Captain Randy Butler urges govt. to sign M.A.S.A.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Captain Randy Butler, the Chief Executive Officer of Sky Bahamas, is advising the Prime Minister to join the nation’s other topographical peers in signing the new CARICOM Multilateral Air Services Agreement (M.A.S.A.) in order to advance the local aviation industry.

The agreement permits all types of air services to be performed among participating states, and it also ensures equal opportunity for all CARICOM air carriers to compete in air transportation.

Most notably, the new deal removes restriction on routes, capacity, and traffic rights.

The agreement also removes the regulation of tariffs, except to prevent anti-competitive behaviour.

Moreover, it also details liberal arrangements for granting operating authorizations following receipt of designation, as well as provisions facilitating regulatory cooperation by civil aviation authorities on matters such as trade in aviation goods and services,

M.A.S.A. was approved and opened for signature in February 2018 when Belize, Guyana, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Suriname signed.

Just last week, Jamaica and Trinidad also signed the agreement at the 30th Inter-Sessional Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in St. Kitts & Nevis.

Butler said that the government need not tarry when it comes to signing this agreement.

“I think the government should implement a strategic plan right now because right now you’re taking these Bahamasair planes – you’ve bought more of them – and now to compete against your local airlines that you’ve invited into the business….now you see the government subsidizing Bahamasair [for more than] $11 to 14 million dollars, plus they have to pay $38 plus million dollars for these new ATIs. So you’re now talking about almost $50 million dollars a year you and I are paying whether we fly on the plane or not.”

Butler also advised that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis take a cue from our global neighbours.

“The USA deregulated the economic part of their aviation sector which allowed for the airlines to go on any route they saw possible,” he explained. “Therefore, they dropped a lot of the inconvenient fees, filling a void in these communities with being able to connect to major cities.

“But we have the same thing here in The Bahamas with our Family Islands. So, why don’t we follow suit where they took the money from their foreign airlines flying over their airspace, and take that money and fund the smaller carriers so that they can connect these communities to the big cities,” Butler said.

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This article was written by Matthew Moxey – Eyewitness News Online Intern

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