FAA revokes Bimini Island Air’s licence
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has left several Family Islands with one less airlift option permanently, after it revoked Bimini Island Air’s (BIA) operating certificate, according to an FAA press release.
The FAA revealed yesterday that because BIA – a charter company – was using its 30-seat aircraft for scheduled flights, it was in violation of rules governing charter operators in the United States.
“The FAA alleged BIA advertised and operated 15 scheduled flights between Fort Lauderdale and The Bahamas in March and April 2011, using a 30-seat Saab 340-A twin-turboprop aircraft,” the release said.
“BIA is not authorized to use a 30-seat aircraft for scheduled flights.”
The revocation of the operation license was an emergency order by the FAA on June 27th, the release revealed.
The Fort Lauderdale airline flies into South Bimini, Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour Abaco, as well as several other destinations across The Bahamas.
Director General of the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) David Johnson said the airline was not a “major player” and called BIA a limited operation. He contended that the loss of the airline should not have a significant impact on airlift into The Bahamas.
“It’s not an issue in terms of any significant impact on tourism into The Bahamas,” he said.
The MOTA has made it a primary focus to increase airlift into the Family Islands. Another Fort Lauderdale-based charter company recently introduced airlift to Marsh Harbour and Bimini early last month.
The FAA said BIA immediately petitioned for a review of the “emergency nature of the order of revocation” which also served as an “appeal of the merits” of the revocation.
BIA representatives could not be reached up to press time yesterday.
The FAA alleged that BIA “offered and advertised” scheduled flights to The Bahamas on its 30-seat plane, that included a departure location and time and an arrival location.
“BIA operated as a scheduled airline rather than as an on-demand service when it provided those flights,” the FAA release said.
“Scheduled airlines are governed by rules different than those for charter operators or on-demand services.”
“Both the petition and the appeal will be heard by the National Transportation Safety Board,” the release noted.