Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Fees = Bad News For The Bahamas

So it looks like with almost no notice, the Bahamanian Government instituted a new set of fees for General
Aviation aircraft.  As of yesterday, 1 July 2013, if you are flying your plane to the Bahamas you will be required to pay a $50 fee upon arrival when you submit your C7A form.  Unfortunately it does not seem to end there.

The C7A is only good for your Inbound Declaration & Cruising Permit.  Aircraft not flying for recreation to/around/from the Bahamas still have to file the C7 form, but that incurs a $75 fee for both the arrival AND departure.  The concern and confusion is that all recreational flights must file a C7 form upon departure and it is unclear whether the $75 fee applies as well.  Some say it's $50 and some say it's nothing.  The document itself does not seem to provide any separation or clarity on the issue.  For those that may not know, prior to yesterday there we NO landing fees of any kind at government owned airports for single engine planes less than 6000 lbs.

There is a lot of chatter in the various aviation forums today on this topic.  Apparently the FBOs and other service providers at airports throughout the Bahamas just found out about this as well and calls to the Ministry Of Tourism and Aviation are going unanswered.

It appears if you follow the new regulations and look a the fee schedules, this is what I would incur with my family of four:

Arrival Fee:             $50
Departure Tax:        $100 ($25 per person)
Departure Fee:         $75

Total:                       $225

This is getting ridiculous considering the departure tax a few years ago was $15 per person and they raised that twice in less the span of one year to $25!  I really love flying to the Bahamas, but this will not help.  I'm afraid it will reduce the amount of trips that folks make, including me, and will hinder all the relief flights that provide needed support to the Out Islands and missions in Haiti.

You can view the document here:  Customs Management Regulations 2013

I'll post more info as it comes out...........
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