NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The COVID-19 fall out has made ‘more evident’ the need for a clear plan for the Bahamian aviation sector, an industry operator said yesterday.
Anthony K Hamilton, president of the Bahamas Association of Air Transport Operators, told Eyewitness News that local operators were trying to ‘make the best’ of the current situation.
Hamilton said: “It’s going to take some time to rebound. We are trying to make the best of it. Not everyone resumed operations when they were allowed to do so. It was because a lot of things still need to be worked out; the synergy of the various government agencies, the protocols and the rest of it.
“There were some challenges and some of those things are still being worked on. It’s a learning experience for all of us. None of us have experienced this before but we are trying to make the best of it because we feel we have an obligation to the citizenry of the country. “
Hamilton said: “The need for a national development plan is absolutely critical. We don’t have a clear aviation plan for the country. It became more evident in this experience because there were a lot of hiccups in the midst of this. We were chasing agencies to get proper directives to be in compliance and we found that they were asking us to the initiative certain things when it should have been coming from them.”
Hamilton said that local operators have a stake in the country’s aviation sectors development.
“We have a definite stake in this,” he continued.
“We are conscious of that and want to do our best. When we look at Bahamasair, they have the backing of the Treasury, we don’t. We pay taxes to facilitate our competitor. This sis something we have been trying to bring to the forefront for years.
“Still, Bahamasair has its role to play and the domestic operators have their role to play, especially when you look at the development of the family island communities. If we are going to allow this nation to truly maximize what it out to out of this industry the domestic operators need that consideration.”
He added. “We need to sit down and have a proper plan done so everyone is held accountable and we know where we are going.”