By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A BAHAMIAN airline executive yesterday said the Government needs to demonstrate the political will necessary to fix the country’s aviation regulatory regime, warning that a downgrade by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could have devastating consequences for the industry.
“This needs to be high on the Government’s agenda. The Government needs to clearly demonstrate the political will to fix this,” Captain Randy Butler, Sky Bahamas chief executive, said.
“I am hopeful and keeping my fingers crossed we can fix this. It requires having the resources to make it happen in a timely manner.”
Mr Butler said it was unfortunate that The Bahamas had failed to implement many of the recommendations contained in a report back in 2009 for improving its aviation regulatory regime, as revealed in a 2011 follow-up audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“If the FAA downgrades us to Category II that will impact all of us. I don’t want that, the country would not want that,” Mr Butler said.
“We need to start looking at ways to advocate and help the Government to get on with this. With a downgrade I think you would find that airlines would look twice about taking their operations to the Bahamas.
“For the Bahamian airlines that would mean that we would could not be able to expand or replace aircraft. The impact would be huge. It’s a very serious issue.”
Captain Patrick Rolle, director of the Civil Aviation Department (CAD), told Tribune Business in a previous interview that the Bahamas’ prospects of maintaining its Category 1 status with the US were “pretty good”.
Should a Category 2 downgrade occur, Captain Rolle said the “political will exists to ensure we’re not there for any length of time”.
He added that the Government had been “working quite furiously” to overhaul the Bahamian aviation regulatory regime.