Saab 340A operator SkyBahamas is preparing to launch a maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary, SkyBahamas Maintenance, to perform all maintenance in-house rather than outsourcing the work.

Maintenance directors at the Nassau-based carrier are working on Part 145 certification, carrier CEO Randy Butler tells ATI, and SkyBahamas would like to secure approval by June or July.

While the airline performs its own line maintenance, heavy maintenance is outsourced to Canadian and US firms, Butler says.

The carrier is also awaiting regulatory approval from the government of Haiti to connect Marsh Harbour with Cap Haitien, which the airline had intended to inaugurate during the fourth quarter of 2009 after submitting the necessary paperwork to operate the route in September of last year.

Butler says now the carrier is targeting a 18 January launch date for the two weekly flights.

As the airline awaits regulatory approval for Haitian service, SkyBahamas continues to examine the feasibility of scheduled operations to the Dominican Republic, and is preparing for charter flights to West Palm Beach, Florida from Marsh Harbour as early as February.

The airline holds approval from US regulators to link any point in the Bahamas with any destination in Florida. Depending on the demand for US charters, SkyBahamas may pursue regulatory approval for scheduled US service, Butler says.

During the fourth quarter of 2009, the carrier started twice weekly flights between Freeport and Providenciales on the Turks and Caicos. SkyBahamas also flies from Nassau to Exuma, Marsh Harbour, New Bight, Bimini and Freeport on a daily basis, with most routes offered three times daily.

The carrier has a fleet of four Saab 340A aircraft and one Beech 1900D.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news