D’Aguilar: Process “Back to the drawing board”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – All of the proposals to help monetize this nation’s airspace have been rejected by a committee overseeing the request for proposal process, according to Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar, who acknowledged officials are “back to the drawing board”.
According to Mr D’Aguilar, the failed RFP had likely set the process back six months.
Speaking with reporters ahead of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, D’Aguilar said: “The airspace negotiation is ongoing. We had submitted an RFP. We received proposals. There was an evaluation committee that evaluated all of the proposals and decided to reject all of them. We are in the process of going back to the drawing board to expand on what we expect these companies to do.
“This has never been done before so this is very much a learning process,” he continued.
“When we looked at the proposals received we were not happy that they were fulfilling what we wanted them to do. The evaluation committee which is chaired by the chairman of The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority Wendy Craigg, former governor of the Central Bank, decided to reject all proposals and decided to go back out and seek additional information.
D’Aguilar said: “When we were going through the RFP process it became evident that we needed to get additional information and learn a bit more about it. We entered into a small consultancy project to lay out what we should be looking for in an RFP.”
The aviation minister said he is now targeting July 1, 2020 to have the project move forward.
“My target is that by July 1 2020 we would be in a process to launch it and then you have to give the airline companies six months to incorporate it into their fee structure. Airlines pre-sell a lot of tickets and so the eternal rule is that when you roll out a new charge you give the airline companies six months to roll it out.”
Last November, D’Aguilar revealed that the government was preparing an RFP to get help with monetization. He said then that negotiations with the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regarding the management of Bahamian airspace were “going extremely well”.
The Bahamas has been in negotiations with the FAA to gain control of Bahamian airspace and benefit from millions of dollars in overflight fees that are charged to air carriers that fly over Bahamian territory.
Mr D’Aguilar has repeatedly stressed the over-flight fees The Bahamas collects will only be used for the management and upgrade of the country’s air navigation system.