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Sales & Promotions : SkyBahamas Last Updated: Feb 6, 2017 - 2:32:04 PM

Private airline now has U.S. pre-clearance service
By Ava Turnquest, The Tribune
Mar 21, 2011 - 9:07:29 PM

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The Tribune - Fort Lauderdale, FL - In an historic milestone for the company, and the aviation industry, Sky Bahamas Limited now boasts pre-clearance service to the US.

Bahamians travelling on the private airline will not be required to have a visa, provided they have a valid passport and police record.

Randy Butler, CEO of Sky Bahamas said: "We understand that times of depression is the best time to be innovative and creative. There is definitely a market, people love coming to the Bahamas, people love the Bahamas.

"We know the only way to grow or get any place you want to go is to expand."

Tourism and media representatives flew to Fort Lauderdale on Sky Bahamas' inaugural flight into SheltAir Aviation Services on Friday.


The private airport, praised for its concierge services and intimate atmosphere, will host Sky Bahamas' charter services to and from New Providence, Grand Bahama, and Abaco.

Mr Butler said: "We are a scheduled airline, we have all of the authorities that the other big airlines have, we went through all the exact certifications all the other airlines had to go through. In some folks' mind, unless you go through the pre-clearance to the US, you're not a real airline. We understand because we've been flying (to US) for the last couple of years."

He added: "As a private Bahamian airline, taking the mantle to go ahead and develop our islands, we have had some challenges in doing that from the various agencies, some that have really helped us. We had to step out with a lot to go ahead and do this."

Speaking on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, Tyrone Sawyer, sports tourism director, commended Sky Bahamas for its dedication to servicing the family islands and customer service.

Mr Sawyer said: "We've watched over the past three years, we've seen you go into Abaco, I got some of the Mortimer's mints on the plane. It's those soft touches, those little touches. We'd like to see your company grow and prosper." Citing the airline's expansion into Cat Island and Exuma, Mr Sawyer also highlighted the company's impact on spreading tourism throughout the Bahamas.

Mr Sawyer added: "I find particularly heartening, as a Bahamian, is to see the level of quality the level of service that you have brought to your endeavours it does a whole lot to raise the standards that we're seeking to achieve for our country."

Pre-clearance services in Nassau will be chartered through Cash 'N Go, while scheduled services in Freeport and Marsh Harbour will commence April 1.

Referring to statements made by the government to improving accessibility to the Bahamas, Mr Butler said: "We believe that if you really want to grow the tourism product, to grow the development of the Bahamas, we're gonna have to build a bridge, a connection to the Bahamas.


"I believe Sky Bahamas, as a wholly owned Bahamian company, has that responsibility to help build and develop our country. We've launched as a business exercise of course and from all the numbers we've seen, we believe this is the right time and this is the season to launch this service."

He added: "Nassau, Paradise Island is two per cent of the tourism product or land mass of the Bahamas. We have 98 per cent of the Bahamas to go. So we like that, and we're encouraged that we're gonna go and find our niche in the other islands."

At the Lynden Pindling International Airport on Friday, persons cheered their support as the SkyBahamas logo and flight information was displayed at the international terminal for the first time.

Mr Butler said: "When the SkyBahamas sign went up, Bahamians came and hugged us and gave thumbs up. It was a proud moment for us."

After hearing the news report on the launch on the radio, Valentino Copa, head boy at North Andros school, wrote: "I salute (Sky Bahamas on such a great achievement. The sky for you is now, no longer the limit, you have soared to outer space and I am a proud Bahamian today."

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