Honduras and Colombia Sign a Mutual Overflight Agreement to Combat Small Drug Planes
By Dialogo August 18, 2011
The Honduran and Colombian Air Forces signed a cooperation agreement to combat illegal flights that cross the airspace of the two nations and of the Caribbean and Central American region. With this agreement, both Air Forces will have the possibility of flying in each other’s airspace.
During the now-concluded F-AIR Colombia 2011 exhibition, the commander of the Colombian Air Force (FAC), Gen. Julio Alberto González, and the commander of the Honduran Air Force (FAH), Col. Ruis Pastor Landa, signed the operational cooperation agreement that will enable the two forces to exchange experiences in the fight against drug trafficking.
“It’s an agreement that, in union with one that we have with Mexico, with Guatemala, and in the future with El Salvador, is going to deny Caribbean and Central American airspace to illegal traffic headed to the United States,” the FAC commander, General González, declared.
According to official information, the agreement is the result of joint work over three years by several Central American intelligence agencies and Air Forces, together with those of Colombia and the United States, which found that Honduran airspace has been frequently used by drug traffickers to transport drugs to Mexico and the United States.
“We want to draw on the experience of our brothers in the FAC and do our part,” said the head of the FAH, Colonel Landa, who also praised the Colombian Air Force’s capabilities in its fight against illegal flights.
The new agreement will enable the FAC to follow illegal traffic in Honduran airspace up to the moment the plane lands, in those cases in which Honduras is unable to do so. In the same way, Colombian intelligence platforms will also be able to identify the landing sites of these irregular planes.
El Salvador would benefit from this kind of cooperation, since it does not currently have the necessary fighter-plane capability, due to the fact that its planes are grounded because of budgetary shortfalls, cost savings, or the lack of needed repairs, to intercept small drug planes or other kinds of planes or ships that pass through its political jurisdiction, in either its airspace or its territorial waters.