States keeps tight-lipped over director of civil aviation role

MYSTERY surrounds the post of the director of civil aviation, after the States failed to give a detailed response to questions from the Guernsey Press.

Dominic Lazarus, Civil Aviation Director. (28845774)
Dominic Lazarus, Civil Aviation Director. (28845774)

Assurances have been given that the responsibilities of the director are being filled appropriately in Guernsey and Jersey.

This statement came in response to questions from the Guernsey Press, which heard some weeks ago that director of civil aviation Dominic Lazarus, pictured right, might no longer be in post.

Questions posed by the newspaper asked if that was the case, whether the role was no longer deemed necessary, whether a replacement was lined up, whether there would be a recruitment process or who would take on responsibilities in the meantime.

At a States meeting in September 2018, Mr Lazarus was appointed to the position of director of civil aviation for a period of five years, with immediate effect.

In the policy letter submitted by Economic Development, it said: ‘In the event of a vacancy in the office... the law provides for the committee to appoint an individual who is considered eligible for appointment as director of civil aviation to the role of acting director of civil aviation until such time as the States makes an appointment to the role of director of civil aviation.’

According to the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation website, and with no new appointment of this role having been through the States, there appears to have been no change.

But Mr Lazarus’s disconnected mobile and an anonymous contact in the aviation industry suggests otherwise.

The role is one that has been in the public eye before, most recently in August about the dangers drones can cause aircraft, as well as the concerns about ‘grey’ charter flights following the deaths of footballer Emiliano Sala and his pilot David Ibbotson and a runway extension.

Although it is now not clear who is in charge of the office, a States spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that the responsibilities of the director of civil aviation continue to be appropriately fulfilled in both Guernsey and Jersey.’

There was no answer when the Guernsey Press called the Office of the Director of Civil Aviation, and Mr Lazarus’s email account bounced back with an out-of-office response, with no indication of when he would be back.

Instead it directed queries to Ash Nicholas, who is head of aviation services at Guernsey and Alderney airports.

The Jersey civil aviation office phone number listed on the ODCA website did not ring.

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