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Private aviation stopovers surpass record 2021 numbers

The Bahamas’ private aviation business has seen a boost this year over its record year of 2021, with more than 188,000 private pilots visiting this country so far, according to a Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation (MOTIA) statement.

The MOTIA expects to host a fly-in of more than 50 private pilots and flying enthusiasts this month.

“Over the past five years, private aviation delivered more than half a million passengers to Bahamian shores,” the statement said.

“In 2021 alone, there was an unprecedented spike in private aviation stopovers, more than double that of any recorded in a pre-pandemic year.

“To date, The Bahamas has already surpassed 2021 numbers with over 188,000 private pilot visitors.

“The Bahamas has 54 airports throughout the archipelago – 25 are private and 29 are government owned. Twenty of them are official ports of entry, equipped with customs and immigration officials to process private pilots’ entries and departures.”

While the MOTIA hosts annual fly-ins regularly, they were stopped over the past two years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Hurricane Dorian.

The ministry also hosted a three-day Terry Spurlock Halloween Fly-In in October.

The statement explained that The Bahamas is a top destination for private pilots in the Caribbean and the Eastern Seaboard of the US, “a designation it has held for years”.

“No other destination even comes close to capturing the record that The Bahamas enjoys as the #1 destination for private pilot arrivals,” the statement said.

The Bahamas continues to work on pre-clearance facilities for private pilots flying from Florida airports, allowing them to clear customs and immigration before flying over to their island of choice.