By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
A Bahamian airline’s principal yesterday called for “more action” to be taken against illegal charter operators, demanding greater enforcement of the aviation rules and procedures.
Captain Randy Butler, Sky Bahamas chief executive, agreed that the long-promised crack down on illegal charters or “hackers” was badly needed as the issue has gone unchecked for “too long”.
“Part of the problem may lie with the regulator because they have not been working to certify the people that are qualified. A number of people have said they have applied to make themselves legal and there are some who are new,” Captain Butler said.
“It should not take two, three or four accidents to see something happen. The rules, the law, the regulations and guidance material is adequate. It is in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 1. I think the problem is with implementation and enforcement. That is what really needs to be addressed. We can have rules but we need the enforcement. There really is no need to keep talking about this.”
He spoke out after Charles Beneby, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority’s director-general, told Tribune Business last week that the aviation regulator will roll-out new pilot licensing requirements in the 2019 first quarter, as it aims to crack down on illegal charter operations as a “matter of urgency”.
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.