines complaints and comments from passengers, air operators, foreign civil aviation authorities, and anybody else who submits such information concerning aviation safety. The air operator or others concerned are contacted to obtain explanations and an appropriate course of action is then decided on.
Audits are conducted by trained Flight Operations Inspectors who carry out validating exercises of applicant operators prior to commencing air transport operations. Audits of current AOC holders are also carried out as a part of an AOC renewal process. The audits may be carried out by individual inspectors, or as a team, depending on the size and complexity of the operation. During these audits, the whole operation is inspected to ensure safety, and compliance with the regulations. These audits may be done annually with regular ad-hoc inspections being conducted from time to time to maintain uniformity.
The members of flight operations conduct inspections at various airports or facilities to ensure safety and compliance. These inspections are carried out primarily on airport ramps. Ramp inspections are the visible policing efforts of the Department to create the awareness in the industry that the Department is able to reach all corners of the country to enforce the Belize Civil Aviation Regulations, and to prevent accidents and incidents before they happen. En-route inspections of flights are carried out to monitor whether they are conducted in accordance with current regulations. Main Base and Station Inspections are also carried out to ensure air operator compliance with current regulations.
The Flight Operations personnel are trained in the process of approval of operations manuals. These manuals need to be read carefully to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations. Once the content and presentation of the manual has been approved by the inspector, this manual serves as a guideline for safe and effective functioning by the operator.