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D’Aguilar: Dialogue continuing with FAA on overflight charges

The government continues to dialogue with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States regarding The Bahamas receiving revenue via the overflight charges placed on aircraft traveling through The Bahamas’ air space, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said on Thursday.

The move to control this country’s air space was made by the last Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) government.

D’Aguilar, who was speaking at a Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) conference on Friday, said the country collects no revenue from companies that use The Bahamas’ air space.

“We are presently in discussion with the United States government to formalize an arrangement whereby The Bahamas would directly receive the revenue derived from overflight charges from all air users traversing our air space,” he said.

D’Aguilar explained that the FAA currently manages all of The Bahamas’ sovereign air space, except for air space over the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), and the airports in Freeport, Eleuthera and Exuma.

“These are areas which come under the supervision of the Bahamas Air Navigation Services Division,” he said.

“Presently we do not receive any funds from overflight fees. The ultimate goal is to build capacity within our system, which would allow us to assume control of our sovereign airspace. The collection of overflight fees will go a long way, funding further development within the country’s aviation sector.”

D’Aguilar added that air safety is a primary concern for his ministry and changes have been made in the “aftermath of the recent air tragedies”.

“Our civil aviation authorities have taken a stance of zero tolerance and have implemented a number of initiatives to eradicate illicit practices,” D’Aguilar said.

“Special regulations enacted on May 2, 2019 limit access to the airside and require all Bahamian pilots holding foreign-issued licenses to have those licenses converted to Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA)-issued licenses. The BCAA has also posted a list on its website of all authorized air charter operators in The Bahamas, so that the public will seek only to engage such operations.”

He explained that while highly enforcing International Civil Aviation Organization standards and recommendations, civil aviation authorities have increased surveillance activities at LPIA and other airports.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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