PM: FAA will continue to control Bahamas’airspace
The Bahamas will never be able to fully control its own airspace and therefore reap the massive revenues it is reported can be made from it, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said Monday on Star 106.5 FM’s show Jeffrey.
However, stakeholders in the aviation industry disagreed with him yesterday. They contend the government could collect up to$50 million by taking control of the country’s airspace away from the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA).
Ingraham said ceding the airspace responsibility to the Government of The Bahamas will require more financing and resources than The Bahamas can spare.
According to him, the FAA will continue to control The Bahamas’airspace.
“You are in an airspace covered by the FAA,”he said.
“If it is in their national interest, the people who are able to do that are the best people to do it.
“There are certain complementary things between the US and The Bahamas.”
He added that The Bahamas may, however, be able to capture some revenue from its own airspace.
“There was never ever, ever any realistic proposition of being able to collect any such thing($50 million)from the air traffic surveillance system,”he said.”The reality is it’s not going to happen.”
SkyBahamas CEO Captain Randy Butler, who has long advocated for The Bahamas to control its own airspace, argued yesterday that it’s achievable.
According to him Cuba and Jamaica have already gained control of their own airspaces.
“I know it’s a hard thing, but I believe it’s practical and it’s something we can do,”he said.
“We’re talking about employing people, were talking about opening new revenue streams and various areas to technical training. This is the way to go.”
He said the Bahamas government can continue to pay the US to do it, or control the airspace and reap the revenues.
According to him local, independently owned operators pay the FAA as much as$10,000 per month.
Former minister of aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin told the media yesterday following a tour of the new U.S. departure terminal at the Lynden Pindling international Airport, that she was disappointed in Ingraham’s disinterest in pursing airspace control.
According to her, the government under Perry Christie in 2002 put in a formal application to have The Bahamas control its own airspace.
“This is where we sowed the seeds,”she said.”Being able to exploit this opportunity where The Bahamas could be responsible for our own aviation and earn a significant amount of money.”