Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper updated Parliament on the ongoing dispute concerning Bahamian airspace fees. In 2022, eight airlines filed complaints with the US Department of Transportation accusing that Bahamian airspace fees were unjust, discriminatory and anti-competitive.
Cooper told parliamentarians on Wednesday, “on December 15th, 2022 The Bahamas was advised that having reviewed the position of American Airlines and The Bahamas it concluded that a substantive dispute existed between the parties. Under the rules therefore the IAH notified that the 4.2 million in dispute would be held in escrow until the matter is resolved.”
The Minister further stated, “I can report that on January 11th, 2023 The Bahamas’ comprehensive response was filed calling for the dismissal of the joint complaint on several key grounds.” One of the grounds advanced was that the Department of Transportation was not the proper forum for resolving the dispute. Another rationale for dismissal given was that Bahamas overflight fees are consistent with governing agreements.
Cooper says that the Department of Transportation issued an order denying the complaint against The Bahamas indicating that it cannot conclude that The Bahamas’ fee structure is unjust, unreasonable or discriminatory. However they will pursue it’s cost based concerns under the established terms of the US-Bahamas agreements. Consultations on the matter are scheduled for April.