The Bahamas will receive almost $2 million from overflight fees by the end of the month, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
Outside Cabinet, D’Aguilar was asked about his accomplishments as minster of tourism and aviation over the last four years.
D’Aguilar said the
implementation of overflight fees was one of his crowning achievements, having been successful after successive governments toyed with the idea of monetizing the country’s airspace, though never finding success.
Now, he said, money will soon be deposited by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) into a Bank of The Bahamas bank account.
“This minister, this term, under this Minnis-led administration finally figured out how to monetize a natural resource of this country which is the sovereign airspace of The Bahamas,” D’Aguilar said.
“Now as planes traverse through our sovereign airspace, $25 million to $35 million will be earned for the benefit of the Bahamian people, and I am very, very proud of that accomplishment.
“I am particularly proud of that and I’m glad that accomplishment happened while I happened to serve as the minister of aviation.”
In May, the government signed a historic air navigation services agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the monitoring of The Bahamas’ sovereign airspace for a period of 10 years at no cost.
At the time, D’Aguilar said that the country could collect up to $350 million from overflight airlines over that 10 years.
While the FAA has been monitoring this country’s airspace for some time, there has never been a formal agreement in place. And while the FAA’s monitoring of the airspace will be done at no cost, his country will have to pay an annual $80,000 fee to acquire data on airlines passing through The Bahamas’ airspace.
That data will help the newly formed Bahamas Air Navigation Services Authority (BANSA) to collect overflight fees due to this country.
He added that he is also proud that during his term as minister, a record number of tourists visited The Bahamas in 2019.
In 2019, more than seven million stopover and cruise visitors came to the shores of The Bahamas.
D’Aguilar said he is also proud of the fact that a $300 million deal was done to redevelop Nassau’s cruise port, which he said will “re-establish Nassau as the preeminent cruise capital of the Caribbean”.