In a letter to the Bahamas’ acting director general in the Ministry of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, AOPA President Mark Baker requested a delay in the implementation of a customs clearance system for private pilots and passengers to enter the country. This new process for private pilots is scheduled to take effect on May 30.
The Click2Clear program is an online portal designed to facilitate the customs process for pilots and their passengers. While Click2Clear has been in existence since 2018 for air cargo operators, there has been no formal announcement or information published on the Bahamas’ government website for private operators.
“This pause will allow the necessary time to obtain feedback from impacted stakeholders to make any necessary improvements to the Click2Clear initiative, provide education and training on any new customs processes, and to implement the initiative during a lower air traffic period to avoid confusion and any major disruptions in the event of a system malfunction,” Baker wrote.
Baker added that AOPA stands ready to help the Bahamas vet the Click2Clear program for private pilots, with the goal of reducing complexity and confusion, and avoiding any risk of deterring and alienating private operators from visiting the Bahamas.
“While I appreciate the initiative by The Bahamas in supporting new and efficient methods to improve the customs process, I believe reasonable notice with adequate instruction is also warranted … as we work together to ensure an efficient and functional program for private pilots,” Baker added.
Baker also reminded the director general that AOPA is a significant supporter of travel to the Bahamas. The AOPA Pilot Guide: Bahamas Edition has been the go-to resource for private pilots flying to the Bahamas for many years, and includes information for 57 airports in the country. This guide features maps with airport data and the layout of each island, customs and immigration information, and much more.
With a rushed rollout and no notice for implementation, information on Click2Clear would not be included in the newest edition of the AOPA Pilot Guide: Bahamas Edition, causing further confusion for pilots looking to fly to that country.
AOPA will provide updates on a response from Bahamian authorities and their plans and timing for Click2Clear rollout.