Wilson: Bahamas receiving up to $3 mil. per month in overflight fees

The Bahamas Air Navigation Services Authority (BANSA) is receiving about $2 million to $3 million per month from overflight fees, Financial Secretary Simon Wilson explained last week.

Wilson explained though that that amount is an estimation, given that his ministry does not have carriage of those funds, as they do not go into the consolidated fund as designed by the BANSA legislation. Those funds are used to directly offset costs in the aviation sector.

When the historic air navigation services agreement with the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the monitoring of The Bahamas’ sovereign airspace was implemented early last year, the government was able to trim more than $14 million from its annual aviation sector budget allocation in the 2021/2022 budget.

The Airport Authority recently took receipt of four new state-of-the-art fire trucks for airports in Exuma, North Eleuthera, Nassau and Abaco at a cost of $4 million. That purchase was financed by the Inter-American Development Bank and it is understood the overflight fees will go a long way to repay the purchase.

The FAA has been contracted to monitor The Bahamas’ sovereign airspace for a period of ten years at no cost. During that period, The Bahamas could collect up to $350 million from airlines passing through its airspace.

While the FAA’s monitoring of the airspace will be done at no cost, this country will have to pay an annual $80,000 fee to acquire data on airlines passing through the airspace. That data will help BANSA to collect the fees due to this country.

Before the agreement was signed at the beginning of May 2021, the US provided air navigation services for about 75 percent of The Bahamas’ sovereign airspace, while Cuba controlled the rest. Overflight fees were therefore paid directly to the FAA and the Cubans.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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