Sky Bahamas confirmed Tuesday that it will soon announce its decision as to whether or not the airline will pull the plug on its services into Grand Bahama.
Sky Bahamas CEO Randy Butler, in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News, confirmed that the airline has recently reduced the amount of airlift into Grand Bahama, but has not yet decided if it will completely cancel its services.
His comments came amid widespread speculation that the airline has already cut Grand Bahama from its roster.
“We have not produced the new schedule as yet, but we are still functional and we still have people working there and we are moving around and negotiating with other routes and we have given ourselves a timeline of whether or not we will pull out completely,” he said.
Butler said Sky Bahamas will announce its final decision on Grand Bahama on or before December 19.
In addition to low demand, Butler said there are a number of other challenges which have led to the airline’s current position.
Topping that list are exorbitant airport fees levied on flights which pass through Grand Bahama’s International Airport, Butler said.
He argued that those fees eventually translate into an increase in ticket costs.
“If you use Sky Bahamas you then have to pay for the parking lot and once you pay for the parking lot the ticket is now more expensive than the other company who has their own terminal on Grand Bahama,” Butler said.
“The other issue is that we are not allowed to even push a wheelchair; they want to do that and then charge us $25.
“Additionally, this is the only airport that I know of where we have to pay for holidays. Overtime, I understand, but can you imagine that because it’s a holiday we have to charge time-and-a-half on top of ticket charges.”
While ticket costs skyrocket, Butler said traveller interest continues to dwindle.
“On this current trek and projection, I foresee that no domestic airline will survive government’s current policy if they continue like this,” Butler said.
Butler asserted that it is an unfair game for small domestic airlines.
“We’re not Bahamasair, we cannot throw our money away. Bahamasair does not fly to Andros, Bimini, Cat Island and there are very limited fights to the southeastern part of the country,” Butler said.
“Then when you look at our most vibrant economies like Abaco and North Eleuthera they are plastered with foreign carriers.”
Butler said the government needs to re-shift its focus and work toward making doing business in the aviation industry a little easier for smaller domestic carriers.