Airlines must pay to fly in Bahamas’ airspace
Govt projects $300-350 million intake over next 10 years
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas, for the first time in its history, is assuming management of its sovereign airspace in a move that could yield $300 to $350 million over the next 10 years, according to Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.
The Bahamas has now signed a 10-year air navigation services agreement with the US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which could be extended for an additional 36 months.
Under the new agreement, as of May 1, 2021, aircraft landing in and departing out of the sovereign airspace of The Bahamas, aircraft flying solely in the airspace of The Bahamas and aircraft flying over the sovereign airspace of The Bahamas will start paying fees to the newly established Bahamas Air Navigation Services Authority, (BANSA) an entity solely owned and operated by the Bahamian government.
D’Aguilar, speaking at the ceremonial signing of the agreement yesterday, noted that it concluded decades of talks over the management of the sovereign airspace.
“The Bahamas will assume, for the first time, the management of this sovereign airspace,” said D’Aguilar.
“Commencing May 1, 2021, aircraft landing in and out of sovereign airspace of The Bahamas, those flying solely within the sovereign airspace of The Bahamas and those flying over the sovereign airspace, will pay fees to the entity (BANSA).”
He noted that according to the UN’S convention on civil aviation, the imposition of fees must be non-discriminatory.
“All carriers must pay the same fees. We could not charge one fee for Bahamian carriers and another for non-Bahamian carriers,” D’Aguilar explained.
He further explained that fees for aircraft landing and taking off in Bahamian airspace will range from $1 per arriving and departing passenger and a flat fee of $10 up to $61 dollars, depending on the takeoff weight.
“The aircraft that weighs less would pay less; the aircraft that weighs more would pay more,” said D’Aguilar.
He noted that all fees collected cannot be deposited to consolidated funds but must be directed to the development of the country’s aviation sector, adding that he expects the agreement to yield $300 to 350 million over the next ten years.
The Bahamas will still be responsible for an $80,000 annual fee to be paid to the FAA for the provision of data to charge airspace users.
United States Charge d’Affaires Usha Pitts said the agreement represents years of hard work between the two countries.
“This cements cooperation for the next ten years and begins the process by which The Bahamas can take greater ownership of its own airspace,” Pitts noted.