The Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation, led a delegation attending negotiations on air services in Nairobi, Kenya, 10-14 December 2018. The Bahamas conducted some 24 meetings over the five (5) day period, where Minister D’Aguilar signed ten (10) Air Services Agreements (ASAs) and seven (7) Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) during the meeting.
This brings a sum total of nineteen (19) officially signed ASAs and eighteen (18 ) MOUs between The Bahamas and other countries to date. It is expected that ASAs will be concluded in the near future with those countries with whom MOUs were signed.
Minister D’Aguilar expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of meetings, pointing out that these agreements pave the way for future economic growth and stimulus through the aviation sector. More specifically, he said, attending this conference and signing these agreements is an efficient and cost-effective way to facilitate the commencement of air service to The Bahamas, by airlines domiciled in the countries with whom the agreements were signed. These air service agreements provide financial incentives and internationally agreed rules and regulations which govern how a foreign carrier from a specific country can provide service to The Bahamas, either directly or via a code share arrangement. As a result, when a foreign carrier expresses an interest in commencing air service to The Bahamas, the regulatory regime is already in place and service can commence expeditiously, without undue bureaucratic delays. This would also make travel easier for Bahamians who are visiting, in greater numbers, destinations all over the world and for the growing number of persons across the globe who wish to come to The Bahamas.
Minster D’Aguilar further noted that amongst the MOUs signed in Nairobi were one with the Government of Turkey designating Turkish Airlines to fly officially to The Bahamas and a code-share with the Netherlands. Productive discussions were also held with Guyana and Tanzania, resulting in both countries and the Bahamas initialing agreed Minutes. Additional fruitful meetings were also held with the United States, United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). During the meetings, the Minister said views were also exchanged on best practices, lessons learned and opportunities for technical assistance and cooperation. He further expressed his appreciation for the strong partnership and support provided by ICAO in helping countries to further their aviation goals and to the Government of Kenya for the warm welcome extended to The Bahamas delegation.
This was the 11th session of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s negotiating event, ICAN 2018. ICAN provides States with a central meeting place to conduct multiple bilateral (regional or plurilateral) air services negotiations or consultations. Since its inception, it has served as an efficient platform for conducting air service negotiations. So far more than a total of 142 States have participated in and benefited from ICAN at least once.
Other members of the delegation were Ms Sharon Brennen-Haylock, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Captain Charles Beneby, Director General of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, Ms Juliea Brathwaite-Rolle, Manager of Safety Oversight of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority and Mr. Shane Miller, Assistant Director of Legal Affairs of the Office of the Attorney General.
Discussions will continue in the coming months to finalize the ASAs with the remaining countries, as soon as those countries have finalized their internal approval processes. Both The Bahamas and the relevant countries expressed the hope for the official signings to take place before the end of 2019 either in the margins of upcoming meetings, or at the ICAO Assembly in Montreal September/October, or during the 12th Session of ICAN, which is to be held in Jordan in December 2019.
ASAs Officially Signed (10)
Code-share/MOU Officially signed (1)
MOUs Signed/ASAs initialed (6)
Federal Republic of Germany
MOU/Designation of Airline Officially (1)
Turkey (Turkish Airlines)
Agreed Minutes/ASAs Initialed (2)