Air Services Agreement

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The following statement was issued by Bradley Roberts, Chair of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) 12 January:

PLP congratulates government on landmark airspace management agreement.

The Progressive Liberal Party congratulates the Christie administration on the successful negotiation of a landmark and historic airspace management agreement announced on Wednesday, 11 January 2017.

It is fitting that such an agreement would be concluded so near to Majority Rule celebrations as the implications of this agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strike at the very foundational principle of self-determination, sovereignty and the identity of the national identity of the Bahamian people. These are principles the PLP holds near and dear and have fought tirelessly for as we continue to build a more perfect commonwealth.

Under the agreement, our National Flag Carrier, Bahamasair, and scores of Bahamian registered private air charters and carriers would be exempt from fly over fees when taking off from and landing at airports in The Bahamas. The economic impact of this is enormous as operating costs would be reduced and airline operators would be well positioned to pass on cost savings to passengers in the form of lower airfares.

The ten year transition period allows the government of the Bahamas to literally create a new industry as it puts the requisite infrastructure and human resources and management systems in place to support the seamless transition to Bahamian management control of Bahamian airspace. This agreement is part and parcel of the government’s overarching mandate and policy commitment to build and empower our people as we move this country forward together.

I hasten to point out that the Free National Movement scoffed at the idea of Bahamians controlling and managing its own airspace. They said there was little to no economic benefit in it and it was not worth their time while in office so the good work of Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin and her team was shelved under the FNM’s harmful and short-sighted STOP, REVIEW AND CANCEL policy. What a shame. It is written that where there is no vision the people perish.

Special thanks go out to Prime Minister Christie for his focused leadership and vision; his tenacious Minister the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin and the public officials who worked tirelessly to see this deal through to the end.

The Bahamian people are the ultimate beneficiaries of this agreement together we build capacity, empower ourselves and move this country forward.