|SkyBahamas enlists contractors for $1.6M hanger|
Guardian Business Editor
Published: Jun 22, 2012
SkyBahamas is now hiring local contractors for the construction of a $1.6 million hanger at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).
The project will create jobs for up to 20 Bahamians, and all of the materials have made their way from the port to the building site.
CEO of SkyBahamas Randy Butler said the company is aggressively targeting a new stream of revenue by offering third-party maintenance to local or international carriers. But most importantly, the airline executive hopes the facility will inspire and motivate young Bahamian men to pursue promising careers in the industry.
"Some of the challenges we have in this country are the so-called 'risk men'," he told Guardian Business. "Men who have skills, but because they weren't top of their class, they weren't given opportunities. I want to hire young Bahamian men and create an apprenticeship program."
Butler, who rose from difficult circumstances to become a top Bahamian executive, said creating opportunities for young men is an effective way to combat the country's persistent issues with crime.
Jobs in the aviation industry help create purpose, he said, and provide a sense of accomplishment they can see and feel.
Butler told Guardian Business that, after securing some paperwork from the Nassau Airport Development Company, the hanger should officially break ground by July 1, and be completed within six months.
The $1.6 million development has increased in cost from the original estimate of $1.4 million, mostly due to unforeseen complications with the flooring and the installation of energy-efficient air-conditioning and lighting. The CEO said SkyBahamas hopes to realize this investment in energy efficiency within a few years.
Beyond standard airline maintenance, Butler said "we're going after approvals" to perform heavy work. At the moment, domestic carriers send their planes to the U.S. or Canada for large-scale maintenance every few years, which often costs in the order of $500,000, or more.
SkyBahamas believes it can offer a more cost effective alternative in The Bahamas for its own planes and for other carriers, while also putting Bahamians to work.
SkyBahamas currently employs 122 Bahamians.
"Business on our domestic routes is still very good. On the international side, it's still very challenging. But we're taking some strides to fix that," he explained. Butler has remained a strong advocate for domestic carriers being given a more prominent role in the international market, particularly when it comes to routes coming out of Florida.
Th airline is now hiring up to 10 additional cabin attendants, and has taken on a number of part-time workers from The College of The Bahamas.
Butler is launching a new employee appreciation program whereby workers are highlighted, encouraged and given more training. A friendly workforce has been a mantra of the airline in an effort to encourage more business.