Amid concerns over news that some Bahamasair jets cannot fly into the United States, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest advised yesterday that two of the concerned aircraft will be outfitted with the required navigational systems by the end of this month.
Earlier this month, Turnquest revealed that three of Bahamasair’s 737 classics missed a January 1 deadline to be equipped with navigational kits required by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) because the supplier, Fokker, did not provide them in time.
Turnquest said yesterday that Fokker returned Bahamasair’s $200,000 deposit last week. He said Fokker would have taken too long to provide the systems so they found another supplier.
“The March date was when Fokker had said they would provide it by,” he said.
“We said that wasn’t acceptable. And that’s why we went looking for another source.”
Turnquest added, “We engaged an engineering firm by the name of Janzair to provide the ADS-B (automatic dependent surveillance—broadcast) and they have now sent us the necessary engineering and wiring diagrams.
“We have now set up to install the navigational kit in the first aircraft the week of January 20…to be finished by that Friday.
“And the second aircraft will be outfitted the following week.”
Turnquest said the third jet, which is in Costa Rica for heavy maintenance, will be outfitted with the new navigational system at the same time.
“As I previously indicated, our third aircraft was scheduled and has been from the beginning of the year [to go] to Costa Rica to the maintenance facility for the heavy maintenance. So the third kit will be sent there and installed.
“That’s a 70-odd day process. And so we won’t have that jet for another couple of months in any event. And that was pre-planned. We always plan to do our heavy maintenance during slow periods.”
Turnquest last week suggested that if he had been made aware of Fokker’s first missed deadline, the problems with the jets could have been avoided.
He said it was still unclear exactly what went wrong initially at Bahamasair, but said it was being looked into.
“We are still doing a full analysis of it and the chips will fall where they may based on the results,” he said.