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'Think Positively' On Nassau Flight Privatisation Bid

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey Sr/Tribune Staff

By Natario McKenzie

Tribune Business Repoter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

A Cabinet minister yesterday brushed aside fears that Nassau Flight Services (NFS) privatisation could spark lay-offs, saying the state-owned entity needs “investment and modernisation”. 

Speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Dionisio D’Aguilar, pictured, minister of tourism and aviation, said the government’s efforts to privatise NFS should be “no surprise”.

“I have been talking about this in Parliament since we took office,” he added. “The government has always made it a policy that we feel that there are a number of government entities that are better run by the private sector.

“Nassau Flight Services is small enough and can be easily absorbed or managed by a mid-level, mid-sized Bahamian company. It is our intention to empower and bring about entrepreneurship in some of our government entities, and we feel that Nassau Flight Services is right for this. The FNM had attempted this in the previous administration, and now we are revisiting it. We put it out to an RFP.”

Mr D’Aguilar continued: “We will see which companies are interested, and what proposals they will make. Government is always cash-strapped and so the company is in need of investment and modernisation.

“We feel this is certainly an avenue worth exploring. When all the proposals have been received they will be carefully evaluated by an evaluation committee and a suggestion will be made to Cabinet. The final decisions will rest with Cabinet.”

When asked whether staff lay-offs may result, Mr D’Aguilar said: “Everyone gets fearful that there is going to be downsizing and people will get laid off. That might be a result, but let’s think positively. This is an opportunity for a Bahamian company to come in. Let’s look at the positive side of it.”

The Ministry of Tourism, in a recent statement, revealed that the government will consider a franchise (operating) agreement for Nassau Flight Services as well as its outright sale. Mr D’Aguilar previously told this newspaper that foreigners need not bid to take-over the state-owned ground handler.  

Comments

OldFort2012 4 weeks ago

The Minister is being disingenuous. Everyone who has ever flown into LPIA has seen the hoard of NFS employees awaiting every flight by doing what Bahamians do best: sitting in a corner, skiving. I have photos of 6-7 of them sitting under the mobile ramp to get out of the sun and moving slower than sloths. Who has NOT waited for their bags for over 1/2 hour? What "investment" do you need to unload bags? A new pair of gloves?

The "problem" is obvious to anyone who flies: at MIA 2 ground handlers do the job of 8 at LPIA and in 1/4 of the time.

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moncurcool 4 weeks ago

When asked whether staff lay-offs may result, Mr D’Aguilar said: “Everyone gets fearful that there is going to be downsizing and people will get laid off. That might be a result, but let’s think positively. This is an opportunity for a Bahamian company to come in. Let’s look at the positive side of it.” .

I respectively disagree with your point. The minister is not being disingenuous. He admitted that layoffs may result, as he recognises wisely that the company cannot make money as is as a private run business.
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At least he has the stamina to put the matter of possible layoffs out there. I give him credit for that.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 weeks ago

What D'Aguilar isn't telling us is that the Minnis-led FNM government has already decided on which muck-a-muck crony is going to end up owning NFS and how much government backing they have been promised to help fully modernize all of NFS's equipment. That aside, OldFort2012 has a very good understanding of why NFS has been financially dependent on government support all of these years.

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John 3 weeks, 6 days ago

So will NFS now carry the ‘SUPERWASH’ brand or some close affiliate?

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proudloudandfnm 3 weeks, 6 days ago

NFS is laden with political cronies who got a job for their vote. OF COURSE THERE WILL BE LAY OFFS. And rightly so....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Most of us don't think it's right that PLP cronies will get replaced by FNM cronies. That's not down-sizing!

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