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Bahamasair expands Florida services

SCIESKA ADDERLEY
Guardian Business Reporter
scieska@nasguard.com

Published: Oct 03, 2013

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The national flag carrier is extending its reach into the Florida market and connectivity with the entire eastern seaboard by launching non-stop service into West Palm Beach beginning next month.

Van Diah, Bahamasair’s deputy general manager, said the airline’s decision to service the West Palm Beach area was based on comprehensive dialogue between Bahamasair and its industry partners, all in an effort to fulfill a need that has not been met since it exited the market back in 2009.

“There are Bahamians with friends and family who live in the Palm Beach area and persons who go to school there. There are tourists that come from the affluent West Palm Beach, Palm Bay and Boca Raton areas who travel to Nassau.

They have the money. It is allowing us to extend our reach into Florida with existing equipment,” he told Guardian Business.

“We have had persons on both sides, locals and tourists asking Bahamasair to provide the flight for a number of reasons. Before we launched the flight, we have had much dialogue with wholesalers, local hotels and others.”

Beginning November 10, Bahamasair will launch non-stop service between Nassau and West Palm Beach with three flights weekly on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays using the airline’s 50 seat aircraft. Those flights will depart Nassau at 12:45 p.m. and arrive in West Palm Beach at 1:45 p.m. and then depart West Palm Beach at 2:30 p.m. and arrive in Nassau at 3:30 p.m.

Diah believes these latest services will serve the airline well as the number of people coming out of that area justify the need for the flights. In fact, he is confident the airline can reach a break-even point, which is a minimum of 26-28 passengers heading in each direction.

“We are confident that we can get those numbers because the numbers are twice as much as when there was direct service. When the area was being serviced in 2009, on average there were as much as 300-400 passengers coming from that area per week and now that number has been reduced by half,” according to the airline executive.

To jumpstart the launch, Bahamasair is offering an introductory fare of $59 one way ($255 round trip inclusive of taxes) for tickets purchased by October 31, 2013. There are no restrictions on travel dates for this special offer.

The Palm Beach airport serves as a hub to many major airlines with flights into the eastern seaboard, Canada and within the interior of the Unites States. Executives believe that Bahamasair’s flight schedule in and out of Palm Beach will allow for optimum connectivity to these remote cities.

In September, Silver Airways announced its plans to launch its non-stop service from West Palm Beach to North Eleuthera and Freeport, Grand Bahama and non-stop flights each weekday between Orlando and Tallahassee, and two non-stop flights each weekday between West Palm Beach and Orlando, giving travelers the only non-stop service between West Palm Beach and Orlando beginning November 21.

These latest services come as the Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe confirmed that the country has been losing market share in the Florida and New York markets but pledged his ministry’s commitment to turning that around.


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