Categorized | National News

Gov’t Wants New Airspace Agreement

The Bahamas does not have the infrastructure to control its airspace, but the government is still looking for a way to get revenue from it, according to Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin.

Minister Hanna Martin, during her communication on the proposed amendment to the Airport Authority Act in the House of Assembly, said The Bahamas’ airspace was the subject of an agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1950s as The Bahamas was still a British colony.

She added that at the time, the airspace agreed upon did not include the entire The Bahamas.

“A consequence of that agreement or accord has been the management of our airspace by a neighbouring state and the collection of overflight fees in what has been described as very strategic airspace to the order of the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration),” Minister Hanna Martin said.

“Indeed, our own national flag carrier Bahamasair and other domestic carriers, which route internationally utilising our own air space pay overflight fees to the Americans for air traffic management services in our own airspace. It is important to note, however, that US carriers are exempt in this airspace from paying overflight fees.”

The minister said to address this, a committee was established to dialogue with American government officials.

She even though it was determined that The Bahamas does not have the infrastructure to manage the air space at this time, officials are looking to sign an agreement with the US to regulate the airspace.

“Therefore, until we are so positioned, we are however, firmly of the view that the relationship on this issue must be regularised by a modern agreement, which allows for the FAA to continue to manage our airspace and the appropriate remuneration regime is established,” Minister Hanna Martin said.

She added that she travelled to Montreal, Canada to the General Assembly of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to discuss the redefinition of Bahamian airspace and to regularise the relationship between the United States and The Bahamas over the airspace control.

“There will be other associated matters on the table for discussion,” Minister Hanna Martin said. “The meeting with the administrator was frank and extremely cordial. I also utilised the time in Montreal to speak informally to ICAO officials on our intent to regularise the anomaly attached to the management of our airspace.”

Minister Hanna Martin said it is expected that another meeting would take place next month to further discuss the issue.

“I am confident that at the end of these discussions The Bahamas will have regularised its airspace management and the revenue will accrue to the people of The Bahamas for the benefit of the people of The Bahamas,” she said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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