Home / Business / New airport fees brings more negative publicity
After the implementation of new Customs Landing Fees on July 1, 2013 there were a flurry of complaints from airline companies and private pilots, and while the clamour has waned the negative publicity continues to come, and in some cases against the wrong people.

New airport fees brings more negative publicity

The Marsh Harbour Airport is experiencing one of the toughest off-seasons in recent memory. Many businesses and airlines place partial blame on increased airline taxes.
The Marsh Harbour Airport is experiencing one of the toughest off-seasons in recent memory. Many businesses and airlines place partial blame on increased airline taxes.

After the implementation of new Customs Landing Fees on July 1, 2013 there were a flurry of complaints from airline companies and private pilots, and while the clamour has waned the negative publicity continues to come, and in some cases against the wrong people.

Such is the case at Cherokee Aviation’s FBO (Fixed Base of Operations), a private terminal located at the Marsh Harbour International Airport. According to the FBO’s manager, Claude Sawyer, there have been customers posting severe criticisms of his operation due to the new fees.

“We have had one customer accuse us of outright theft and he still doesn’t accept the explanation of the fees,” Mr. Sawyer said.

The issue comes from the new Customs Management Regulations, 2013 Section 10, Item 2 which states:

The Customs authority may permit the master of a private aircraft not carrying cargo, and operated for pleasure and recreation only by a pilot who is not flying for reward or remuneration or for business purposes, to make the inward report on Form No. C7A.

Mr. Sawyer explained this means that an aircraft owner may fly himself and his family and land at a Bahamian Airport and only be charged a $50 Customs fee; “The fee is determined and charged by Customs, not Cherokee Aviation or any FBO.”

If the pilot; however, is paid any fee whatsoever, even if a friend hitching a ride gives him gas money, the pilot is required to fill out the regular C7 form and will pay $75 in and $75 dollars out – $100 more than a private pilot. Also, in the case of one complaint Mr. Sawyer pointed out, the pilot in July came in and filled out a form with his personal name on the entry; however, on a subsequent trip in August the form was filed under a corporate name.

“When Customs sees a business or corporate name on the form they are going to assume it’s a business trip and charge the higher fees,” he said. “We encourage anyone who has a complaint to speak with us and we’ll do our best to sort it out, but the customs fees are beyond our control.”

Mr. Sawyer is hopeful that private and corporate planes and public airlines will continue to come, despite the new Customs tariffs, but he is also hopeful that the government will revisit their position on these fees.

What Do You Think?

comments

About Timothy Roberts

Timothy Roberts

Timothy had his first venture into Journalism just months after graduating from Queen’s College in Nassau taking his first job with The Tribune in 1991 leaving in 1992 for other pursuits.

During his time in Nassau he diversified his experiences working as a warehouse manager, locksmith and computer technician before returning to Abaco, a place he has always considered home, in 1999.

He joined the staff of The Abaconian in 2001 doing graphic design and writing an opinion article called Generally Speaking and after a brief time away, returned to The Abaconian in 2010 as a reporter, graphic designer and computer technician.

Check Also

Schooner Bay Ventures Cuts Driftwood Farms Water

Since September 2012 a hydroponics farm based in Schooner Bay has provided local produce to …

One comment

  1. How shortsighted of the authorities to once again kill the goose that lays the golden egg. When a country such as the Bahamas thrives primarily on tourism as its essential source of revenue, one would think that the carriers that bring the tourists there, with their spending dollars, would be greeted with open arms and not raised tariffs. Taxation and Tariffs are typically used to disincentivize certain activities, almost like a fine. If you want to halt a behavior, add a tax or tariff. No passengers coming off those planes means no revenues for the restaurants, hotels, bars, and entertainment establishments that make the Bahamas the unique destination that it is. As an owner of a Marina on Green Turtle Cay, I certainly have seen a drop off in the interest for people keeping their boats here. The expense for coming to utilize the boat has just grown too great. Using the higher-priced marinas in Florida looks more appealing now. We’re fortunate to have the most beautiful aquatic environment in the northern hemisphere, and to be shortsighted and limit access seems truly foolish.

Leave a Reply