By EARYEL BOWLEG
BAHAMASAIR chairman Tommy Turnquest revealed the national airline is concerned about its staff and those travelling amid the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
However, up to press time, there had been no reduction in flights servicing the United States due to the virus. Still he said the airline is taking precautions.
“We are putting in protocols in place with conjunction with the Ministry of Health,” Mr Turnquest said yesterday.
“We’re concerned about our staff members. We’re concerned about the travelling public. We’re going to take every precaution necessary.”
However, Mr Turnquest said Bahamasair had not noticed any decline as a result of COVID-19 as of yet.
United Airlines and JetBlue Airways have cut their US flight schedules due to the outbreak and is it projected by the International Air Transport Association that global airlines could lose an estimated $113bn in passenger revenue if the virus continues to spread.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Turnquest said Bahamasair officials have not seen the need to decrease flights to America due to virus cases there, but said it is a “very fluid situation”.
Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said outside of Cabinet on Tuesday that there was going to be slow down in travel across the planet due to the deadly virus and it will “inevitably” affect The Bahamas.
When asked if there will be a decrease of flights in the future, Mr Turnquest could not say.
“We have to cross that bridge when we come to it. I can’t speculate on that ma’am,” he said.
According to the New York Times, the virus has infected at least 210 people in the United States and 12 have died. Worldwide, there have been nearly 98,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths, the NYT reported, adding that a global database maintained by Johns Hopkins counts more than 53,600 recoveries from the virus.