Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) Director General Charles Beneby said yesterday that the authority will not be “strong-armed or bullied” into granting SkyBahamas its air operation certificate (AOC).
“The authority will not be coerced, bullied, or strong-armed into the granting of an air operators certificate unless and until it is satisfied that the applicant possessed the necessary capabilities – operational, technical and financial – to perform the functions granted by the certificate,” he said at a press conference.
SkyBahamas CEO Captain Randy Butler has said 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.
The airline was grounded on July 8 following several meetings with the BCAA.
Butler has claimed that the matter appears to be political and personal, but Beneby said yesterday that that is not the case.
“SkyBahamas is not being singled out,” Beneby said.
“This is not an act of sabotage. There is no political consideration, certainly on the part of the authority.”
Beneby added, “The claim that the authority somehow shut SkyBahamas down and prevented SkyBahamas from continuing its operation is unfounded.
“The regulations require an applicant to submit a request for renewal at least 30 days prior to the expiration of that certificate. That application was received in the office of the Safety Oversight Department on June 21, which is nine days prior to the expiration of the certificate.
“Notwithstanding the lateness of the application, and being desirous of facilitating activities associated with air commerce, we commenced work on the renewal for SkyBahamas.
“Amongst other things, there were a number of issues that were discovered. We worked with Sky’s management team with a view towards resolving those issues.”
He continued, “Again, nonetheless, our inspectors conducted a site visit after finally being granted permission to access, and of the six findings that were still outstanding, we were able to resolve about half of them. The authority is still mindful and still willing to work with SkyBahamas, notwithstanding all of the things that have gone on, we are still willing to work with SkyBahamas and any operator for that matter.”
In an interview with Eyewitness News last week, Butler said, “People are hiding and don’t want me to talk about it.
“Some of the flights were political favors.”