Belize City-based Astrum Helicopters in September received its air operator certificate (AOC). The company claims it is the first AOC issued under a new regulation. Founded in 2004, Astrum also said it is the first company to offer commercial helicopter services in the Central American country. Its four- or six-passenger Bell 206s fly mainly between Belize City, local airports and private heliports.
Airports throughout Jamaica, Mexico and Belize were shut down at press time as Hurricane Dean plowed through the Caribbean and the Yucatan Peninsula. In Jamaica, Kingston Jamaica Airport and Norman Manley International Airport remained closed for more than two days following the storm. Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay was the first to re-open, 24 hours after aviation operations were suspended.