By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMASAIR is aiming to reduce its net loss by $1.7 million or 8 per cent during the upcoming fiscal year, the Deputy Prime Minister conceding that much remains to be done to make the national flag carrier fully efficient and less dependent on taxpayer.
Philip Davis, minister of works and urban development, said the airline's budgeted net loss for the upcoming 2012-2013 fiscal year is $21.8 million.
During his contribution to the Budget debate, Mr Davis said: "Bahamasair, like the rest of the airline industry, is faced with many challenges - none greater than the escalating cost of fuel. This places a substantial financial burden on the company's operations and costs to the Government.
"Notwithstanding this, Bahamasair's budgeted net loss for the upcoming fiscal year is $21.8 million, which is $1.7 million or some 8 per cent less than for this year ending June 30, 2012."
The Deputy Prime Minister added that most costs over which Bahamasair has no control continue to move upwards, while the airline is faced with rapidly increasing domestic and international competition.
Mr Davis said: "I will be calling on the new Board of Directors to perform a critical evaluation of its purpose and what its mission will be for the future. All the stakeholders in Bahamasair will be asked to objectively look to the airline and its future. Bahamasair must be transformed into a leaner, more efficient and lower cost carrier with a new vision, along with a revised business model."
Addressing the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC), Mr Davis said reducing the cost of electricity is a national challenge faced by both BEC and the Grand Bahama Power Company, the main contributor to high prices being the cost of oil on the international markets.
Mr Davis said: "Renewable energy on the utility scale, as well as the residential scale, will be pursued, including arrangements for residential customers using alternative energy supplies to be able to connect into the BEC grid under a Net Billing arrangement. With this in mind, the Government will also consider a waste-to-energy solution."
Addressing another government corporation, the Water and Sewerage Corporation, Mr Davis said it was presently involved in a number of large projects, including an $81 million IDB loan to addressing "reduction in non-revenue water".
Mr Davis said the Corporation has crafted a development plan for the Family Islands that is presently being reviewed as part of the Government's commitment to provide safe, potable water to every community.