Bahamas ‘on track’ to expand airlift by 15%

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper.

DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper.

By Fay Simmons

Tribune Business Reporter


The deputy prime minister yesterday said The Bahamas is “on track” to increase airlift capacity into the destination by 15 percent this year through the addition of several new routes.

Giving the keynote address at Aviation Week’s opening ceremony, Chester Cooper, who is also minister of tourism, investments and aviation, added that this nation will also increase tourism visitor numbers by 20 percent compared to 2019’s pre-COVID figures.

He said: “One of the important components of the growth of tourism, and the growth of our economy generally, is an increase in airlift and the improvement in connectivity. We are improving this year our overall capacity by at least 15 percent. And I’m pleased to report that we are well set and on track to do so.

“As it relates to tourism, we forecasted a 20 percent growth ahead of what we’ve done in 2019, and I want you to know that we’re beating that as well”

Mr Cooper said several new routes to New Providence and the Family Islands have already launched while others are expected to begin within the coming months.

He said: “You should expect the unveiling of many new flights from many major cities around the world - American Airlines, Miami to Eleuthera, February 2024; Alaska Airlines - Seattle and LA to Nassau beginning early December; Bahamasair, Raleigh, North Carolina, to Freeport, Grand Bahama, with ongoing service to Nassau being reinstated within the next two weeks. Bahamasair, Fort Lauderdale to Exuma, starting November 15.

“Delta Airlines for the very first time offering services from Miami to Nassau. Delta Airlines, Atlanta to Marsh Harbour, resuming this fall. JetBlue, LA to Nassau, starting November 4. Silver Airways introducing two new non-stop flights out of Orlando, Florida, to Eleuthera and Abaco with more to come. And JetBlue announcing daily direct flights to Nassau from LaGuardia International Airport in New York earlier this year that should resume soon.”

Hanna Swift, Virgin Atlantic’s country manager for the Caribbean, said the airline is increasing capacity into the Northern Caribbean by expanding the number of flights into Nassau and Turks and Caicos.

She said: “Next week, we are increasing our capacity and we are increasing our number of flights out of Nassau into the UK to three times a week, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. [Flights can carry] up to 20 tons of cargo. So if you are importing or exporting, you know to give us a call.

“[We’re] going to start flying to Turks and Caicos, so that launches four times a week into Providenciales. Very excited for that as well, extra capacity into the Northern Caribbean.”


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