Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest yesterday suggested he was blindsided by the recent issues with the airline’s jets being unable to fly into the United States, noting that he should have been made aware of the issues with the supplier earlier.
Turnquest revealed last week that three of Bahamasair’s 737 classics missed a January 1 deadline to be equipped with navigational kits required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), because the supplier, Fokker, did not provide them in time.
He said yesterday it was still unclear exactly what went wrong, but it was being looked into.
“Everybody knew the deadline was coming up, so that’s not an acceptable response,” Turnquest said.
He added, “We are still doing a full analysis of it and the chips will fall where they may based on the results.
“But, in 2018, they began [the process to acquire the equipment] and in June of 2019, was when they found where these kits could be done and signed on with Fokker.
“Fokker indicated in June that in September they’ll provide one kit, in October they will provide one kit and in November they would provide one kit.
“I should have been informed in September when they missed that deadline. That’s the best way I can answer your question at this time.”
He said Bahamasair is using its ATR planes to fulfill flight services into South Florida, while the jets continue scheduled flights into the Family Islands and Haiti.
He said the airline found a new supplier and expects the navigational kits to be installed by March.
Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis criticized the government on the issue. However, in response, Turnquest said it should not be made political.
“The FAA issued this in 2010, so we’ve got successive governments that were involved,” he said.
“So, let’s not make it a political issue.”