By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Bahamasair’s chairman yesterday expressed fears that its upcoming services for the peak Easter travel period may be disrupted, after one of its 70-seater ATR planes was damaged by the early Tuesday morning tornado that struck the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). i
Valentine Grimes told Tribune Business that the airline had contacted the manufacturer, with technicians and engineers already on their way to the Bahamas to assess the damage.
“We are making an assessment to the extent of the damage,” he said. “That assessment will be carried out with the assistance of the manufacturers. They are on their way with the engineers to assess the damages.
“At the end of the day, it depends on how long it will take for the damages to be repaired once the assessment has been completed. Any adverse effect will depend on that because we do have the heavy travelling period coming upon us.”
Mr Grimes added: “To the best of my knowledge this should be covered under the insurance. We see no reason why there should be any disruption to the extent that we have a 70-seater that will not be serviceable until after we have made an assessment and repaired whatever need to be repaired.”
The Bahamasair chairman described the incident as “unfortunate”, as it comes amid what he described as a financial turnaround for the airlines.
“The airline is in the process of being turned around financially. We continue to reduce our operating expenses, and in that regard they have been reduced by some 50 per cent over the last three-and-a-half to four years,” Mr Grimes said.
“Obviously this will put a slight delay in it. There is a demand for us to have a third 70-seater, and obviously Bahamasair will be moving in that direction as soon as it can to acquire an additional ATR.”
He explained that the plane damaged on Tuesday morning was one of two 70-seater ATRs that have been filling a “good niche” for Bahamasair, as they can be used on certain routes where a jet is not feasible.
“We will take every precaution to ensure that whatever damage has occurred is properly repaired before the plane is put back into service,” said Mr Grimes.
Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) told Tribune Business that all flights were operating as normal yesterday.
“The Lynden Pindling International Airport sustained cosmetic damage due to a weather system,” said NAD’s Marketing and communications manager, Jan Knowles
“The airport’s operations were not impacted and passengers were able to check in and board their flights as normal. There was damage to several vehicles in LPIA’s parking facility, vegetation and the roof of the domestic parking lot pay booth suffered some damage.
“Areas of the airport terminal lost power temporarily. A Bahamasair aircraft was impacted by the system. All flights are operating as normal.”