The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority has been forced to hire a company out of Miami, Florida to assist it in correcting “abysmal” scores the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) gave The Bahamas’ aviation sector three years ago, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
D’Aguilar, who made the remarks during his mid-year budget speech in the House of Assembly, said The Bahamas was given 32 out of 100 by ICAO five months after the Free National Movement took office in 2017.
He said the government is working with recently hired Aircraft Registry Group (ARG) in Miami to revamp aviation legislation in preparation for ICAO’s next audit in 2021.
“It has been widely reported that in the last audit of our aviation sector by the International Civil Aviation Organization, which took place five short months after we took office, we scored an abysmal 32 out of 100,” D’Aguilar said.
“Significant deficiencies were noted. The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority has hired the Aircraft Registry Group (ARG) out of Miami, Florida to assist in the further revamping of our aviation legislation and effective rollout of this new regime, to ensure that scores significantly improve at our next audit in the second quarter of 2021.”
He added that the government is in the process of upgrading numerous airports across the country and has purchased 11 new fire trucks to upgrade the country’s airport fleet, an important asset to airports codified in international standards.
“Over $200 million of works is required in our family island airports,” he said.
“Public-private partnerships, similar to the setup at LPIA, are being explored to secure the necessary funding to allow for these redevelopments to happen in the short possible time since. With the enormous demands on the public purse by the areas of The Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian, there will not be sufficient funds from the taxpayer or government borrowings to carry this load.
“The firefighters at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) should be relieved to know that a contract for the construction of a new fire house has finally been signed and that construction should be completed this year.
“It is also the intention of the government to bring about the single largest investment in fire fighting resources at our airports ever, through the acquisition of 11 new fire trucks to replace our aging fleet.”
He added that the acquisition of new baggage screening equipment for LPIA is being finalized at a cost of $12 million.