Bahamas National Air Transport System - History

Bahamas National Air Transport System - History

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number of registered air carriers: 4
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 16
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 587,516
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 172,730 mt-km (2015)
Civil aircraft registration country code prefix:
C6 (2016)
61 (2013)
country comparison to the world: 80
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 24
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 13
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2017)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 17 (2013)
1 (2013)
total: 2,700 km
paved: 1,620 km
unpaved: 1,080 km (2011)
country comparison to the world: 170
Merchant marine:
total: 1,440
by type: bulk carrier 335, container ship 53, general cargo 98, oil tanker 284, other 670 (2017)
country comparison to the world: 19
Ports and terminals:
major seaport(s): Freeport, Nassau, South Riding Point
container port(s) (TEUs): Freeport (1,116,272)(2011)
cruise port(s): Nassau

Bahamas National Air Transport System - History

1. Decision-Making Structure: Not applicable.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Not applicable.

3. Major Groups: Not applicable.

4. Finance: Not applicable.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Not applicable.

The Bahamas recognizes that agricultural expansion must be made compatible with the maintenance of biodiversity. This will require the creation of buffer zones and limitations on the use of pesticides. Lease agreements encourage environmentally friendly patterns of land use by offering incentives to leave shelter belts and not to cultivate areas of unusual biodiversity. Particularly important is (a) the protection of wetlands, where adjacent to agriculture areas, and (b) the protection of freshwater resources from contamination by fertilizer nutrients, pesticides and animal wastes. Since much of the projected agricultural expansion will depend on good quality water for irrigation, it is a matter of self-interest for the agricultural sector to protect water resources. Already, agricultural land, and land for forestry and conservation, are being set aside.

The Bahamas is located in the hurricane belt and is vulnerable to their devastating effects. In 1992 Hurricane Andrew caused severe salt intrusion on one of the major farming areas. More recently, heavy rains following Hurricane Lili in 1996 led to flooding of land with consequent leaching of fertilizer and delay in replanting. In addition, tornadoes, waterspouts, droughts, fire, flooding and other disasters, periodically plague the agricultural sector. Contingency plans with infrastructural support are being developed. Given the permeability of the soils, and indeed of the parent rock, agro-chemicals are readily leached into the freshwater lenses, which supply water needed for agricultural, industrial and domestic uses. No scientists, engineers and technicians are directly engaged in research and experimental development efforts.

It is estimated that on an annual basis five to ten persons assist indirectly in activities sponsored and funded by academic non-national efforts in various endeavours covering the marine and terrestrial environment. Recent developments elsewhere in bio-technology, including tissue culture and rapid propagation techniques, will be adopted here in order to preserve endangered species and develop sustainable agricultural programmes. Agricultural research will be strengthened to improve service to the agricultural community. Better transportation and communications among the dispersed islands will be needed for the full development of the Family Islands in order to facilitate access to markets. The thin soil and limestone substrate increases land preparation costs and will be addressed by research and the development of appropriate technologies.

Additional requirements include institutional strengthening through improved training, data management and research capability review and introduction of comprehensive natural resource legislation and management programmes, especially in forestry and wildlife monitoring of compliance with provisions in agricultural leases introduction of comprehensive pesticide legislation, with a certification programme for pesticide applicators strengthening and modernization of marketing, communications and transportation infrastructure and introduction of a comprehensive programme for the control of exotic plants and animals. Immediate requirements include the upgrading of facilities and training in all areas the collection of data on feral dogs, cats, pigs and their effect on habitat and biodiversity depletion training in pesticide monitoring and evaluation and a review and strengthening of legislation to improve plant and animal quarantine so as to exclude, as far as possible, exotic pests and diseases, and to protect endangered and threatened species.

1. Decision-Making Structure: Given the competing demands for limited land resources including urban use, agriculture, forestry, tourism and conservation, a national land use policy is being formulated. Legislation regulating the import and use of pesticides is being developed. Forestry legislation has been drafted under which extensive areas, including mangrove forests, would be declared "conservation forests".

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Given the fragility of the Bahamian ecosystem, the most challenging problem facing sustainable development is a comprehensive programme of human resource training. Aging farmers and low entry level participation threaten the long-term viability of the sector especially in the absence of outreach programmes to adopt new technologies and to attract new and younger entrants to the sector.

3. Major Groups: No information.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Bahamas has recently become affiliated with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA). A tentative collaborative work programme is still being developed, but may include an analysis of the agricultural sector, a youth programme and assistance with the establishment of farmer's organisations. A project proposal has been submitted to FAO for an analysis of agricultural policy and legislation.

The Convention on Biological Diversity has been signed in 1992 and ratified in 1993. Latest report was submitted in 1996.

Considerable progress is being made in the development of a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, which will be completed in 1997. A Biodiversity Data Management Project is at present actively engaged in identifying data on all components of biodiversity. The Bahamas Government has made the submission of EIAs a mandatory requirement for all projects which are likely to have significant adverse effects on biological diversity. In addition to reports submitted to CSD and UNEP, The Bahamas Government will submit to CBC/COP in early 1998 its first national country report covering measures taken relative to the implementation of the Convention.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was ratified in 1979, the latest report was submitted in 1996.

The Bahamas is taking appropriate measures to enforce regulatory provisions and prohibit trade in specimens in violation of those regulations. With reference to the requirement to prepare periodic reports on its implementation of the Convention and to prepare an annual report listing export permits issued and species involved, the latest report submitted by The Bahamas was in 1996 (in respect of 1995). In 1995, a total of 73 import permits were issued, 58 of these for birds (principally parrots, macaws and cockatoos) and 15 for orchids. Also, 47 export permits were issued. Of these, 12 were for research samples (feathers or blood samples from turtles or iguanas) and 17 for exports of conch meat or products and shells.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: Over the past five years, there has been increasing recognition of the significance of biodiversity to The Bahamas. This was originally viewed as the creation of national parks for conservation of wild species of plants and animals. However, many sectors of the country, both public and private, have come to realise its importance in the tourism, agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors. Biodiversity has also been recognized as a principal source of food, especially on the Family Islands, in the form of substance harvesting.

The Government is taking steps to coordinate monitoring and widen public awareness of the economic values and importance of managing biodiversity sustainably so as to ensure continued use. Poaching remains a problem. Not only is the poaching of fish a continuing concern, but also the poaching of snakes and iguanas for the pet trade. Orchids are also being depleted by collectors. The Government is active in taking steps to coordinate monitoring and regulate activities which impact on biodiversity. It is seeking to widen public awareness of the value and importance of biodiversity. It is also exploring possibilities through which The Bahamas may derive further economic benefits through the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Towards this end the Government of The Bahamas established The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) in 1995. The Commission, which is headed by the Ambassador for the Environment, comprises representation from public and private sector institutions responsible for areas relative to the environment, science and technology. Aspects of the Commission's work are undertaken by a number of committees, including on International Convention Obligations, Biodiversity Data Management, National Land Use, National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, Climate Change, Environmental Safety, Science etc. The Commission is the focal point for all international environmental conventions and agreements.

The Bahamas is a participant in two UNEP projects funded by GEF, namely the Biodiversity Data Management Project and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Project. With the support of GEF/UNEP, The Bahamas completed the Biodiversity Country Study in 1995 with significant upgrading and revision in 1996.

1. Decision-Making Structure: Natural resource protection legislative initiatives and action go back for generations accelerating during and after World War II. From 1959, the Bahamas began setting aside major land and seabed areas to guarantee the survival of its most critically threatened or endangered species in conjunction with a statutorily created Bahamas National Trust and since then there have been no known extinctions. Existing legislation protecting wildlife include the Wild Animal Fisheries Act and the Bahamas National Trust Act. A list of all Bahamian legislation relating to environmental issues is provided under Chapter 39 of this Country Profile.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The Bahamas proposes to develop a biotechnology industry based on the use of its biological resources. This will include the development of science based courses, programmes and equipment at The College of The Bahamas.

3. Major Groups: NGO activities have already created a framework for conserving and/or managing the use of many forms of terrestrial and marine biodiversity.

4. Finance: The Bahamas has received several grants totaling $500,000 to establish its programme on Biodiversity.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Bahamas has been selected by UNEP as one of ten countries to serve as a model for the implementation of the Biodiversity Convention and for the development of pilot studies on biodiversity with the College of The Bahamas.

1. Decision-Making Structure: Agencies involved in decision-making in the BEST Commission, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ministry of Health.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Representatives of the BEST Commission, particularly technical officers of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, have attended various workshops related to this subject. In addition, The Bahamas has had the benefit of expertise from representatives of International Organisations visiting the Bahamas who have conducted detailed briefing sessions in Nassau.

3. Major Groups: Agriculture and fisheries administrators, farmers and fishermen.

4. Finance: No budget for this specific purpose.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: See under CAPACITY-BUILDING / TECHNOLOGY ISSUES.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea was ratified in 1983.

See also the attached tables on the next pages.

As a result of its geographic configuration, the protection of the ocean is of considerable importance to The Bahamas as the archipelago covers 100 sq. miles, 90% of which is water.

The Bahamas has planned: (1) a national policy on oceans which will be integrated into the National Sustainable Development Plan and (2) an integrated coastal area management programme. To ensure protection, a number of conventions have been signed in recent years. However, The Bahamas has found many difficult to implement and accurate compliance in some is a challenging task.

Precautionary measures have been taken with respect to marine and coastal activities. It is now official policy to require an Environmental Impact Assessment prior to any major activities and/or development projects. If developers are guilty of negative practices, permits to operate are revoked. The same applies to fishermen, and heavy fines are applicable to cruise ships and boat owners for failure to comply with the laws and regulations.

The Government has access to technologies that serve to identify the major types of pollution of the marine environment from land-based sources. There are data bases used by the Department of Fisheries and the College of the Bahamas for integrated coastal management/information purposes.

A Biodiversity Data Management data base is being developed by the BEST Commission with GEF/UNEP assistance. The Government has rated the existing data bases adequate, and they cover the following: resources, cultural and socio-economic characteristics, activities, uses, habitats, protected areas, coral reef ecosystems, wetlands including mangroves, sea grass beds and other spawning and nursery areas. They do not cover marine degradation caused by land-based activities and estuaries.

The Bahamas has adopted a voluntary Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries which sets out principles and international standards of behaviour for responsible practices with a view to ensuring the effective conservation, management and development of living aquatic resources, with due respect for the ecosystem and biodiversity.

The Department of Fisheries is working diligently to ensure sustainable economic development through integrated marine and coastal planning and resource management.

Commercial fishing within the 200 mile exclusive fishing zone is reserved for Bahamian nationals. With the ever increasing demand for certain species, a number of projects have been undertaken to optimise sustainably the yield while not endangering future harvesting of crawfish, stone crab and conch fisheries.

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Ministry of Finance and Planning is responsible for overall planning the Department of Fisheries for marine resources the Department of Lands and Surveys and the Department of Agriculture for wetlands the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has certain responsibilities for the Economic Zone the Departments of Lands and Surveys, Public Works and Port are all involved with aspects of coastal management. They are all members of the BEST Commission which is responsible for coordinating sustainable development activities.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information.

3. Major Groups: Major Groups participate fully at the national level and in the private sector. At the local level, small-scale artisanal fishermen participate on an ad hoc basis.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The dumping of sewage, garbage, etc., from cruise and cargo ships is an ongoing problem for The Bahamas. While discussions with such companies are frequent, and heavy fines are imposed if detected, policing 100,000 sq.mi. of water is virtually impossible. Recommendation has been made for The Bahamas to become party to the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas when finalized. The Bahamas is currently honouring the provision of the Code of Conduct of Responsible Fishing. It participates actively in the International Coral Reef Initiative, and other scientific activities of the Commonwealth Secretariat, OAS, UNESCO, UNEP, etc. The Bahamas has undertaken climate change activities through the UNEP/GEF Caribbean Adaption to Climate Change Project and the World Meteorological Organization. Ii is actively involved in activities under the Convention on Biological Diversity, including UNEP/GEF Biodiversity Country Study, the Biodiversity Data Management Project and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

Chapter 17 (Oceans) Continued:







Groundwater resources: The quantified freshwater resources of thirteen of the larger islands of the Commonwealth comprise 28% of their total land area. The groundwater resources of the Commonwealth are comprised of the fresh, brackish, saline and hypersaline water found in the shallow and deep subsurface, and in the lakes and ponds that occur on the surface. The freshwater resources occur as three dimensional lens-shaped bodies which float on and overlie brackish and saline water. These lenses do not occur in subterranean lakes, rivers, or ponds. Groundwater permeates the rock and all its pores, fissures and interconnected cavities. More than 90% of the freshwater lenses are within five feet of the surface. The low lying nature of the islands, and the narrow unsaturated zone between the groundwater and the surface, render the freshwater lenses highly susceptible to contamination by pollutants percolating down to the water table. Industrial pollutants, solid wastes and sewerage discharges in cesspools, septic tanks, pit latrines and disposal wells, endanger the purity of the water, and, when it is used without disinfection, poses a serious health hazard. Urban, agricultural and industrial encroachment into public wellfields poses an additional hazard. The lack of centralized wastewater treatment facilities results in approximately 90% of the residents using septic tanks. Along with the high number of private water supply wells, estimated at between 12,000 and 20,000, this makes the largest threat to water quality be that of human origin.

Sewerage: In The Bahamas there are sewer collection systems serving approximately one fifth of the capital Nassau on the other islands these are limited to a few small subdivisions and some private developments and hotels. Septic tanks are used most commonly on the major islands though these do not always conform to the Building Code and therefore may not function in the manner that they should. In the less developed areas pit latrines may be used and there are some places where direct discharge to the sea is still used as a means of disposing of wastes. The use of septic tanks is usually combined with a drain field or disposal wall. Where sewerage mains exist the wastes are normally treated to primary or secondary levels, and the effluent is then disposed of in a deep disposal well. Many different types of deep disposal wells are utilized discharging a wide variety of liquid wastes. The wells that are used to dispose of large volumes of effluent are normally cased down to about 200 metres and are open below this depth. Tourist areas usually include golf courses, and these require considerable volumes of irrigation water. In such situations the wastewater from the hotels is usually treated and reused on a nearby golf course. The waste disposal methods used in The Bahamas are presently far from satisfactory, and studies have shown that the groundwater underlying urbanized areas shows relatively high levels of pollution. There is also evidence of sea-water pollution, particularly in some enclosed harbours which are important tourist destinations or may be involved in the seafood industry.

Other chemical and mineral wastes: The disposal of organic wastes and use of fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in addition to waste or spilled petroleum products and discharges from industrial and food processing operations impact water quality and are a cause of concern. Contaminated water from these sources drains directly to the water table as storm water runoff. These concerns are heightened in the environment as a result of a lack of controls, and the adequate regulation of drilling companies and the absence of appropriate groundwater regulations. Fuel and oil spills have become a common feature of groundwater contamination complaints, and the reported spills range in volume from several hundreds of gallons to one spill that leaked over a ten year period in excess of one million US gallons.

Water supplies: Groundwater resources in the Bahamas have always been easy to exploit, and regular usage dates back to the earliest settlers. Today, water is still privately obtained by bucket from shallow hand-dug wells public supplies are obtained from mechanically cut trenches, pits and seasonal freshwater marshes.

1. Decision-Making Structure: Experience has shown that adequate legislation and regulation are required to control and protect water resources. An institutional structure that can administer and enforce the fair use of these resources is needed. In small island states all those involved in the environment and water supply sector have to work diligently to make the public aware of the issues involved, and the potential consequences of inaction, so that the public will accept whatever measures need to be taken to safeguard the future. There are many existing laws and regulations that impinge upon the use of water. There are, however, no regulations that control the use of groundwater or enable this resource to be appropriately administered. Efforts are in hand to achieve this, but more needs to be done to obtain full Government support and make such regulations acceptable to the general public.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The ability of Government agencies to conduct groundwater risk assessment projects and study the effects of agriculture requires strengthening. In addition, there is a need to develop a national capacity to develop and maintain a regulatory framework to control the water sector.

3. Major Groups: Included in the private sector are, inter alia, the Bahamas National Trust Fund and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.

4. Finance: Bilateral funding is being sought to assist in the development of a regulatory framework in The Bahamas.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Bahamas Land Resources Study (BLRS) continues to be the benchmark evaluation of the country's natural resources, including its groundwater. With the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) the Water and Sewerage Corporation has prepared a framework for the long-term sustainable development of these resources and there is an ongoing need to upgrade these data and extend them to include non-potable water resources. Because small island states find it difficult to have the necessary knowledge in the wide range disciplines that can impact on their sustained economic development, there is a need for international assistance in research and development.

The Bahamas participates in WMO's efforts in the water sector regionally and internationally. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) also assists in water quality and water resources issues.

1. Decision-Making Structure: At present, there are no mechanisms in place to address designating restricted or prohibited chemicals. The BEST Commission is responsible for all coordinating activities related to the environment while the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS), Bahamas Customs and Excise and the Ministry of Agriculture all play a role in the day-to-day monitoring and investigation of related problems.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: DEHS recognises the need for more specialised training in order to evaluate and address issues related to the environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals. To this end, emphasis is being placed on further specialised training for staff.

3. Major Groups: No information.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Bahamas has participated in the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an Internationally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was ratified in 1992.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

The Bahamas is largely dependent on groundwater for agricultural, domestic and industrial water supplies and as such there is great concern about the possibility of its contamination from improper management. Hazardous waste and its management are not specifically dealt with in the existing Bahamian Legislation, however, Hazardous Materials Regulations are being drafted. The Environmental Act of 1987 gives the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) the authority to control the use, manufacture and disposal of toxic chemicals and the responsibility for hazardous waste management.

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) is responsible for the daily monitoring of activities in this area and environmentally related issues. DEHS is represented on the BEST Commission and is a full-fledged member of the National Coordination Mechanism for Sustainable Development. National legislation to protect the environment, inclusive hazardous waste, has been drafted and is awaiting approval.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: The Department of Environmental Health Services, being aware of the widening scope of environmental health and The Bahamas' involvement in international agreements, has made a concerted effort to increase its staff of qualified inspectors. It is anticipated that an additional eight officers with professional qualifications will be added to the staff. Two officers will be returning from advanced studies abroad in May 1997. The increase in qualified staff will allow for closer monitoring of issues such as solid and hazardous waste management.

3. Major Groups: No information.

4. Finance: The estimated cost of operation and maintenance of hazardous waste facilities to be provided during the next two years is in excess of $2.5 million. It is anticipated that financial aid will be received from international organisations.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The Bahamas is (a) a signatory to the Basel Convention, (b) participating actively in meetings related to various aspects of the Basel Convention, (c) participating in negotiations for a treaty on liability and compensation for damage resulting from transboundary movements of waste, (d) serving, for the fourth year, as a chair of the Committee for the Implementation of the Basel Convention, and (e) participating in the discussions on the Regional centre for Training and Technology Transfer.

This is regardless of whether it is for disposal or recycling. Solid waste management in the Bahamas has historically been plagued with several major problems, including: (1) poor equipment which has been highlighted by bad purchasing decisions and which cause repair difficulties, keeping equipment out of service for long periods of time (2) gross under-funding (3) lack of properly trained management and technical staff (4) a poorly organized system of waste storage and lack of waste separation at source (5) an inefficient system of revenue management and collection from commercial customers (6) a poorly designed disposal site layout.

The recent change in the Government policy towards solid waste and the change in management structure has allowed for a more realistic budget for the management of the service. This has resulted in more operational equipment and better trained personnel and a better and a more broadly based management structure for the Division, with the separation of cleaning of public areas from waste collection. Consideration now has to be given to re-introducing some cleaning aspects a survey to categorize the waste has been done and a system for involving the private sector is being finalized and a detailed plan for the layout and management of the disposal site is under development.

A major pre-investment study of waste disposal has been completed by the Inter-American Development Bank. It is proposed that a nation wide waste disposal project will be established to address all areas of this problem.

1. Decision-Making Structure: No information.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information.

3. Major Groups: No information.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The following actions have been taken: 1) The Bahamas was a leader at the Second Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, on the transfer of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries 2) The Bahamas is actively participating in the negotiations for a treaty on liability and compensation for damage caused by transboundary movements of wastes 3) The Bahamas is presently Chair of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Committee of the Extended Bureau of the Convention and has been asked to chair the Implementation Committee of the Convention.

1. Decision-Making Structure: No information.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information.

3. Major Groups: No information.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information.

The role of major groups are also covered under the various chapters of Agenda 21. The following is a summary of main objectives outlined in Agenda 21. Please check the appropriate boxes and describe briefly any important steps or obstacles.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified on 6 October 1993.

24.a Increasing the proportion of women decision makers.

From 1992 to 1996, the percentage of women in government (Permanent Secretary) increased from 38% to 61%, their percentage in parliament (Members of Parliament) increased from 8% to 15% and remained at 23% in cabinet (Cabinet Ministers). At the local government level, the percentage of women decision makers was 20% in 1996.

24.b assessing, reviewing, revising and implementing curricula and other educational material with a view to promoting dissemination of gender-relevant knowledge.

Curricula and educational material are being revised.

24.c and 24.d formulating and implementing policies, guidelines, strategies and plans for achievement of equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development.

Policies/strategies etc. will be in place by 2000.

24.e establishing mechanisms by 1995 to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women

Mechanisms are being developed.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

25.a establishing processes that promote dialogue between the youth and government at all levels and mechanisms that permit youth access to information and opportunity to present their views on implementing A21.

Name relevant youth fora (3-4 most important):

Describe their role in the national process:

Youth participates on an ad hoc basis in the national process.

25.b reducing youth unemployment

25.c ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training.

The goal set in Agenda 21 has been reached.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

26.a establishing a process to empower indigenous people and their communities -- through policies and legal instruments:

26.b strengthening arrangements for active participation in national policies

26.c involving indigenous people in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):


27.a developing mechanisms that allow NGOs to play their partnership role responsibly and effectively.

27.b reviewing formal procedures and mechanisms to involve NGOs in decision making and implementation.

27.c promoting and allowing NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment and evaluation of official mechanisms to review Agenda 21 implementation.

Mechanisms exist already, NGOs are participating fully and their inputs are important.

27.d establishing a mutually productive dialogue by 1995 at the national level between NGOs and governments.

Financial constraints prevent major groups from participating in the national delegation to the CSD and major conferences. When the subject is relevant, an NGO is permitted to represent The Bahamas in place of a Government official.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

The primary NGO which actively participates in programmes for sustainable development is The Bahamas National Trust (BNT). The BNT, which was established by Act of Parliament in 1959, is a self-funded NGO. It represents a unique collaboration of governmental, private sector and scientific interests dedicated to the conservation of the natural and historic resources of The Bahamas for the enjoyment and benefit of the Bahamian people. The Trust has made major contributions to the environmental process in The Bahamas by:

Managing the National Park System of The Bahamas, as mandated by Act of Parliament. There are at present 12 National Parks and Protected Areas, and the Trust is developing recommendations for 52 additional parks sites to protect the country's biodiversity and significant historic and natural resources.

Preparing a proposal for The Bahamas National Strategy for Environment and Development.

Submitting recommendations, at the request of the Government, for the promotion of ecotourism and protection of the country's tourism product.

Conducting an initial assessment of the feasibility of establishing protected areas within the Andros Barrier Reef System.

Submitting recommendations on Bahamas fisheries regulations, including a successful campaign to halt long line fishing methods in territorial waters.

Serving on the Board of Directors of The Bahamas Environment, Science and Technology Commission (BEST) Executive Director).

Developing and monitoring the successful management of the white-crowned pigeon gamebird population.

28.a encouraging local authorities to implement and monitor programmes that aim to ensure participation of women and youth in local decision making.

The Government supports local agenda 21 initiatives.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

29.a full participation of workers in implementation and evaluation of A21.

29.b (By year 2000, (a) promoting ratification of ILO conventions (b) establishing bipartite and tripartite mechanism on safety, health and sustainable development (c) increasing number of environmental collective agreements (d) reducing occupational accidents and injuries (e) increasing workers' education and training efforts.

ILO Conventions have been ratified. Workers do not yet participate in National Agenda 21 discussions/implementation.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

30.a increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

There are governmental policies encouraging the above objective.

30.b encouraging the concept of stewardship in management and use of natural resources by entrepreneurs.

List any actions taken in this area:

30.c increasing number of enterprises that subscribe to and implement sustainable development policies.

Most big enterprises and a few small and medium sized enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

The Bahamas National Trust is a full member of the National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism. The Bahamas Council of Light Industries, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, the Bahamas Institute of Prof. Engineers and the Grand Bahamas Port Authority are all advisory and ad-hoc members of the National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism. Oil companies, labour unions and others are not members of this coordination mechanism. Major group organizations participate in environmental impact assessment projects at the national and local level. The Government sent representatives from major groups to the SIDS Global Meeting in Barbados, in November 1994.

Having studied the effect of Major Group investment in other countries, the Government decided to cede full responsibility for the management of its National Land and Marine Parks to the Bahamas National Trust. Local major groups and the Bahamas National Trust have given constructive, helpful and essential contributions to national sustainable development initiatives and activities.

31.a improving exchange of knowledge and concerns between s&t community and the general public.

Scientific community has already established ways in which to address the general public and deal with

The BEST Commission has established a Science and Technology Committee to address these issues.

31.b developing, improving and promoting international acceptance of codes of practice and guidelines related to science and technology and its role in reconciling environment and development.

Brief comments on this chapter not already described in chapter 35 (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

32.a promoting and encouraging sustainable farming practices and technologies.

32.b developing a policy framework that provides incentives and motivation among farmers for sustainable and efficient farming practices.

32.c enhancing participation of organizations of farmers in design and implementation of sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page):

Financial resources and mechanisms are also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national financial policies, domestic and external (including ODA)

GEF via UNEP US$ eq. 150,000. UNEP has advised that preliminary approval of this amount will be awarded to

the Bahamas for the development of a National Strategy on Biological Diversity.

GEF via Caricom/OAS US$ eq.500,000. This amount may be awarded to The Bahamas via the GEF project

"Caribbean: Adaption to Climate Change".

GEF via UNEP US$ eq.20,000, to be awarded to assist in conducting the Ozone Country Study.

CHANGES IN NATIONAL BUDGET TO ADDRESS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: While activities are woven into the budgets of many Departments and Ministries, it is impossible to give a specific amount. There is no separate budget for sustainable development per se.

NEW ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS: In late 1995, an Environmental Court was established where those found guilty of environmental abuse will be prosecuted and heavily fined.


Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building is also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national policies and actions relating to chapter 34.


Provide information on the adoption of environmental management systems. National reaction to environmental management system standards such as the ISO 14000 Series and others. Please note efforts made at the national level to promote their adoption and the creation of certification infrastructure in order to facilitate access to these standards to local industry.

List and describe programs or work under way to facilitate the transfer of ESTs to small and medium sized enterprises. Please note efforts to facilitate access to financial resources and other transfer strategies.

The Bahamas does not possess the human and financial resources to expand and further develop the sustainable use of its natural resources. Collaborative efforts in marine and terrestrial ecology, geology and hydrogeology help to expand The Bahamas' scientific knowledge. Research activity is largely driven from the point at which non-national academic priorities and the interest of The Bahamas coincide. The Bahamas Government provides logistical support in exchange for the sharing of the results of the academic findings of reputable international scientific endeavours.

The Bahamas presently has limited access to scientific information, but increasingly the value and importance of accessing the Internet, and the availability of information on BioNet, CARINET and other regional networks is being recognised.


Research permits are required for scientist wishing to carry out ecological and biological research in The Bahamas, and several research stations already exist (in San Salvador and North Andros for example). Increasingly, a local training component is being included in the proposals, and permit holders are sending back to The Bahamas reports and thesis etc. The stock of local information is therefore increasing.

The Bahamas will in 1997 produce a metadatabase of existing scientific information on Bahamian Biodiversity through the GEF funded Biodiversity Data Management Project. The metadatabase is expected to indicate the coverage of various scientific research efforts. It is anticipated that the project will also provide indication of where efforts are required to address deficiencies and assign scientific research efforts in the future.

Approximately five to ten scientists are engaged in research and experimental development through activities sponsored by the College of The Bahamas. This includes work conducted both within the College's confines and in the field station it maintains on San Salvador, the Island which was the first landfall of Columbus in the New World.

In addition, it is estimated that on an annual basis 10 to 30 persons assist indirectly in efforts sponsored and funded by academic efforts in various scientific endeavours covering the marine and terrestrial environment.

The UN agencies have supported educational programmes on environment and sustainable development issues by providing public awareness information on environmental issues, but more UN support is needed. Schools and universities are part of a national network addressing environment and development issues.

At the national level, there is an association of NGO's, including the Bahamas National Trust (BNT), the Bahamas Reef Environmental Education Foundation (BREEF) and Friends of the Environment Conservation Groups, that provide educational upgrading for teachers and students via resource materials, workshops, field trips and assistance with science clubs. Recently, a scholarship for teachers' upgrading in an environmental education workshop was granted. Funding for teacher and student attendance to the global youth forum (UNEP) and UN conferences is also given periodically. At the primary and secondary school levels environmental health, sanitation, ecosystems, recycling and energy saving are dealt in part, and safe drinking water and food are dealt with fully.

a) Reorientation of education towards sustainable development See above.

b) Increasing public awareness Radio and television broadcasts and in-service workshops on environmental education for school administrators, parents and teachers are used by the MOET Committee. The BEST Committee will use Internet, television, radio and the press for public awareness and intends to co-author pamphlets and other materials which relate exclusively to the Bahamian children and the need for sustainable development to protect their heritage.

c) Promoting training See under STATUS REPORT.


FINANCING AND COST EVALUATION OF THE LABOUR ACTIVITIES: Women work in many non-traditional jobs. The evening classes of educational institutions are heavily attended by young and middle aged women taking advantage of the courses offered. Legislation to affirm the rights of indigenous people to play a part in education and training in environmental and development issues being enacted. Pre-service and in-service training programmes are available for teachers, administrators, educational planners and non-formal educators in all sectors concerning the nature and methods of environmental and developing education. Environmental workshops, seminars, on-site supervision, field trips etc. are conducted and facilitated by NGO's and technical officers.

school level (%) Vocational schools College/University

First/Primary school covers ages 5 to 11+
Second/Secondary school covers ages 11+ to 17+

National capacity building is also covered under sectoral chapters.

Donors: You may wish to describe here how Agenda 21 has influenced your ODA policies in this area.

Developing countries: You may wish to describe any new national mechanisms for capacity building - and any changes in technical cooperation.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has provided considerable assistance in processing funding from the GEF for The Bahamas to meet its obligations under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the provisions of Agenda 21, through the following projects:

1. Bahamas Country Study on Biological Diversity $150,000

2. Bahamas Biodiversity Data Management Project $250,000

3. Bahamas National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan $150,000

4. Caribbean: Adapting to Global Climate Change $300,000 (est.)

5. Attendance at various international fora $50,000

Archipelagic Waters and Maritime Jurisdiction Act, 1993
Agriculture and Fisheries Act (Ch. 223), 1963
Bahamas Agriculture and Industrial Corporation Act, (Ch. 328), 1981
Bahamas Maritime Authority Act, 1995
Bahamas National Trust Act (Ch. 335)
Coast Protection Act (Ch. 190)
Continental Shelf Act (Ch. 5)
Environmental Health Services Act (Ch. 217)
Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act (Ch. 225)
Fisheries Resources (Jurisdiction and Conservation) Act Amendment No.2, 1993
Local Government Act 1996, Port Authorities Act
Private Roads and Sub-Divisions Act (Ch. 237)
Reclamation and Drainage Act
Seal Fisheries Act
Town Planning Act
Plants Protection Act, 1916
Water and Sewerage Corporation Act (Ch. 184)
Whaling Industry (Regulation) Act
Wild Bird Protection Act (Ch. 230)
Wild Animals Protection Act (Ch. 229)

The following legislation about to be introduced relates to biodiversity conservation:
Agriculture and Fisheries (Protected Areas) Rules, 1996
Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Act
Continuity of the Water and Sewerage Corporation
Forestry Act
Marine Mammal (Dolphin) Legislation
Act to Regulate the Removal of Hills and Trees
Tourism Incentives Act (Marinas, Environmental and Theme Park)


Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment in the Wider Caribbean
Protocol re Specially Protected Areas and Wild Life (SPAW)
Protocol for Combating Oil Spills
Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992
Copenhagen Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1992
London Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1990
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, 1989
Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1987
Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, 1985
Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, 1986
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982
Protocol to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1976
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 1973
Protocol Relating to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973
International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, and Amendments of 1969 and 1971
International Convention for the Establishment of an International Compensation Fund for Oil Pollution Damage, 1971
International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969
The Treaty re Principles Governing the Activities of States in Exploration and Use of Outer Space including the
Moon and other Celestial Bodies, 1967
Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America (Treaty of Tlatelco), 1967
Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Tests in the Atmosphere in Outer Space and Under Water, 1963

This chapter is also covered under sectoral and other chapters of this profile. The matrix below gives an overview of how national authorities rate the available information for decision making.

Rating of available data and information suitable for decision-making

The public sector is experiencing a process of adjustment, driven by the need to acknowledge the facility with which information can be accessed and manipulated. Emphasis is placed on structures that merge information, knowledge and action. As information technology explodes, greater specialization is needed to master these changes, while at the same time greater teamwork is required to recombine it into meaningful output. Rapid response requires leanness in the organizations. In this context, The Bahamas supports the development of a Small Island Developing States Information Network (SID/NET) to facilitate the exchange of experience among islands.

The Government does not have a programme to develop or use indicators of sustainable development at the national, regional, or international levels. The BEST Commission is involved in the work on indicators of sustainable development, but work has just begun. There has been an effort to establish an overall policy and framework for information at the national level, by integrating environment and development information. The agency which approves development proposals and The BEST Commission are both in the same office for that very reason. The Bahamas is currently conducting a Biodiversity Data Management Project to develop a data base to assist in the decision making process. The main sources of information on sustainable development are UN agencies.

Bahamas National Air Transport System - History

Valuing and empowering our people in a zero-incident, safe environment

Promoting Safety in the Aviation Industry

Integrity guides our actions

The mandate of the Aircraft Accident Investigation Authority (AAIA) is to investigate aviation occurrences to identify deficiencies in the aviation system so they can be prevented from happening again. The AAIA does not assign fault, or civil or criminal liability. Instead, it aims to understand the aspects of the aviation system that led to the decisions made on the day of the aviation occurrence.

The AAIA is the Bahamas&rsquo independent aircraft accident investigation unit reporting to the Ministry of Transport and Local Government. The AAIA was officially separated from the Bahamas Civil Aviation Department on October 3rd, 2016.

The AAIA works with aviation entities, airline operators, and the regulator to ensure safe transport for the traveling public and industry. If things go wrong the AAIA steps in to see if changes need to be made to the overall system of safety. Often things go wrong in safety because we&rsquore all human and prone to error, we know that people generally don&rsquot intend to harm themselves or others, nevertheless mistakes do happen.

The AAIA is responsible for the investigation of such aircraft accidents and serious incidents, as well as the publication of investigation reports. The AAIA is charged with

Maintaining its mandated independence and objectivity

Conducting objective, accident investigations and safety studies and

Advocating and promoting safety recommendation

The Fundamental Objective of the AAIA is to improve aviation safety by determining the circumstances and causes of air accidents and serious incidents and making safety recommendations intended to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents in the future. It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability.

The following documents form the basis of the AAIA investigative powers and authority:

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Effective July 1st, all arriving passengers [over 10 years of age] must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than five (5) days prior to arrival date, as well as complete an electronic application to obtain a Bahamas Travel Health Visa.

Further details on criteria may be found on Bahamasair's COVID Protocols page.

Electronic application for the Health Visa may be found at (Travel Health Visas take up to 48 hours to process.)

By proceeding, you acknowledge that you have reviewed and will adhere to the health protocols.

NATA Applauds Pick for Ambassador to The Bahamas

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) welcomes the announcement of the Administration’s intent to nominate William A. Douglass as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.

Douglass, a Florida resident, has direct ties to The Bahamas over more than three generations and has grown up in aviation. He is the grandson of Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan American World Airways.

“Mr. William A. Douglass is an excellent candidate for Ambassador to the Bahamas. He is a steadfast proponent of business aviation and knowledgeable of its vast benefits in promoting tourism, fulfilling critical services, and aiding in emergency response efforts,” stated NATA President and CEO Timothy Obitts. “I have known Mr. Douglass for nearly two decades as a friend. When approved by the Senate, NATA looks forward to working with Mr. Douglass to further strengthen the connections between the U.S. and the Bahamas, particularly in supporting the essential services provided by NATA’s aviation business members both in the United States and in the Bahamas. NATA worked with Mr. Douglass during the relief efforts of Hurricane Dorian, wherein many aviation businesses in the United States volunteered and provided instrumental relief, life savings missions, and support to the people of the Bahamas.”

Douglass is an entrepreneur and philanthropist, who co-founded the investment firm K2 Advisors in 1994, now part of Franklin Templeton Advisors. He was instrumental in evacuation missions following Hurricane Dorian and assisting in efforts to rebuild The Bahamas in the aftermath of the disaster. He has done philanthropic work for the people of the Bahamas for many years, including relief for schools.

The Early Years: Airmail and First Passenger Flights

Enter U.S. Government

Commercial aviation really got its start through the use of airplanes to carry mail by the U.S. Post Office. The first airmail flight was in 1918, and by 1925 over 14 million pieces of mail had been delivered via this system. Mainly businesses and bankers were using this system to avoid the long lag time in transferring funds between institutions. Once the service became popular, the government privatized it allowing companies to bid on airmail routes under the Contract Air Mail Act, or Kelly Act, of 1925.

Elko, Nevada Airmail Hangar and Plane

This legislation opened the doors for the creation of the airline industry we know today by stimulating growth and profit among the major carriers. Each company operating a feeder route for the U.S. Post Office would go on to become a major player in commercial aviation (some even still exist today):

  • Chicago – Dallas – The winning bid came from National Air Transport’s Clement Keys, who later developed National Airlines and over 40 other aviation companies.
  • Chicago – St. Louis – This contract was awarded to Robertson Aircraft Corporation, which went on to become part of American Airlines. Their head pilot was Charles Lindbergh, actually.
  • Elko, Nevada – Pasco, Washington – An airline operated by Walter Varney won this contract, and later merged with United Airlines.
  • New York – Boston – This route belonged to Juan Trippe, founder of Pan American Airways.
  • Salt Lake City – Los Angeles – Western Air Express (a 1929 plane is pictured at the top of this article) won this route. The airline later became Transcontinental and Western Air (or TWA)

Robertson Aircraft Corporation Hangar and Plane (1928)

(Fun Fact: Even Henry Ford got into the mix taking over the Chicago and Cleveland to/from Detroit routes. This venture only lasted a few years though, and Ford returned to his other pursuits.)

As the industry grew, government kicked up their involvement by passing the Air Commerce Act of 1926. This gave the Secretary of Commerce authority to create routes, develop navigation systems, license equipment and pilots and investigate any accidents that occur. The Contract Air Mail Act was changed so the government paid based on weight of mail, which led to a huge increase in revenue for the airlines.

First Forays into Passenger Flight

Differing opinions exist as to when the first passenger flight was operated in the United States. Most accounts attribute this feat to either Silas Christofferson, who shuttled passengers between San Francisco and Oakland by hydroplane, or to passenger service between Tampa and St. Petersburg in 1913-1914. Both services achieved some level of success, but the next reported commercial venture was not until years later.

Silas Christofferson’s Passenger Hydroplane in California (1929)

Inglis Uppercu, a Florida businessman, launched passenger service, Aeromarine Airways, between Key West and Havana, Cuba in 1920. Eventually, he added service to the Bahamas, New York, Cleveland and Detroit (all stopping several times along the way). This was the first passenger service that grew beyond a single route. Aeromarine Airways served over 10,000 passengers and made more than 2,000 scheduled flights until 1924, when the business abruptly closed following a plane crash that killed four passengers.

Later in the 1920’s, Harry Guggenheim funded Western Air Express in an attempt to find out whether airlines can subsist on passenger fares alone. After only a year, the experiment ended as the company could not survive without government airmail subsidies. Despite these early failures, Lindbergh’s famous solo flight to Paris in 1927 fueled a huge movement to fund the industry. In fact, investments in aviation and related companies tripled between 1927-1929.

The Comforts (or Discomforts) of Flying

“Don’t forget to bring a helmet” is something you probably do not want to hear before heading to the airport for a long flight. Air travelers in the 20s and 30s had to endure some pretty poor conditions in the depressurized and uninsulated aircraft cabins. Planes would frequently experience turbulence, prompting some passengers to wear helmets and goggles. Many passengers combated the noisy and depressurized cabins by chewing gum and stuffing cotton in their ears. Sound familiar?

Think the cabin is too cold because our neighbor cranked up the AC? Try flying with no heat or air conditioning in a depressurized cabin. All passengers were subject to the whims of mother nature, not to mention the smell gasoline from the engines. On the plus side, passengers did have leather seats for example in Ford 5AT planes, commonly used in the late 1920’s.


The Bahamas is one of the financial centers of the Caribbean, with approximately 400 banks registered in the country. Financial services produces some 15 percent of GDP and is the second-largest industry after tourism. The government seeks to attract foreign banks, and the financial sector is extremely open to foreigners. The government is under extreme pressure from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) and others to tighten regulation of the offshore financial sector.

Growing from a tiny off shore tax haven comprised of a few branches of foreign banks in the mid-sixties to world banking powerhouse. The country’s legislation and regulatory structure, comparatively highly-skilled workforce, and its stable government have attracted the some of the most prestigious financial institutions from around the globe.

Air transportation, modern infrastructure, including a telecommunications system, support most kinds of business operations.

The asset base of the Bahamas’ banking center is in excess of $200 billion, positioning it among the top ten countries in the world, behind the USA, the UK, Japan, Switzerland and others, with Capital-asset ratios average 11%.

Private banking, portfolio management, and mutual fund administration have gained in importance in recent years, reinforcing the international community’s recognition of the Bahamas as a safe repository of the financial assets of both individuals and corporations.

Over 400 banks from thirty-six different countries, including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, France, the United States, Canada, and Japan, are currently licensed to conduct business within or from the Bahamas. Many are branches or subsidiaries.

Licensees include a very active offshore banking community, with almost one hundred Euro Currency branches of international banks and trusts, as well as 168 Bahamian incorporated institutions. Over 60% of all the banks licensed within the Bahamas, offer trust services in addition to their regular banking operations

The banking community of the Bahamas is supervised by the Central Bank of the Bahamas, which attempts to maintain a regulatory environment conducive to investment opportunities, while ensuring the high standards of conduct, as developed by the Basil Committee on Banking Supervision.

The self-regulatory code of conduct of the Association of International Banks and Trust Companies (AIBT) also deters the use of financial operations for criminal activities and upholds the principles of bank secrecy.

The government remains involved in the financial sector through ownership of the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation and the Bahamas Development Bank, which primarily provides financing for commercial, industrial, and agricultural development projects.

In an effort to secure its removal from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s list of jurisdictions with a non-cooperative record on money laundering, the Bahamas passed a package of legislation to tighten controls on such activity. The new legislation imposes extra regulatory costs on the financial sector but does not constrain financial services.

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that 270 banks and trust companies were licensed as of September 2004, down from 415 in 1999. The contraction is a result of stricter regulation and supervision, intended to comply with international Financial Action Task Force and OECD standards, that has led the government to suspend licenses for a large number of banks that could not show proof of an actual physical presence.

The FATF, an intergovernmental body designed to combat money laundering and made up of 31 countries and territories, the European Commission, and the Gulf Cooperation Council, removed the Bahamas from its list of jurisdictions with a non-cooperative record on money laundering in June 2001.

NTSB Investigation into AW139 Bahamas Night Take Off Accident

On 4 July 2019 at about 0153 Local Time, Leonardo Helicopters AW139 N32CC of Challenger Management LLC, was destroyed when it impacted the Atlantic Ocean, shortly after take off on a Part 91 ‘personal flight’, near Big Grand Cay, Abaco, Bahamas. The 7 persons on board, including US coal billionaire Chris Cline, were killed. Cline took coal mining firm Foresight Energy public in 2014, and sold a controlling stake in 2015 for $1.4 billion.

Wreckage of AW139 N32CC off Big Grand Cay, Bahamas (Credit: Police/AAID via NTSB)

Salvage of Challenger Management AW139 N32CC off Big Grand Cay, Bahamas (Credit: AAID via NTSB)

Safety Investigation

The investigation was initially under the jurisdiction of the Air Accident Investigation Department (AAID) of the Bahamas. AAID requested delegation of the accident investigation to the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which the NTSB accepted on 9 July 2019.

The US NTSB has to date only issued a preliminary report but on 19 August 2020 opened their online public docket. This contains 571 pages of factual evidence (a mix of raw data and working group factual reports), with official no analysis. The NTSB’s so called ‘Probable Cause’ is yet to be determined.

We have reviewed and summarised the key public docket documents below.

History of the Flight

Dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan was filed for a flight from Walker’s Cay Airport (MYAW), Walker’s Cay, Bahamas, to Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The flight however departed from a private, unapproved helipad on Big Grand Clay in ‘black-hole‘ conditions. These conditions “typically occur over water or over dark, featureless terrain where the only visual stimuli are lights located on and/or near the airport or landing zone”.

The island had been owned by Cline since mid-2015 and currently valued at US$29 million. The Island Manager stated to NTSB that Cline had intended to develop the site into a resort “to target big Fortune 500 companies to bring their Board of Directors or employees” and had initiated a construction programme. Cline regularly visited via the AW139, his C208 floatplane or by vessel (the oddly named ‘Dirty Mines‘).

Cline, with family and friend had been on the island for a break to celebrate the US public holiday, his daughter and her friend’s college graduation and Cline’s 61st birthday (on 5 July).

Sometime very late on 3 July Cline’s daughter and a friend had fallen ill. When asked about their illness the manager replied “he was not sure of the reason, but they were groggy and unresponsive, but their heart was still beating [sic].” The NTSB’s line of questioning indicate they suspect the cause of their illness but it is not otherwise discussed.

Cline requested that the helicopter fly in from Fort Lauderdale to convey them to hospital. There appears to have been no liaison with Bahamas ATC for the flight and no liaison with any medical professional is recorded in the public docket before the flight was arranged, although a doctor is mentioned in the cockpit voice recording of the rotors running turnaround. The need for an ambulance to meet the aircraft triggered a crew discussion too about needing to arrange for customs clearance, which appears not to have been considered previously. The NTSB analysis will no doubt examine the flight in relation to local regulations too.

The aircraft arrived and was loaded rotors running c 0130-0145. After the flight departed the Island Manger went to bed but had called the US Coast Guard to request an ambulance meet the flight.

Another witnesses reported seeing and hearing an accident. One took his boat and made an unsuccessful search. It was only after 0600 when the Island Manager awoke that he realised the aircraft had not arrived. A further search was organised and the wreckage was located offshore that afternoon in about 16 ft of water about 1.2 nm NNE of the departure point.

Wreckage of AW139 N32CC off Big Grand Cay, Bahamas (Credit: Police/AAID via NTSB)

There is no mention of any flight following or emergency response procedures in place.

Airworthiness Safety Investigation

The NTSB Airworthiness Factual Report explains that the helicopter was salvaged on 6 July 2019, transported to Jacksonville, Florida and examined from 8-12 July 2019. Subsequently the PT6 engines were examined in Canada at a PWC facility in August 2019 and the Airworthiness Group convened at Honeywell in Phoenix, Arizona immediately after to examine components from the automatic flight controls system (AFCS).

While the cockpit remained attached there was significant damage, especially to the left-hand side.

Cockpit Left Side AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

Fuselage Right Side AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

The investigators note that:

The fuselage belly skin panels generally did not exhibit deformation. Antennae remained attached to the belly of the main fuselage.

Lower Fuselage AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

The [nose landing] gear was in the down and locked position.

Both sponsons had either broken off or been removed prior to shipment to the US.

The aft fuselage remained attached to the main fuselage but the tail boom was separated. The aft fuselage’s aft section exhibited deformation to the right on the upper deck and left upper longeron, but the floor structure appeared to be relatively straight.

All five main rotor blades remained attached to their respective pitch control levers, but all five were separated from the main rotor hub. For all five blades, the outboard ends of the upper and lower tension links remained attached to the pitch control lever and the inboard end of the main rotor blades. All five tension links were fractured inboard of the droop stop attachment bolts.

Main Rotor Blades AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

The swashplate assembly remained installed on the main rotor shaft centering plate.

Main Rotor Head and MGB AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

All observed [pitch link] fractures exhibited signatures consistent with overload.

All four composite tail rotor blades had fractured at 9-13 inches from the root.

Tail Rotor AW139 N32CC (Credit: NTSB)

Three of the severed blades were recovered. Photographs are consistent with blade failure on impact with the water. This counters speculation from a single witness statement in the preliminary report that suggested the aircraft was ‘spinning’ before impact.

No pre-impact aircraft defects are been identified in the Airworthiness Factaul Report.

Pre-accident photographs suggest the aircraft was not fitted with external liferafts. An emergency flotation system appears to have been fitted. It is unlikely to have functioned in the high speed (141 knot) impact that occurred (see below).

Flight Crew / Human Performance Investigation

The NTSB Human Performance Factual Report explains that Challenger Management at that time operated this AW139 and four fixed wing aircraft (an ERJ 190, EMB 550, EMB 505 and a Cessna 208), seemingly all for Chris Cline. They employed five pilots at their base in West Palm Beach, Florida. The PIC of the AW139 managed the helicopter operation and the Chief Pilot reported little interaction or oversight. The Chief Pilot informed the NTSB that:

…crew schedules…varied based on the needs of the chief executive officer (CEO) [presumably Cline]. There was no established protocol for crew scheduling, and the chief pilot told pilots they should use ‘common sense’ when scheduling their flying time. He said that it was not uncommon to be contacted by the CEO at different times of the day and night, and that pilots were on-call waiting to receive phone calls or texts by the CEO. The company did not have a safety management system (SMS), nor were they required to. Communication about risks at the company was handled by the chief pilot. He required pilots to discuss with him any issues they had with fatigue, safety, or operating the aircraft and they did. However, the chief pilot could not recall any specific situations when pilots discussed with him safety, fatigue, or operations issues with the aircraft. Regarding pilot fatigue reporting, there was no system in place to report fatigue other than contacting the chief pilot and using ‘common sense’. If a pilot was fatigued the chief pilot would tell them not to fly.

NTSB further explain that the PIC held a Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) and the SIC held an Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). The former was an employee of the company and the later a contract pilot who ran a local flying school. Between 28 August and 12 October 2017 both had received AW139 type training from Leonardo’s training academies in Whippany, New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They then completed recurrent training 12-16 November 2018. Instructor feedback during the training is recorded by NTSB and is worth examination for context, as are the instructor statements.

From November 29, 2017, to February 22, 2019, the pilot in command (PIC) and second in command (SIC) conducted 14 flights together in the AW139. They flew the AW139 to Big Grand Cay island 10 of the 14 flights. Flight data recorder data indicated that 10 of the flights were conducted during the day and the environment for the remaining 4 flights could not be determined. During the 14 flights, the PIC was the pilot flying (PF) and SIC was the pilot monitoring (PM).

An NTSB conducted trials at the Leonardo Helicopters/CAE simulator facility at Whippany, New Jersey on 20 November 2019. This consisted of 5 hours of simulator time and…

…was to demonstrate the functionality and pilot use of the relevant features of the Primus Epic Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) on the AW139 helicopter flight deck. Demonstration included 10 pilot-in-the loop scenarios that focused on the pilot’s ability to utilize various flight modes in conjunction with manipulating cyclic, collective, and pedal flight controls. Scenarios also included observation of visual/aural crew alerts related to flight path management during takeoff phase of flight. Crew alert style, size, font, and location were observed alongside listening to aural crew alert tones when they were activated during test runs. Goal of the simulator study was to gather more information on pilot interaction using the AFCS/EFIS and observed visual/aural crew alerts.

Scenarios were simulated during takeoff phase of flight, night environment, and with the helicopter flying over water. Night conditions and the pilot flying the helicopter over water provided the best representation of the accident flight environment. All scenarios were recorded by video so that the simulation could be reviewed in the future.

The simulator was equipped with Phase 7 software. It appears the aircraft was still using Phase 4, although the differences were considered.

Both pilots had been going to sleep around 2200 on previous evenings. The PIC had awoken at 0800 on the morning of 3 July and the SIC at 0600. Both habitually napped in the afternoon, the SIC for longer.

Aircraft Performance Investigation

The NTSB have published an Aircraft Performance Study. This used data from the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). The data shows the flight departing the helipad at 01:52:20, with the data ending 68 seconds later.

At 01:52:07, collective pitch was increased and at 01:52:20 the aircraft began to climb away from the helipad.

The longitudinal cyclic was advanced and at 01:52:30, at an altitude of 53 ft, the helicopter began gaining forward speed. Initially nose up, the aircraft was pitched nose down starting at 01:52:35. The helicopter climbed to an initial maximum altitude of 190 ft at a groundspeed of 55 kts, an indicated airspeed of 68 kts, and a collective position of 72%. At 01:52:44 the aircraft, now -13° nose down, began descending. Speed increased (groundspeed to 110 kts, airspeed to 116 kts) while collective remained relatively constant near 72%. During the initial climb and descent, the helicopter was on a heading of approximately 68°.

From 01:52:50 to 01:52:56, the longitudinal cyclic was reduced and advanced twice from a minimum value of 52% to a maximum of 80% (forward cyclic) before settling near 65%. The helicopter pitch went from -10° nose down at 01:52:51 to 6.8° nose up by 01:52:53. At 01:52:54, the aircraft began to climb again and by 01:52:57 the longitudinal cyclic was decreasing from 65% towards 60%. The speed dropped slightly to near 100 kts.

At 01:53:09, as the helicopter climbed, the longitudinal cyclic began to again advance forward as collective reached its minimum of 46%. Just after 01:53:11, the helicopter pitched nose down and collective began to increase at a rate of about 5% per second. The helicopter reached a maximum altitude of 212 ft at 01:53:12 while banking left 30°. At 01:53:15, when at 70%, the rate of collective increase slowed and collective remained below 76% for the duration of the flight.

The aircraft was losing altitude, gaining speed, and in a nose down attitude. At water impact (01:53:22), the helicopter was on a heading of about 330°, was -7° nose down, in a 12° left bank, and its groundspeed was 141 kts. The change in vertical acceleration at impact was about 2 g’s in two seconds.

The length of the flight was 62 seconds, and it covered approximately 1.4 NM

The CVR recorded numerous TAWS / EGPWS warnings during the short flight.

The first warning was at 01:52:48 when the enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS) twice annunciated “don’t sink” as the helicopter’s descent rate passed 1000 ft/min. These were followed by “caution terrain” and “one fifty feet” at 01:52:49.4 and 49.5. During these initial annunciations ALTA (altitude acquire mode) was selected in the autopilot and the collective FTR (force trim release) was depressed, which will be discussed in greater detail in the Auto pilot modes and power limitations section. The EGPWS announced “warning terrain” eight times until the aircraft climbed above 150 ft again (01:53:04).

Just as the helicopter’s ascent slowed and it reached its maximum altitude, “warning terrain” annunciations resumed from 01:53:11.7 to after the impact with the water. The PIC asked for the helicopter heading three times during the second descent with no response. The final annunciations of “bank angle” and “rotor low, rotor low” occurred after the aircraft entered the water.

The vestibular system of the inner ear allows a person to have a sense of balance and spatial orientation. However, like all accelerometers, the vestibular system cannot distinguish between load factors due to motion versus load factors due to gravity. Simply put, on its own, the inner ear cannot differentiate between accelerations and tilt. Additional sensory inputs, such as visual cues, are needed to correctly perceive attitude and acceleration. When a pilot misperceives attitude and acceleration it is known as the “Somatogravic Illusion” and can cause spatial disorientation.

We discuss this phenomena more below.

NTSB compared the actual pitch angle, the calculated ‘apparent pitch angle’ the flight crew would have sensed, along with the longitudinal cyclic inputs.

The helicopter began the initial climb nose up, but as the longitudinal cyclic was pushed forward, the nose lowered and the cyclic was commanding nose down by 1:52:32. However, due to the helicopter’s increasing forward speed, the pitch angle had the potential to be misinterpreted to the point that the pilot could have perceived a nose up attitude for the entirety of the flight, even while nose down and descending rapidly. Despite the descents and nose down attitudes greater than -10° while approaching terrain, the longitudinal cyclic stayed forward throughout the flight and was only briefly less than 60% throughout the EGPWS warnings and descents.

NTSB further discuss the AFCS, which…

…includes the autopilot and the flight director both of which are duplicated for redundancy. When the autopilot is engaged, the default mode is attitude hold (ATT), and the autopilot maintains the helicopter attitude without pilot input. If the autopilot is coupled to the flight director, the autopilot can change the attitude to respond to flight director commands. The Stability Augmentation System (SAS) is active whenever the autopilot is engaged the SAS damps the effects of the short-term external aircraft disturbances. A Force Trim clutch allows the flight controls to be disengaged from the ATT mode of the autopilot.

If the SAS mode is selected in the autopilot, or the Force Trim is released, either using a switch on the panel or the Force Trim Release (FTR) switches on the cyclic or collective sticks, the pilot is flying hands-on with assistance from the SAS. During this time, the attitude of the helicopter can be changed, and the new attitude will be held when the Force Trim is re-engaged or the autopilot is returned to ATT mode. Similarly, while SAS mode is selected or the Force Trim is released, any other engaged flight director mode is ignored and, when the Force Trim is re-engaged or ATT mode selected, the reference target parameters for many flight director modes are reset according to the present value (e.g. indicated airspeed, vertical speed).

While the FDR recorded autopilot and flight director modes, it did not differentiate between PIC and SIC inputs. However, the CVR indicated the PIC was the pilot flying.

The FTR switch was engaged for pitch and roll for the entirety of the flight. Therefore, all cyclic inputs for the accident flight were controlled by the pilot flying. The collective FTR was engaged from about 01:52:03 until 01:52:28 as the collective was raised from 4% to 71%, at which point the aircraft was about 40 ft off the ground and moving forward with 2 kts of groundspeed. It was engaged twice more during the first ascent and the collective was adjusted to about 72%.

Before 1:52:49, the flight director was in standby mode. At 1:52:49, as the helicopter was descending, the ALTA (altitude acquire) mode became active for the collective and the IAS (indicated airspeed) mode became active for pitch, and the collective FTR was briefly engaged. When ALTA is selected IAS mode automatically engages. IAS mode is meant to generate pitch commands to maintain the airspeed existing at the time of engagement. However, since the pitch and roll FTR were engaged for the entirety of the flight, IAS did not control the airspeed and attitude, the pilot did. For the ALTA setting, the selected altitude was 1,000 ft and the usual rate of climb for this mode is 1000 ft/min. However, since ALTA mode was engaged when the collective FTR was briefly pressed during the descent it changed the mode settings. Specifically, since the helicopter was descending when the FTR was pressed, the ALTA rate of climb logic changed from 1000 ft/min to 100 ft/min.

…while the target vertical speed was 100 ft/min, as the helicopter transitioned from descending to ascending the helicopter’s actual vertical speed increased momentarily to nearly 1000 ft/min at 1:52:53. The PIC commented about an instrument display value of “300” shortly after the helicopter’s vertical speed passed 300 ft/min. With a target VS of 100 ft/min being commanded by the flight director, the autopilot began to lower the collective in response…

Airspeed during this time was between 110 and 120 kts. The helicopter reached its peak altitude of 210 ft three seconds later at 1:53:12, when it began to descend.

The autopilot responded to the loss of altitude by increasing collective at a rate of 5%/second until 1:53:15 when the collective was at 70%. At this point, the helicopter was 194 ft above ground level and descending at a rate of 700 ft/min. However, the power index (PI) shown had reached 80% (here, PI was directily proportional to engine torque).

Since the pilot was controlling the cyclic, which was at 70% nose down, the autopilot reduced the rate of collective increase to protect the engines from overtorque. The collective continued to increase, but the aircraft’s descent was not arrested. At 1:53:22, when the helicopter impacted the water, the PI was 85%, the collective 75% (and increasing), and the longitudinal cylic was 73%.

The NTSB have also published a full CVR transcript. Twelve seconds before impact the SIC comments: “there was a fatal accident in the UK and this is exactly what happened there”. It likely it was this accident: Fatal Night-time UK AW139 Accident Highlights Business Aviation Safety Lessons

The NTSB examined FDR data for 10 previous take-offs from the island.

Most of the takeoffs began on headings between the accident heading of 80° and a heading of 180°, with twoon headings of 336° and 304° respectively.

Within one minute after take-off, all prior flights had turned onto a south-westerly heading…

Five of the prior take-offs turned clock-wise, and five counter-clock-wise. The direction of the turn and crosswind direction showed no correlation…

The accident flight stayed on the take-off heading for longer than the prior flights before beginning to turn.

The first minute the ten prior flights were compared with the accident flight.

The initial altitude and speed gain of the accident flight were not unusual. However, the accident flight had the most collective input and highest power index for much of the first 30 seconds of flight. Additionally, the attitude of the accident helicopter was about 10° more nose down than any of the prior flights during each loss of altitude.

Cyclic input for the accident flight seemed generally similar to the ten prior flights. Right tail rotor pedal was applied for all flights, to counter the yaw imparted by the main rotor, which varied from 45% to less than 20%. All flights held a slight left cyclic (between 55% and 45%). The accident flight showed significant early right pedal input and the collective input, as earlier stated, was more than prior flights. The higher collective input and right tail rotor pedal would have demanded more power and was consistent with the high power index levels seen during the accident flight.

The collective FTR was generally disengaged after the collective had been raised to its flight position. Six of the ten prior flights and the accident flight released the collective FTR in the first 20 seconds of flight. The flight director mode for the collective then transitioned to ALTA for all flights. The cyclic FTR was disengaged later, generally about 55 seconds into flight. The flight director mode for pitch transitioned to IAS, and the flight director mode for roll became heading select, which later transitioned to LNAV. The cyclic FTR was never disengaged on the accident flight.

In conclusion:

During the initial climb out, the PIC was flying with both the collective and cyclic controls, as the FTR switches on both were depressed. The collective FTR was disengaged at 01:52:28, eight seconds after take-off, when the collective reached a value of 71%. It was briefly pushed twice more and the collective adjusted to 72%. This amount of collective was greater than any of the ten prior flights, though the time of disengagement of the FTR was about average. During the first descent, ALTA and IAS modes became active in the flight director and the collective FTR briefly engaged. Because the FTR was engaged when the vertical speed was negative, the ALTA selected rate of climb was reset from 1,000 ft/min to 100 ft/min. During the helicopter’s second climb, the collective was lowered by the autopilot to slow the vertical speed from an initial 1,000 ft/min.

The longitudinal cyclic inputs were initially about average compared to earlier flights. The cyclic FTR was engaged for the entirety of the accident flight. While longitudinal input was not initially different from the prior ten flights, the combination of high collective input and increasingly forward longitudinal cyclic inputs lead to significant nose down attitudes during the flight that led to losses of altitude.

A calculation of apparent pitch showed that it was possible for the pilots to have misinterpreted the helicopter’s nose down attitude to be nose up for the entirety of the flight.

We expect the NTSB analysis will consider Crew Resource Management (CRM). UPDATE 24 August 2020: a topic discussed here: Can a fatal accident provide proof that CRM training does save lives?

Background: Spatial Disorientation

The FAA Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B) states:

…under normal flight conditions, when there is a visual reference to the horizon and ground, the sensory system in the inner ear helps to identify the pitch, roll, and yaw movements of the airplane. When visual contact with the horizon is lost, the vestibular system becomes unreliable.

Without visual references outside the airplane, there are many situations where combinations of normal motions and forces can create convincing illusions that are difficult to overcome. ….unless a pilot has many hours of training in instrument flight, flight in reduced visibility or at night when the horizon is not visible should be avoided. …night flying is very different from day flying and demands more attention of the pilot. The most noticeable difference is the limited availability of outside visual references. Therefore, flight instruments should be used to a greater degree.…

Generally, at night it is difficult to see clouds and restrictions to visibility, particularly on dark nights or under overcast. The pilot flying under VFR must exercise caution to avoid flying into clouds or a layer of fog.

Among the illusions that can occur, and potentially did in this accident, is the Somatogravic Illusion:

At night or in IMC, lacking visual clues, rapid acceleration in flight generates a strong “tilt back” sensation which the pilot interprets (incorrectly) as a pitch up, despite the fact that the aircraft may still be on the intended flight path. To correct this imagined excess climb, the pilot will push the control column forward in an attempt to return to a normal flight path. Lowering the nose can result in a rapid descent.

Aerossurance’s Andy Evans helped prepare this short educational SKYclip video for the Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) on Helicopter Somatogravic Illusions:

UPDATE 27 May 20121: NTSB Probable Cause

The pilots’ decision to takeoff over water in dark night conditions with no external visual reference, which resulted in spatial disorientation and subsequent collision with the water.

Also causal was the pilots’ failure to adequately monitor their instruments and respond to multiple EGPWS warnings to arrest the helicopter’s descent.

Contributing to the pilots’ decision was external pressure to complete the flight.

Contributing to the accident was the pilots’ lack of night flying experience from the island and their inadequate crew resource management.

Safely Resources

UPDATE 9 February 2021: The NTSB held a board meeting that determined the pilot’s decision to continue VFR flight into IMC, resulting in spatial disorientation and a loss of control, led to the fatal 26 January 2020 crash of a Sikorsky S-76B helicopter N72EX in Calabasas, California.

The pilot and eight passengers [including baseball legend Kobe Bryant] died when the helicopter, operated by Island Express Helicopters, Inc., entered a rapidly descending left turn and crashed into terrain.

Contributing to the accident was the pilot’s likely self-induced pressure and plan continuation bias, which adversely affected his decision making. The NTSB also determined Island Express Helicopters Inc.’s inadequate review and oversight of its safety management process contributed to the crash.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see these same issues influence poor decision making among otherwise experienced pilots in aviation crashes,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “Had this pilot not succumbed to the pressures he placed on himself to continue the flight into adverse weather, it is likely this accident would not have happened. A robust safety management system can help operators like Island Express provide the support their pilots need to help them resist such very real pressures.”

Aerossurance‘s Andy Evans will be running two training sessions at European Rotors in November 2021. One will be on safety leadership and the other on how to procure and assure aviation services. He discussed these in a recent European Rotors Digital Series interview:


After the Fall of France in June 1940 and the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Northern Europe after the Battle of Dunkirk, the next major land battle between the Axis powers and the United Kingdom erupted in North Africa in September with the Fascist Italian invasion of Egypt from Libya. The Italian offensive was halted and, in December 1940, the British made a counterattack. What started as a five-day raid turned into Operation Compass, resulting in massive losses for the Italian forces. The Italian's Axis partner, Nazi Germany, provided Afrika Korps, a contingent of ground and air forces, to prevent a total collapse, and Germany became the dominant partner. Ώ]

The Italian-German threat to the security of the Suez Canal was critical to the British, and great efforts were made to collect sufficient transport ships to convey forces from Britain to Egypt to support the Eighth Army and the Desert Air Force. The British realized the strategic importance of maintaining control of the Suez Canal and Malta, while Hitler saw the war in North Africa as a diversion from his main goal of conquering the Soviet Union. With both Italian submarines and German U-Boats operating in the Mediterranean Sea, the only relatively secure method of transport was sailing south from Britain around the Cape of Good Hope and then north past Madagascar into the Red Sea. Ώ]

At the August 1941 Atlantic Conference, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pressed United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt for aid to support the Commonwealth forces engaged against the German Afrika Korps and set into motion a series of events that were to provide an American-pioneered, American-supplied and American-maintained trans-Atlantic air route between the United States and Africa. The air route was then extended across Central Africa and north to the Nile Delta in Egypt, providing a relatively fast method of resupply to the Commonwealth forces. Ώ]

The job of getting Lend-Lease planes to the British was given the Air Corps, General Arnold found that neither military nor civilian crews with the necessary experience were immediately available. The few experienced Army crews could not be spared and the country had long since been combed for civilian pilots and navigators for the North Atlantic ferrying service. ΐ] Rather than ship the planes by water, the ferrying job was turned over to Pan American Airways, whose experience in the development of commercial airlines through Latin American already had been turned to advantage in the effort to extend and strengthen Southern hemisphere defenses. As early as November 1940, Pan American had been made the agent of the United States government in carrying out the so-called Airport Development Program (ADP) for the construction and improvement of airports on foreign territory throughout the Caribbean area, Central America, and Brazil, as well as in Liberia. Ferrying operations over the South Atlantic route had begun in June 1941 when Atlantic Airways, Ltd., a Pan American Airways subsidiary corporation organized especially for the job, undertook to deliver twenty transport-type aircraft to the British in western Africa. ΐ]

It was, however, just the beginning of a network of air routes that eventually encompassed two-thirds of the Earth. Α]

Information for Part 135 Operators

U.S. Customs Service, in cooperation with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the airline industry, initiated development of APIS as a voluntary program in 1988 to collect biographical information (name, date of birth, nationality, etc.) from air passengers prior to departure for the U.S. from foreign locations.

U.S. Customs, in cooperation with the governments of Australia and New Zealand, developed the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Trade (EDIFACT) message format for the initial implementation of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) in the early 1990s. This message format is referred to as United States/Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce, and Trade (US/EDIFACT) and is currently being supported by the new Customs & Border Protection (CBP) for use by air carriers.

On February 18, 2002, the CBP began issuing fines of up to $10,000 to Part 135 operators that did not electronically transmit a passenger and crew manifest to CBP in advance of arrival to the U.S. The requirement was published in the December 31, 2001 Federal Register as an “interim regulation” and became effective immediately.

On May 14, 2002, the “Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002” instituted a similar INS requirement for both inbound and outbound flights. The deadline for the electronic transmission of manifests was to be January 1, 2003. However, the final regulation, 8 CFR 231, implementing the Border Security Act was never issued.

In April 2004, new Security Directives and Emergency Amendments were released that required carriers that follow a security program like the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program to electronically provide a Master Crew List (MCL) and Crew Manifest data to the TSA. If an operator had an IATA code, that code was to be used. Otherwise, carriers had to obtain an APIS Carrier Code from CBP using a CBP “APIS Registration Form.”

On April 7, 2005, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) released the final rule, “Final Rule.” This rule codified current reporting requirements existing in TSA Security Directives and CBP regulations, and introduced additional reporting requirements required on and after June 6, 2005.

In order to satisfy Advance Passenger Information (API) legislative requirements, CBP established a migration time from US/EDIFACT to United Nations EDIFACT (UN/EDIFACT). UN/EDIFACT was adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) and modified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for use by all air carriers worldwide. A rule also established a conversion date of October 4, 2005 for the UN/EDIFACT transmission format for aircraft manifests. UN/EDIFACT requires additional crew member and passenger information, which is outlined in the final rule. Effective October 4, 2005, commercial operators must make an APIS transmission using the UN/EDIFACT format, which captures additional passenger information. The NBAA APIS Submission Service did not use this format and no longer met APIS requirements.

Tail Number vs. Flight Number

Since the APIS program was originally set up to accommodate airline passenger transmissions, the EDIFACT message format is tailored for airline flight numbers. This causes several problems for the general aviation (charter) community.

Most charter operators will use a tail number, or “N” number, for identification of flights and will enter the tail number as the flight number.

If an operator submits an outbound and inbound APIS using the same tail number as the flight number, the APIS program cannot differentiate between incoming and outgoing flights. The APIS program is actually set up to allow for operators to append their lists and add passengers without having to make a whole new submission. Since the flight number is the same tail number, the CBP system assumes an operator is trying to add passengers and will add all the passengers to the first flight submitted.

Scenario: A charter operator has two flights in the same day. One that leaves West Palm Beach for Freeport, in the Bahamas, and one that leaves Freeport for Fort Pierce in Florida. The operator logs on to the eAPIS system and enters the passenger and crewmember information for the first flight using the tail number, N123AB, as the flight number. The operator then makes the submission for the second flight from Freeport to Fort Pierce with different passenger information again using N123AB as the flight number.

Outcome: When the operator arrives at Fort Pierce for the inbound flight, a CBP inspector can’t find any passengers listed on that flight because the computer system added it to the first flight. Since the second submission went into the APIS system with the same flight number (N123AB) the computer took this to mean that the operator wanted to add the new passengers to a previous submission. CBP may fine the operator for failing to provide passenger information.

Another issue that compounds the problem is that tail numbers usually contain both numbers and letters. The letters at the end of the tail number can be interpreted incorrectly in the EDIFACT message format. Currently, the EDIFACT message format takes the APIS carrier code, the flight number, and a command letter and adds them together to make a single data set.

For example: An operator’s carrier code is 426 and the flight number is 3597. The operator inputs the carrier code and flight number into eAPIS. Using the EDIFACT message format, eAPIS will generate a passenger transmission with “4263597” as the specific data set, and a crew transmission with “4263597C” as the specific data set.

The command letter “C” added to the end of the carrier code and flight number identifies the transmission as a crew transmission. There are other commands within the EDIFACT message format. For example, “CC” added to the carrier code and flight number set means that the transmission is a crew change.

Scenario: A charter operator’s carrier code is 333. The operator inputs that carrier code and uses the tail number “N123TC” as the flight number. The passenger transmission would have an identification data set go through as “333N123TC” and the crew transmission would have the identification data set go through as “333N123TCC.”

Outcome: The CBP computer system cannot correctly process these data sets.

The computer cannot tell if the tail number is “N123T” with a command code of “C” for a crew transmission or “N123TC” with no code for a passenger transmission.

The computer may also interpret the transmission as “333N123TC” being the crew transmission, and the true crew transmission (333N123TCC) as being a request to change the crew.


Solution 1: Change the EDIFACT message format.

Since the new UN/EDIFACT was adopted by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) and modified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for use by all air carriers worldwide, changing this system is not easy. It is close to impossible.

Solution 2: Have charter operators use flight numbers for all flights.

Though not technically required by regulation, this is the easiest solution.

Pick a system that works for your operation and use it. One suggestion would be to use odd flight numbers for outbound flights, and even flight numbers for inbound flights. If more than one outbound or inbound flight will take place with the same aircraft, ensure that a different flight number is assigned to that flight.

The APIS process is reset each night at mid-night therefore, you are able to use the same flight numbers, each separate day. If you have flights that operate near the mid-night hour, it is suggested you avoid duplicating flight numbers in this hour timeframe.

Non-IATA Airport Codes

When using eAPIS, operators must use the three-character IATA code for the last foreign port of departure, prior to clearance in the United States. Operators must also use the three-character IATA code for the United States departure airport.

Not all airports have an IATA code. If departing from a United States airport with no IATA code, enter the nearest airport to your departure airport that has a code.

If departing a foreign airport for the United States that does not have an IATA code, enter “XXX” as the departure airport code.

Watch the video: The Bahamas. Country Of The Bahamas History And Facts


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