Private aircraft arrivals in steady decline due to high tax

Private aircraft arrivals in steady decline due to high tax
Private aircraft FILE PHOTO

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A leading private aviation guide yesterday claimed arrivals by private aircraft to this nation have been steadily declining over the past six years due to increased taxes and fees.

Jim Parker, president of CaribbeanFlyingAdventures.com, a top pilot’s guide for planes flying in the region told Eyewitness News it was more expensive to visit The Bahamas than to fly to the Cayman Islands.

“My understanding is that private pilots can begin to return to the Bahamas on July 1,” he said.

“Obviously, this is not peak tourist season so I wouldn’t expect too much traffic in July. Arrivals by private aircraft have been declining steadily for the past six years as each year the Bahamas government increases fees for private pilots and/or increases taxes.

Parker said: “It is now more expensive for a small private plane with two pilots to visit the Bahamas – Long Island for example – than to fly to the Cayman Islands.  The distance from Miami is the same.”

Parker further noted that many US travelers will not be comfortable in the near term traveling far from home until they are confident they can be safe from the virus.

“Each year I bring a large group of private planes to Cape Santa Maria on Long Island,” he said.

“This is our favorite place in all of The Bahamas. We are scheduled to return to the Cape on November 14-17. Hopefully, by that time the COVID-19 virus will have subsided and we can return with confidence to one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Caribbean.”

Boaters, yachters and private pilots will be allowed to travel to The Bahamas as of June 15.

A Phase I reopening of the tourism sector will begin on June 15.

Tourism industry stakeholders plan to ‘test the market’ and effectiveness of new protocols outlined in the country’s tourism readiness and recovery plans at that time, as the country moves towards officially reopening to international commercial travel on July 1.