D’Aguilar: Agreement paves the way for future economic growth and increased airlift
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Bahamas and the United States yesterday signed-off on a ‘historic’ air services agreement that is expected to pave the way for future economic growth and increased airlift between the respective countries.
The Air Transport Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas is the first bilateral air transport agreement negotiated by the two countries.
It establishes a modern civil aviation relationship with The Bahamas which is consistent with United State’s ‘Open Skies’ international aviation policy.
The agreement allows for unrestricted capacity and frequency of services, open route rights, a liberal charter regime, and open code-sharing opportunities.
Calling the signing a ‘milestone achievement’, D’Aguilar noted that it means that The Bahamas has now successfully concluded twenty-three Air Service Agreements.
“In addition, The Bahamas has successfully negotiated, but not yet concluded, another twenty eight Air Service Agreements upon which we are waiting patiently for the other side to secure their necessary regulatory approvals so that we can finalize,” he said.
The agreement signed yesterday took four years to be concluded.
D’Aguilar said: “These agreements pave the way for future economic growth and increased airlift between the respective countries.
“Additionally, these air service agreements provide financial incentives and internationally agreed rules and regulations, which govern how a foreign carrier from a specific country can provide service to The Bahamas, either directly or via a code share arrangement.
“As a result, when a foreign carrier expresses an interest in commencing air service to The Bahamas, the regulatory regime is already in place and service can commence expeditiously, without undue bureaucratic delays.”
D’Aguilar said the agreements also provides the same opportunity to our Bahamian designated airlines to operate under this agreement into the United States and any other country with which these Agreements have been executed.
“The implementation of this agreement would also make travel easier for Bahamians and Americans who are visiting, in greater numbers, to destinations in The Bahamas and United States,” he said.
“Why? Because airlines in the respective countries that were intimidated and overwhelmed by a perceived bureaucratic process to establish air service between the United States and Bahamas can now be assured that, with the signing of this agreement, the process is clearer and far more manageable and far more transparent than it once was.”
Airlines that will be designated by both the United States and The Bahamas are all able to benefit from the agreement.
Yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said the Air Transport Agreement with the United States reflects a strong commitment by both The Bahamas and the US to the continued strengthening of bilateral relations and the modernization of aviation operations.
“The Bahamas and the United States are close neighbors with strong relations,” Henfield said.
“The USA’s friendship was evidenced in the rapid response it provided in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. They were among the first responders and continue to provide needed cooperation and assistance.”