By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMASAIR’S load factors into Florida this weekend are in the high 80 and low 90 per cents, the airline’s deputy general manager, Van Diah, revealed yesterday, adding that the carrier was tapping into a good share of tourist traffic this Christmas.
Mr Diah described the airline’s level of business this Christmas as being “moderately” above last year.
He added that Bahamasair has seen a spike in sales post-government and private business pay days this week, and reported heavy load factors for the weekend before Christmas, with many Bahamians looking to shop in the US.
“The Miami route is booked at 87 per cent, Fort Lauderdale at 89 per cent and Orlando at 93 per cent on the airline’s 120-seat jets,” said Mr Diah, who added that while the loads were heavy, seats were still available for those destinations up to Christmas Eve.
“The airline is also experiencing a good share of the tourist traffic who planned their holidays in the Bahamas, which has created a win-win scenario for Bahamasair,” Mr Diah said. “While the locals prefer the early morning flights into Florida, and the late evening flights back home, giving them a full day of shopping, the incoming tourists are filling the seats on the mid-day to afternoon flights, resulting in the high 85 per cent-plus load factors internationally. The tourist forward bookings are heavy through to the first week in January, as they traditionally spend New Year’s in the Bahamas.”
Mr Diah said the airline has also seen bookings into Cuba through January.
“Bahamasair’s twice weekly jet service into Havana is booked full through early January, as many Cuban-Americans have taken advantage of the relaxed Immigration policies and plan to revel in Cuba’s New Year’s celebrations with family,” he added.
Mr Diah said traffic into several of the Family Islands was also heavy this season.
“The traffic into the Family Islands with major tourist accommodations are also attracting heavy bookings. This weekend the Exuma flights are booked at 95 per cent, with passengers originating across the pond, Canada and North America. The Abaco flights are booked solid, and North Eleuthera is booked at 84 per cent of the airline’s 50-seat prop aircraft,” said Mr Diah.