The government intends to launch the Bahamas Aeronautical Academy next year with support from the State of Qatar, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper said on Wednesday.
The initiative is a result of a recent Bahamas mission to the State of Qatar and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, during which the government in principal entered into memoranda of understanding to establish a technical training agreement between The Bahamas and Qatar Civil Aviation Authority for continuous technical exchange.
“Qatar Airways, one of the most successful and profitable airlines in the world, offered, at their expense, technical assistance and consultation to Bahamasair to assess economic benefit and offer recommendations for improvement of its business model. They will consider a hub and spoke system. I can tell you that we have locally formed an aviation task force for the creation of Exuma as a hub by 2023,” Cooper said during his contribution to the 2022/2023 annual budget debate.
“Qatar’s Ministry of Transport and Qatar Aeronautical Academy are to enter into technical cooperation with the Department of Aviation (Bahamas Aeronautical Academy) for technical training to support air traffic training, civil aviation, engineering and flight operations and other areas, with the institute to launch by early 2023.”
Qatar Airways is one of the largest airlines in the world, and the Doha International Airport is considered one of the largest travel hubs in the Middle East connecting countries all over the world.
Cooper has said this partnership with Qatar is pivotal to expanding The Bahamas’ tourism brand to undertargeted markets.
“The Qatar Tourism Board has agreed to enter into a marketing and promotional partnership with The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism around working with destination management companies, offering tour packaging services, etc. Bahamasair and Qatar Airways plan on entering into an interline agreement, to be able to book straight through from Doha to North Eleuthera, for example, without touching your checked bags,” he said.
“It should be noted that Qatar is a member of the OneWorld Alliance and offers great connections via American Airlines and British Airways that can easily be worked into bringing more visitors to The Bahamas.
“Our vision is to ultimately establish The Bahamas as a hub for passengers and cargo for Latin American and Caribbean markets and onward to the USA, strategically harnessing our pre-clearance.”