CASSOS was formally launched in February 2009 at the Headquarters of the CARICOM Secretariat in Guyana. CASSOS succeeds RASOS, with functions that been redefined and are broader in scope to include all the annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 1944), commonly called ICAO Annexes.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which set out the Association’s main objectives was developed and signed by the Directors of Civil Aviation of Barbados, Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago.
CASSOS’ main objectives as a co-ordinating body are aimed at tackling:
The dis-economies of scale faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the establishment of infrastructure and the implementation of development programmes, personnel training and establishing maintenance facilities;
High costs of maintaining qualified personnel, for example, borne by territories prove to be wasteful and inefficient as fleets and facilities are small on a territory by territory basis;
Need for standardization in the approaches to regional safety oversight in areas such as licensing, aviation security, certification , inspection and surveillance;
Provision of technical assistance to CASSOS member-states through the resource-sharing mechanism co-ordinated by CASSOS Secretariat . This assistance includes the provision of certified and experienced operations and airworthiness inspectors, and organisation of necessary training facilities and courses;
Provision of necessary leadership and guidance to participating CAAs towards developing adequate procedures and standards;
Assisting with the development and implementation of the use of common procedures, criteria and guidance materials by staff trained at the same standards. This will also serve to make aviation professionals more portable throughout the region Using modern technology to improve communications among the CASSOS member-states developing shared aviation.
The Structure: The CASSOS Board of Directors
Each Member State, including the OECS, appoints a representative and an Alternate to the CASSOS Board of Directors. The Board is chaired by one of the Directors, who is elected for a two-year term by simple majority vote. The Chairperson is assisted by a Vice Chairperson who is similarly elected. The current Chairperson is Mr. Nari Williams-Singh, Director General of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority.