The airport has an enforcement status of ‘on notice’ from the Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration despite progress being made.

This was revealed in a recent written response from Alfred Cannan, the interim infrastructure minister, after being questioned on the matter by Arbory, Castletown and Malew MHK Tim Glover.

The Isle of Man Civil Aviation Administration is a regulatory body that falls within the department for enterprise, responsible for upholding the safety and security of the airport

The IoMCAA has a range of enforcement starting at collaboration and advice, through to providing warnings, and onto formal enforcements.

In December 2019, the airport was formally notified by the IoM CAA that it had been placed under ‘Special Attention’ due to the number of findings raised from routine audits of air traffic services and aerodrome operations.

In July 2022, the IoMCAA broadened the enforcement status to be ‘On Notice’ due to the historical issues still requiring resolution.

The written response said: ‘The IoMCAA also specified that by December 1, 2022, the incoming airport director was required to provide a copy of his proposed action plan to address these points and any wider issues that he felt were necessary.’

Both statuses ‘Special Attention’ and ‘On Notice’ which have been applied to the airport fall under the the formal enforcement category.

According to the 2020 state safety programme for the Isle of Man, published by the IoMCAA, a regulated organisation may be notified that it is ‘on-notice’ when there is reason to believe that its safety compliance and/ or performance is deteriorating. The IoMCAA safety programme adds: ‘Unless this trend is corrected, it will result in the organisation falling below the level of safety required for an approval to remain valid.

‘Examples could be where an organisation has been subject to repeated findings, has failed to address findings in the agreed timescale or does not have an effective safety management system.’

‘The organisation or person will be subject to increased monitoring and will need to provide us with an acceptable corrective action plan. We will expect to detect an improvement in safety compliance and/or performance as the organisation continues to be monitored.

‘The “on notice” notification may be lifted if the organisation’s actions address our concerns.

‘However, if the situation continues to deteriorate, it is likely that non-compliance findings will be made, which may result in our taking action to vary, suspend or revoke the approval of the organisation.’

Despite the status, in July 2023, the IoMCAA issued the airport with an update on its aviation safety regulatory position and formal view of progress made by the airport over the last 12 months. To quote from that IoMCAA report:

In the update, the IoMCAA said that in the last year positive progress has been made by the airport.

It added: ‘It is our (IoMCAA) view that the current management arrangements are now appropriate and fit for purpose; therefore, “management turnover” is no longer considered relevant to the “On Notice” status.

‘A significant corner has been turned and we (the IoMCAA) are content with progress and plans at this stage.’

The airport enforcement status remains ‘On Notice’ and will be next reviewed in December 2023.