NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Labour Director Howard Thompson last night revealed that he had asked the head of Bahamas Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) to meet with him one-on-one on Tuesday to see how best to resolve the association’s issues, amidst reports that Bahamasair pilots are on work to rule.
Neither BALPA president Mark Johnson nor Tracy Cooper, Bahamasair’s managing director, could be reached for comment yesterday.
However, when asked about reports that the pilots were on work to rule, Labour Director Thompson told Eyewitness News: “Yes, this was brought to my attention on Friday and I immediately called Mr Mark Johnson, the President of the Pilot’s Union and him and I agree to have one on one sit down on Tuesday coming to see how best I can assist with resolving the issues and their concerns expeditiously.”
It is unclear what specific concerns are encompassed by BALPA; however, these concerns may be related to Bahamasair’s initiatives to raise the pilot retirement age to 65. The airline is reportedly facing apprehensions about an impending shortage of experienced captains, particularly as it aims to expand its fleet and routes. The national flag carrier is seeking to extend its longstanding mandatory pilot retirement age of 60 by five years. This proposed change is motivated by the desire to retain valuable expertise and facilitate a smoother transition in leadership. The decision to increase the retirement age is intricately linked to ongoing negotiations within the industrial agreement with the Bahamas Airline Pilots Association, which are yet to be finalized.