Butler: SkyBahamas has lost millions due to grounding

SkyBahamas Chief Executive Officer Captain Randy Butler said yesterday that the airline has lost millions of dollars in fixed costs and expected revenue and has also taken a major hit to its reputation since its planes have been grounded over the past five weeks due to the lack of its air operation certificate (AOC).

According to Butler, several safety concerns were raised on May 27 regarding his operation.

He insisted, however, that despite addressing these issues, he was told on July 8 that he had to stop all flights.

Butler said even after several meetings with The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, including one last Friday, his company has still been unable to get its AOC.

“We have not received the renewal of our AOC, which is required to fly, and because that has not been renewed on this side, the U.S. has suspended our aspects until The Bahamas renews it,” Butler said.

“So, it’s not only here, it’s the responsibility we have in the U.S. when we are doing on-demand charter and stuff that we still have offices that we have to pay for.”

He continued, “If you all year long are doing inspections and risk analysis in preparation for the renewal, when you get there and that time comes, you should stamp and get signed because you can show during the year, if there is any issue, you worked it out, you got it going.”

The airline has two planes and a staff complement of 63 people.

“We have to work for what we eat,” Butler said.

“The passengers that we [have] inconvenienced in this whole thing…I apologize to y’all.”

The SkyBahamas CEO has called on the government once again to intervene, concluding that the matter appears to be political and personal.

However, Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that he will not get involved.

D’Aguilar insisted that it’s not his place to step in and involve himself in safety issues.

“I want to be very clear, no minister of aviation with any sense is going to intervene on a safety issue,” D’Aguilar told reporters outside Cabinet.

“If SkyBahamas has a matter before The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, it’s up to him to figure out how to get the necessary approvals in order to obtain his air operating certificate.

“I don’t have the technical expertise to intervene on his behalf. This is something that he has to work out with the regulator.”

Despite the many challenges and the critical position the company is currently in, Butler said he will not allow the airline to close down. He said he is currently in talks with someone willing to aid him with either an investment or a loan. However, that avenue remains up in the air.

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Sloan Smith

Sloan covers national news for The Nassau Guardian. Sloan officially joined the news team in September 2016 but interned at The Nassau Guardian while studying journalism at the University of The Bahamas. Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications

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