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Landmark Agreement With US

The Ministry of Transport and Aviation signed two important documents yesterday in a ceremony at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ‘Declaration of Intent on Flight Information Region’ (FIR) as well as a Radar Data Sharing agreement was signed between the government of both the United States and The Bahamas through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


A process that began almost four decades ago, Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glenys Hanna Martin noted that this is a culmination of a journey that started between two sovereign states.


“This is sort of the culmination of a journey. The Bahamas is a developing nation and our history is one that is very long and checkered and filled with varying chapters of pain and triumph,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said.


Mrs. Hanna-Martin noted that when The Bahamas gained independence 40-plus years ago, it also gained sovereignty over its geographical airspace; however the FAA continued to manage and control the airspace as a result of arrangements that predated independence.


“When we became independent in 1973, a lot of institutional change came about. The management of our airspace is currently the tradition of an agreement that was signed in the 50s between the United States of America and the British government.


“The Bahamas was then a colony over that period and the last 60 years plus the Americans through the FAA have managed the airspace in a safe an efficient manner, for that the global community is grateful and certainly The Bahamas is,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said.


Mrs. Hanna-Martin further noted that the culmination of today is the product of a multi-agency committee formed in The Bahamas, which through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs began dialogue with the FAA.


“What you’re seeing really today is the beginning of what will be a larger dialogue and purpose between The Bahamas and the United States of America. It is hoped that we would be able to strike an agreement for 10 years in the first instance for the purposes of the Americans for the FAA management of our airspace.


“We’ve been working very closely with The Bahamas team here and we’re very happy to be where we are to sign today.


“We’ve made tremendous structural and fundamental progress, that fundamental progress is what you are seeing manifest today,” Mrs. Hanna-Martin said.


The New FIR means that The Bahamas will be able to manage its own airspace after a 10 -year arrangement with the FAA which is beneficial to the country.

“This is a significant intervention for domestic aircraft traveling within the geography of The Bahamas.


“Additionally, as we move from this point we will be discussing other issues which includes formalizing an arrangement between two sovereign states on the management of our air space and the fees payable for management or otherwise, working together to agree a mechanism for collecting over flight fees.


“Working with us the Americans have agreed to work with us in discussions with the IKO and neighboring states on establishing the Flight Information Region that reflects the geography of The Bahamas.


Executive Director for International Affairs of the Federal Aviation Administration Ms. Carey Fagan noted the significance of the signing of the documents.


“For many people Radar Data Sharing doesn’t really sound that exciting, I think for the traveling public the main thing to understand is by sharing this type of information it definitely improves both the efficiency and the safety of the system and the flights that are taking place and in numerous amounts between the United States and The Bahamas.


“I think it is an excellent example of the cooperation that exists today and that will continue to exists in the future.


“In our discussions, we are working towards the agreements that are necessary to enable us to manage the upper air space on behalf of the Bahamas under a mutually acceptable arrangement and that is what we will continue to work on over the next few months,” Ms. Fagan stated.


The FAA executive also noted the United States goal of attempting to make changes that would allow them to make exemptions.


“We are also very happy that we are able to make some changes in our regulations to allow us to exempt certain flights here that are flying amongst the Bahamian islands and it’s something that we have wanted to do for quite some time and we went through that process in the United States to enable that.


“We believe that all these agreements really memorialize the close relationship that has existed for many years between the U. S and the Bahamas.” Ms. Fagan stated.










Written by Jones Bahamas

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