By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Aviation regulators will roll-out new pilot licensing requirements in the 2019 first quarter, its top executive revealing that a crack down on illegal charter operations is now a “matter of urgency”.
Charles Beneby, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority’s director-general, told Tribune Business: “We have been working constantly to develop, where necessary, new regulations that we intend to roll-out very soon regarding new licensing requirements for Bahamian pilots.
“We are looking to introduce a new security directive that puts certain requirements on all operators at LPIA (Lynden Pindling International Airport) initially, and then expanding out to other islands. It is very actively being worked on, and I think it will be in the first quarter of next year.”
Following a plane crash off Andros in January 2018, which claimed the lives of six people, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority pledged an unprecedented effort to clamp down on illegal charter operations by embracing technology, involving law enforcement and increasing surveillance to identify and prosecute law-breakers in the aviation industry.
Captain Beneby said: “We have a number of initiatives that we will roll-out in the next few months.” He acknowledged that some of those initiatives have come in the wake of the Andros crash, adding that “I can say that but it is also an evolution”.
Speaking further to the illegal charter or “hacking” issue, Captain Beneby said: “It’s a problem that has been around a lot longer than I have been here and we agree that, as a matter of urgency, we have to do something about it.”
Sky Bahamas chief executive, Captain Randy Butler, has long called for a ‘crackdown’ on illegal hackers, warning of the potential safety risk for both Bahamians and tourists.