Airport Authority lacks “financial wherewithal”

Airport Authority lacks “financial wherewithal”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Airport Authority’s managing director yesterday admitted that the entity does not have the financial wherewithal to address the financial demands of its employees at this time.

Milo Butler III, in an interview with Eyewitness News, yesterday admitted the entity does not have the financial resources to address demands by Airport Authority workers for back pay and pay increases.

He pointed to financial constraints brought on by COVID-19’s impact on the travel industry.

The Bahamas Public Services Union (BPSU) staged a demonstration at Lynden Pindling International Airport yesterday to highlight those concerns.

Butler said: “The Bahamas Public Services Union and the Airport Authority are in active negotiations and have been for quite some time.

“Any issue Mr [Kimsley] Ferguson (BPSU president) would have, we would encourage him to bring them into the negotiations so that we would discuss them. From a financial standpoint, the Airport Authority’s revenues have been significantly reduced because of COVID-19 and because there are not many persons traveling, foreign or domestic. Our revenue stream comes primarily from user fees, specifically the security fee. We have seen our revenues significantly reduced.”

Still, Butler noted that the Airport Authority has kept all of its workers employed and is paying them their full salary despite them only working two and a half days a week.

“The Airport Authority has tried its very best to show our staff how valuable they are to us and continue to pay them 100 percent of their salary,” he said.

“We are hopeful that once tourists start traveling again and the Bahamian economy starts to rebound again that we will be in a position to financially accommodate the concerns of staff and by extension the union. At this stage, we simply do not have the financial wherewithal due to the significant fallout [of] COVID-19 and how it’s impacted and shrank our revenue stream,” said Butler.