Airline chief: Bahamasair taking spend from nation


Tribune Business Reporter

BAHAMASAIR should not be used as a tool to undermine Bahamian businesses, a local airline executive warned yesterday, arguing that it should be playing a greater role in national development.

Sky Bahamas chief executive, Captain Randy Butler, echoed concerns voiced by the Bahamas Federation of Retailers (BFR), while adding that the national flag carrier was undermining other domestic carriers. The BFR, in a recent statement, calling for the Government to make local apparel, shoes and fashion retailers price competitive through duty elimination, arguing that Bahamasair was undermining local retailers through its 'shop in Florida' specials with discounted rates on the number of bags Bahamians can bring back.

Mr Butler agreed, telling Tribune Business that Bahamasair has a greater role to play in national development and should be looking to bring more visitors/spend to the Bahamas rather than aiding shopping excursions and steering money out of the country.

"Bahamasair should be the tool to build up our tourism industry, but instead they have chosen to go and kill the industry that other private airlines have built over the years by competing with us. We are obviously at a disadvantage there because we don't get the kinds of subsidies that Bahamasair does. Profit is not a major concern for them," said Mr Butler.

"A lot of people have the belief that private domestic airlines got into business to compete with Bahamasair, but that is far from the case. When the Free National Movement (FNM) won in 1992 they appealed to businessmen to get into the sector. Bahamasair is now a tool which the people's tax dollars is being spent to support to take you out of business. I've spoken about this, the retailers are speaking out, and you will hear others saying the same thing. It makes no sense. There must be a strategic plan for Bahamasair."


Economist says...

Bahamasair is a giant hole into which we, the taxpayer, pour millions of dollars every year.

Bahamasair is a non-essential business.

In 44 years it has NEVER MADE MONEY. Who keeps a non-essential business that has never made money running?

Bahamasair MUST be SHUT DOWN.

Posted 13 February 2018, 4:39 p.m. Suggest removal

ohdrap4 says...

> Bahamasair is a non-essential
> business. In 44 years it has NEVER
> MADE MONEY. Who keeps a non-essential
> business that has never made money
> running?

But Bahamasair has never lost a passenger.
They left Andros, and you saw what happened last week.
There will be many deaths from these private airlines not maintaining their planes.

As for me, I will travel by mailboat even if it takes 24 hrs.

Posted 15 February 2018, 7:49 a.m. Suggest removal

sheeprunner12 says...

Bahamasair should have ONE mission ........ bring tourists to The Bahamas ....... There will be out-bound passengers regardless of gimmicks to Florida ....... and I agree, spending $2 Billion of our hard-earned FX on Florida personal consumption is DUMB.

Posted 13 February 2018, 8:37 p.m. Suggest removal

JohnDoe says...

This issue is a veritable catch 22 and the root cause issue has nothing to do with Bahamasair and everything to do with our over reliance on imports in our economy. Why criticize Bahamasair for encouraging consumers to buy directly from Florida as opposed to a merchant buying it from Florida and the consumers buying it from the merchant. The fact of the matter is that Bahamasair and the local merchants are feeling the same pinch with respect to loss of demand due to the emergence of disintermediation actors, technology and supply channels. The economic policy response must be more thoughtful and broader than the silly talk we have heard from some of our Cabinet Ministers and business persons. It appears as if Mr. Butler is saying that Bahamasair should only transport tourists and let the other private airlines take Bahamians shopping.

Posted 15 February 2018, 5:58 a.m. Suggest removal

ohdrap4 says...

> emergence of disintermediation actors,
> technology and supply channels

People do not understand that-- sort of like Bitcoin.
You see this at play even at amazon, where international couriers now compete with amazon warehouse fees and many sellers opt to fulfill directly to the customers.

I wish one day someone with the money or logistics knowledge would start a warehouse service to fill up the courier planes that go back to Florida empty.

Posted 15 February 2018, 7:57 a.m. Suggest removal

hrysippus says...

And what would you put in these empty returning cargo planes? And why not include the hundreds of cargo ships that return empty to Florida? The truth is that we have very little to export when compared to what we must import to feed ourselves. Island Seafoods and Beaver Street Properties came closest to working a viable import.export deal. And the less I comment on that deal the better.

Posted 15 February 2018, 8:07 a.m. Suggest removal

JohnDoe says...

Increasing exports should be a strategic objective, however, immediately we must explore measures and incentivize domestic economic actors to engage in activity that reduces our dependence on imports and drive job creation. Our continued focus on FDI will increasingly require disproportionate and increasing incentives to attract smaller and less impactful investments. Additionally, our FDI model has not and will not lead to sustained economic development not only because of the giant leakage problem it creates for our economy but more importantly because it provides little to no economic linkages to other sectors in our economy and thus have little to no multiplier effect.

Posted 15 February 2018, 9:56 a.m. Suggest removal

ohdrap4 says...

re: incentives for local production

in the past, the measures for those have always failed because of duties and fees structures.

for example, boutique bahamian jams and jellies are nearly always double the price of the imported ones because there are no duty exemptions for packaging so the effect of duty free/local fruit and duty free sugar is nullified. Now table sugar will be likely taxed and you can say goodbye to locally made jams.

i think the local companies who try to make washing dtergent and bleach experience the same effect.

I still cry over the loss of albury's tomato paste and sauce. no one favored them in anyway and another local producer disappeared taking away jobs.

Posted 15 February 2018, 10:22 a.m. Suggest removal

ohdrap4 says...

re: warehousing

non-perishable things that come to be warehoused in the bahamas from other countries to be sold at amazon.

south american, middle eastern and african products are very highly priced at amazon because of shipping costs

I purchased some products from thailand where their
"fulfilled by amazon" tags were 55% of the price of the 'ships and sold from xxx". the seller himself said that if i had whole sale orders he would arrange to send it through amazon to make it cheaper.

Posted 15 February 2018, 10:13 a.m. Suggest removal

tetelestai says...

John Doe, very well said, and the balance in your retort is admirable. I will shut up now and let your already fine prose continue to seep in the minds of others who will read it.

Posted 15 February 2018, 1:23 p.m. Suggest removal

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