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Sun Air reports 25% occupancy for remote routes

Sun Air International has reported “surprisingly busy” bookings for its new direct flights from the U.S. to the Family Islands, running at about 25 percent occupancy.

Tom Cooper, the president of Sun Air, said fresh routes take time to catch on, but so far the reaction has surpassed expectations.

“Cat Island is the strongest of our new destinations, amazingly enough,” he told Guardian Business.

“Rock Sound and Andros Town are picking up. It is surprisingly busy for these smaller markets.”

“It just takes a little while. There is generally a 90 day cycle until the people who have booked on other airlines that are one stop start recognizing our direct service. The next round of guests to resorts will book on us.”

Sun Air, formerly Gulfstream Connection, recently purchased a fleet of Piper aircraft to service its gradual expansion. Cooper is the founder of Gulfstream International and later purchased this subsidiary during Gulfstream’s restructuring.

The airline chief said he’s targeting some of the lesser-known Family Islands and providing a direct route for tourists to get there from the U.S. – a service that has come as welcomed news for stakeholders on those islands.

On November 11, Sun Air commenced its service to Rock Sound, Cat Island and Andros Town from Fort Lauderdale. It also launched its website, which allows customers to reserve and pay online.

Cooper called the 25 percent occupancy, at this stage in the game, “excellent”.

The company is coming off a trip through the Family Islands in October, whereby executives met with resorts and other stakeholders in an effort to drive more traffic to the less-known locations. The carrier has also rolled out an ambitious discount offer, offering 50 percent off all standard fees for travel through to December 14.

“We are excited to be offering service to these wonderful Bahamas destinations, and encourage our South Florida neighbors to take advantage of the low prices to do some exploring,” Cooper said.

“We are sure that once people visit, they will want to return again and again.”

In addition to the three new routes, Sun Air also flies to Chub Cay and Great Harbour Cay.

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