The FAA Revokes Bimini Island Air Operating Certificate


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The FAA Revokes Bimini Island Air Operating Certificate

By Mike Mitchell

July 12, 2011 - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revoked the operating certificate of Bimini Island Air (BIA) of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, an on-demand operator. The FAA issued the emergency order of revocation on June 27 and it took effect immediately. 

The FAA alleged BIA advertised and operated 15 scheduled flights between Fort Lauderdale and the Bahamas in March and April, 2011, using a 30-seat Saab 340-A twin-turboprop aircraft. BIA is not authorized to use a 30-seat aircraft for scheduled flights. 

The FAA also alleged BIA offered and advertised scheduled flights on the 30-seat plane, including the departure location and time and arrival location.

The FAA said BIA operated as a scheduled airline rather than as an on-demand service when it provided those flights. Scheduled airlines are governed by rules different than those for charter operators or on-demand services.

Bimini Island Air petitioned for review of the emergency nature of the order of revocation, June 30, which also serves as an appeal of the merits of the order.  Both the petition and the appeal will be heard by the National Transportation Safety Board.  BIA surrendered its operating certificate to the FAA July 1. 

The Saab 340 which is no longer in production is a Swedish two-engine turboprop aircraft designed and initially produced by a partnership between Saab and Fairchild Aircraft. Under the initial plan Saab built the all aluminum fuselage and vertical stabilizer, and also performed final assembly in Link?ping, Sweden, while Fairchild was responsible for the wings, empennage, and wing-mounted nacelles for the two turboprop engines.  

After Fairchild ceased this work, production of these parts was shifted to Sweden. The aircraft first flew on 25 January, 1983, but due to declining sales, production of the Saab 340 ended in 1998. As of June 2009, Saab Aircraft AB reports there were 413 Saab 340s in service with 61 operators in 30 countries having accumulated 13,499,000 flight hours on over 15 million flights. 

SAAB is considering extending the airframe lifespan, which initially was 60.000 hours and 90.000 cycles, up to 75,000 hours. The highest time aircraft in the fleet (-028) has reached over 57,000 hours as of March 2011 and over 60,000 cycles.

Bimini Island Air is part 135 shared charter operator operating out of Ft. Lauderdale Florida. Bimini Island Air has serviced a number of Islands in the Bahamas including Bimini, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay and Freeport. Bimini Island Air focus cities are Bimini and Marsh Harbour.

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