By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Initial passenger numbers on Delta Airlines’ flights into both North Eleuthera and Marsh Harbour are “quite encouraging”, the Out Island Promotions Board’s executive director said yesterday, adding that this should “bode well for all stakeholders”.
“No doubt the Delta flights to both Marsh Harbour and Eleuthera helped with holiday occupancies,” said Kerry Fountain.
“I was in Marsh Harbour for the inaugural flight on December 19, and this flight, as well as the flight to Eleuthera, were 100 per cent sold out. More importantly, though, reported advance loads are quite “encouraging” and should bode well for all stakeholders.”
Abaco and North Eleuthera resort operators recently told Tribune Business they were “booked out” due to a surge in business over the Christmas holiday weekend.
Delta Airlines recently launched services between Atlanta and Eleuthera and Marsh Harbour, Abaco. The airline offers each flight twice a week, with the Atlanta/Eleuthera flights operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the Atlanta/Marsh Harbour flights operating on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Stephen Kappeler, general manager at the Treasure Cay Beach, Marina and Golf Resort, told Tribune Business: “We have a new Delta flight, which is coming in full and helping to fill demand, and proves the demand is here if the seats can be made available and are priced favourably.
“We are experiencing unusually excellent weather, which is driving food and beverage and watersport sales. However, in North Abaco we are flat in occupancy growth over the Christmas and New Years Holidays, but enjoying a slightly higher average rate. We are hearing much of the home rental market is already selling out for February and March, likely due to an early Easter Holiday, and are looking forward to this demand.We are hopeful with the new Delta flights that they add additional fly days to their Saturday an dTuesday offering, given the proven demand.”
Glenys Hanna‑Martin, minister of transport and aviation, issued a press release on Sunday warning travellers to anticipate unavoidable delays, and to exercise patience and understanding, due to the heavy volume of traffic at the North Eleuthera and Abaco airports.
December 26 marked the second record breaking day in 2015 for visitor arrivals at the North Eleuthera airport, with 477 foreign visitors and 93 planes landing in one day.
Those statistics did not not include Bahamian residents traveling into the airport or permanent residents returning to the Bahamas, nor foreign visitors arriving on domestic flights.