Categorized | National News

Skybahamas CEO Calls for Aviation Reform

Skybahamas CEO Randy Butler renewed his call for reform in the aviation industry. 

According to Butler, in 1992 the Ingraham administration called for Bahamians to get involved in the aviation industry to service domestic routes while Bahamasair serviced international destinations.

He noted that this has not happened, as it seems Bahamasair is putting smaller airlines out of business. 

“We see government take a Bahamasair that has a purpose of bringing international passengers, but spend $120 million of the tax payers’ money to go and buy new airplanes to go and compete against the local carrier with the intent, that I say and these are my words, to put them out of business,”  Mr. Butler said.   

“If you get in a situation where you are going to put this airline or airplanes on a route where other domestic airlines are going and in some cases you drop the fees and do things that we cannot afford because the industry can’t afford it because Bahamasair don’t have to worry because it’s not a business, it’s a charity organization that needs to be babysat, fed and burped.” 

Mr. Butler first made the claims back in November 2018 following the unfortunate plane crash of pilot Byron Ferguson in waters off Nirvana Beach.

At that time, he called for a review of the entire aviation system and the implementation of new strategies. 

Shadow Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin said when private airlines began to receive licenses it opened a new model for the industry and added that maybe then, the need for Bahamasair should have been changed. 

“The role of Bahamasair had evolved at that point, in that the aviation agency had licensed other carriers to service national routes,” she said.

“So at that point, perhaps there should have been a reconceptualization of the role of Bahamasair.

“Whether it should have been more designed to develop our tourism product with international routes, it had to be resorted because the landscape shifted.  It was no longer what it was originally conceived as. Whether that has happened effectively has to be questioned.”   

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe, a few weeks ago, shared similar sentiments noting that the government should look for a partnership for Bahamasair and use it as the airline to bring tourists to Grand Bahama and allow smaller airlines to service the Family Islands.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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