It will be at least another year before The Bahamas is closer to monetizing its airspace after every single bidder in the request for proposal (RFP) process for a company to manage the monetization process was rejected.
The government closed the RFP process in March, but without a preferred bidder, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said the government is in the process of going back to the drawing board to expand its requirements from potential bidders.
“The airspace negotiations are obviously ongoing. We submitted an RFP, we received proposals, there was an evaluation committee. They evaluated all of the proposals and decided to reject all of them,” he told reporters on Tuesday outside the Churchill Building.
Monetizing the Bahamian airspace would involve the implementation of the necessary technology to measure and track every aircraft that flies within the airspace.
In addition to tracking these aircraft, the technology would need to generate a bill for the distance travelled through the airspace of The Bahamas, send that bill electronically to the owner/operator of the aircraft and then pursue that owner/operator for payment.
“As you all are well aware, this has never been done before so this is very much a learning process and when we looked at the proposals that were received we were not happy that they were fulfilling what we wanted them to do,” D’Aguilar said.
“So the evaluation committee, which is chaired by Wendy Craigg, chairman of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority and former governor of the Central Bank, decided to reject all the proposals and to go back out to seek additional information. When we were going through the RFP process it became evident that we needed to get additional information, learn a little more about it, so we ventured into a small consultancy project to really lay out what we should be looking for in an RFP, so that’s where we are.”
D’Aguilar said restarting the RFP process sets the monetization process back about six months.
“My target is that by the first of July 2020 we would be in the process to launch it and then you would have to give the airline companies six months to incorporate it into their fee structure. As you know, airlines pre-sell a lot of tickets, and so the general rule is that when you roll out a new fee, or a new tax, or a new charge, you give airline companies six months to roll it out,” he said.
On average more than 1,000 planes fly through Bahamian airspace daily, according to the minister.