NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Three of Bahamasair’s nine-fleet planes have had to be rerouted from the United States because they currently do not comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) equipment standards, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest confirmed yesterday.
As a result, the airline will have to wet lease flights on Saturday to meet the holiday demand residue and prearranged agreements.
A wet lease is an arrangement for one airline (the lessor) to provide an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline or other type of business acting as a broker of air travel (the lessee).
Turnquest explained that as of January 1, 2020, the FAA requires all aircraft flying into the U.S. to have the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) Out equipment installed.
He noted however, that Bahamasair’s supplier was unable to provide the navigation kit for three of its 737-500 planes.
“The 737-700 series we were able to get the kit for and the 5 ATRs we were able to get the kits for,” Turnquest said.
“So those six planes are able to go to the United States of America.
“The three 737-500s, the supplier was unable to provide the kit in time, despite all the assurances they gave the maintenance management at Bahamasair.
“As a result, starting today, we have taken those three jets off of the South Florida and Orlando routes.
“We have put on the 737-700 and the ATRs on those routes into Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm beach.
“And we are using the three jets to do routes in Freeport, George Town Exuma, Turks and Caicos, Havana, Cuba, and the two destinations in Haiti – Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien.
“So none of our planes our grounded, they just are unable to go to the United States of America.”
Asked how long it will take for the company to acquire the equipment, Turnquest continued, “We have been trying to find an alternate supplier. And because these 737-500s are so old, we’ve had a great difficulty in finding a supplier.
“We believe we found one and they gave us a quote today and said that we should have it in about three weeks, if we agree.
“It should cost around $195,000 per aircraft.”
Pressed on whether whether Bahamasair will have to wet lease in the meantime, Turnquest said “On Saturday, we do have a peak demand because we have a prearranged arrangement with Club Med in San Salvador as an example; and the load presumably from the New Year’s holiday weekend going back.
“On Saturday, we will wet lease a flight into South Florida and one into Central Florida in Orlando. But other than those two legs, no there’s no need to wet lease.”
In May 2010, the FAA issued Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations which requires ADS-B Out performance when operating in designated classes of airspace within the U.S. National Airspace System (NAS) after January 1, 2020, unless authorized by air traffic control (ATC).