Flight to the Bahamas

The Bahamas, officially known as the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is an English-speaking country located in the north-east of the Caribbean Sea. This diverse archipelago consists of 29 islands, 661 cays and 2,387 islets. Here we will examine some of the key points to consider when arranging your flight to the Bahamas.

Tourism in the Bahamas

The economy of the Bahamas relies heavily on tourism. The tourist industry accounts for over 60% of the Bahamian GDP, and provides jobs for more than half the country’s workforce. With an abundance of secluded resorts and pristine sandy beaches, it is a popular destination for holidaymakers and attracted over 6 million visitors in 2016.

How Do I Get to the Bahamas?

There are over 60 airports available throughout the Bahamas (please click here to view a full list). However many of these are smaller airfields, which may be lacking in facilities and ground handling equipment. Note also that when operating into and out of the region, your journey must include a designated Airport of Entry (AoE) on arrival and departure. When arranging your flight to the Bahamas, be sure to check in advance which airport is best suited to your requirements.

The key AoEs in the Bahamas are as follows: 

Island Airport IACO Code
Abaco Marsh Harbor MYAM
Abaco Sandy Point MYAS
Abaco Treasure Cay Intel MYAT
Andros Andros Town MYAF
Andros Congo Town MYAK
Andros San Andros MYAN
Berry Islands Chub Cay MYBC
Bimini South Bimini MYBS
Cat New Bight MYCB
Eleuthera Governors Harbor Intel MYEM
Eleuthera North Eleuthera MYEH
Eleuthera Rock Sound MYER
Exuma Exuma Intel MYEF
Grand Bahama Grand Bahama Intel MYGF
Great Inagua Matthew Town MYIG
Long Island Stella Maris MYLS
New Providence Nassau Intel MYNN
San Salvador San Salvador MYSM

Note that the only official airports that have lights for night flying are Nassau and Freeport. A few “Out Island” airports have lighting installed, however this is usually intended for use in emergencies only. Contact us for the most up-to-date information on the facilities at any particular airport.

Arranging Your Flight to the Bahamas

Nassau in the Bahamas: The country is renowned for its pristine sandy beaches.

What Documents Are Needed for a Flight to the Bahamas?

As with any destination, planning a flight to the Bahamas requires an understanding of the local rules and regulations.

First and foremost, ensure all passengers and crew have valid passports. The pilot of your aircraft must provide their English-proficient endorsed pilot’s certificate, as well as a medical certificate and Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit (RP). A letter of authorization is also required if the aircraft is not registered under the pilot’s name.

Always file an International Flight Plan for your trip. If you are flying from the US, it is mandatory to file passenger and crew manifests via the Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) online reporting system. General Declaration (GenDec) and immigration cards should be prepared in advance of your landing. Be aware that any children traveling with only one parent require a notarized statement of approval from the absent parent confirming the dates of the trip.

What Are the Aircraft Requirements?

Aircraft travelling to this region must provide the following:

  • Standard airworthiness certificate
  • Permanent registration certificate (no temporary certificates are accepted)
  • Radio station license
  • Operating limitations information
  • Weight and Balance information
  • ID data plate
  • 12-inch registration marks
  • Transponder (with minimum Mode C)
  • ELT communications on the aeronautical emergency frequency 121.5 MHz and/or 406 MHz
  • Aircraft with fuel tanks installed in the baggage or passenger compartments must have Form 337 on board
  • A life vest/flotation device must be carried for each person aboard

What If I Am Returning to or Through the US?

Remember that your flight needs to depart the country from a designated AoE. File one GenDec, and turn in a copy of the immigration card. You should also pay your departure tax (all persons six years and older leaving the Bahamas must pay a government departure tax of $29.00), file the mandatory eAPIS and advise US Customs at least one hour prior to arrival.

Don’t forget to file an international flight plan (242-377-7116 or 1-800-WX-BRIEF), or alternatively you can fly and then file with Nassau (124.2, 128.0) or Freeport (122.3). When you land at a US Airport of Entry, take all of your baggage and proceed directly to Customs. Immediately prepare your US arrival report (pilot only) and customs declaration cards.

Your route may necessitate entering Cuban airspace. To find out more about the regulations governing Cuban Overflight permits, please click here.

Are There Any Peak Season Considerations to Bear in Mind?

The peak season for travel to this region is generally from November through to April. During this period of heavier general aviation activity, you will see many foreign registered aircraft on the ramps of the island airports. These tend to vary in size, from single engine recreational aircraft all the way up to large cabin corporate jets.

The more popular airports become quite congested, so obtaining space on the ramp may present more of a challenge. This is especially true over holiday periods, such as Christmas/New Year or the spring break for schools. It is not uncommon for some operators of corporate aircraft to drop off passengers at their destination, and then fly the aircraft to the nearest place with free parking space available. In extreme cases this could be somewhere on the US Gulf Coast, or even Miami. It is essential to plan and book ahead, with one month in advance recommended for flights during peak periods.

Any Other Important Points to Remember?

In terms of trip planning, remember to check on fuel availability at your destination airport. Shortages are not unknown in this region – your airport of arrival will be on an island, where everything must be shipped in. It is strongly advised to book your fuel uplift before you fly. This way, the FBO will be fully prepared and can let you know in case of any foreseeable issues. Thanks to our extensive global network, Jetex can arrange fuel at practically any location. Our team will liaise with local ground staff to ensure everything is arranged for you ahead of arrival, saving you time and giving greater peace of mind. Click here to find out more about our fuel services.

Another important factor to consider is that the majority of the island airports are subject to curfews. These are vacation hotspots, and tourists would not appreciate noisy jets cruising overhead, disturbing the peace and quiet on the beach. Always check to confirm the operating hours at your airport of arrival before setting off on your journey.

By following these tips, you can be assured of a smooth and pleasant journey to one of the world’s most sought-after vacation destinations.

Arrange Your Flight to the Bahamas with Jetex

Planning a trip to the Bahamas? Arrange your flight with Jetex!

We deliver world-class trip planning services, including permit arrangements, ground handling, fuel uplifts and bespoke concierge services. Our dedicated operations team is on standby 24/7 to look after all the technical details of your journey, allowing you to relax and enjoy your trip.

To find out more about our services, please contact our team on +1 305 306 4000 or itp@jetex.com.