Introduction
Air travel protocols
New legislation
Other progress
Comment


Introduction

In 2020 the Civil Aviation Authority Bahamas (CAAB) made several important advances despite the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

  • restoring and boosting air travel to, from and within The Bahamas – efforts which are ongoing;
  • presenting three pieces of legislation to Parliament; and
  • addressing other ongoing challenges.

Air travel protocols

The Bahamas Travel Health Visa website updates users on the protocols to follow when travelling to and from The Bahamas in light of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19 Pandemic) (8) Order 2020 (for further details please see "Efforts to restore and boost air travel"). The protocols have resulted in an increase in the number of arrivals to The Bahamas.

New legislation

On 16 March 2021 the following acts took effect:

  • the Civil Aviation Act 2021;
  • the Civil Aviation Authority Act 2021; and
  • the Air Navigation Services Authority Act 2021.

The CAAB is working diligently to implement these acts in preparation for the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) audit, which is scheduled for October 2021. The acts are expected to improve, and in some instances rectify, certain deficiencies in The Bahamas' civil aviation sector and thus increase the country's ICAO score (for further details please see "Dawning of a new age: proposed legislation shapes future of aviation").

On 25 March 2021 the Civil Aviation Regulations (CARs) took effect and the Civil Aviation General Regulations (CAGRs) 2017 and its schedules were repealed. The CAAB has afforded operators, organisations and service providers various transitional arrangements – which will apply until 30 September 2021 – to facilitate their compliance with the CARs, including the following:

  • Aviation documents (eg, licences, permits and certificates) will remain valid until they expire or are replaced.
  • Approved manuals will remain valid until 30 September 2021. However, operators must submit new manuals which align with the CARs to the CAAB for approval at least 60 days before 30 September 2021.
  • Where operators cannot comply with the CARs, the CAAB may provide an exemption at its discretion and on receipt of a written request.
  • Proficiency checks and training performed under the CAGRs 2017 will remain valid until their expiration.

The CAAB has assured industry stakeholders that they will be consulted on and able to assist with the transition phase.

Other progress

Aircraft registry
This project is ongoing. The timing of its launch will depend on the successful implementation of the aforementioned acts and the upcoming ICAO audit results.

Air navigation services
Negotiations between the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, the CAAB and the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the collection of overflight fees are ongoing.

Comment

The implementation of revised travel protocols has enabled The Bahamas to open its borders. The government is optimistic that the trend of increased arrivals to the country will continue, despite the aviation industry's ongoing challenges.

The new legislation and the CAAB's ongoing projects and negotiations evidence its commitment to guiding and assisting the industry. These developments will place the country on a strong footing as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

For further information on this topic please contact Llewellyn V Boyer-Cartwright at HarleyJames by telephone (+1 242 327 7275) or email ([email protected]). The HarleyJames website can be accessed at www.harleyjames.law.