Bahamasair has acquired a new $11.4 million jet that officials say will help to improve efficiency and performance and also allow the company to increase the number of direct flights to the United States.
The jet is a Boeing 737-790 with 138 seats and has a range of five hours, which places most of the United States within range for nonstop flights to and from Nassau.
The addition of the jet brings the Bahamasair fleet to a total of nine aircraft – four Boeing 737 jets and five ATR turboprops.
“What this new aircraft will allow us to do is to improve efficiency, on-time performance, and therefore grow our customer base,” said Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar, during a commissioning ceremony at Lynden Pindling International Airport yesterday.
“In addition, what it will allow us to do is service those markets that do not have nonstop direct service. This is what Bahamasair’s advantage can be.
“While the larger airlines like American, Delta and United service The Bahamas quite wonderfully, they generally direct you through a hub.
“What Bahamasair can do is to establish new nonstop direct markets to The Bahamas. This aircraft now will give us the distance and capacity to service those markets.”
The jet was acquired in China from AerCap and a new interior was installed in Miami, according to Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest, who said the funds for the purchase of the jet came from the sale of the Dash 8 planes, which were sold for $12 million.
“The decision to purchase an additional jet aircraft was not taken lightly,” Turnquest said.
“Bahamasair in fiscal 2018 had revenues of $89 million, an increase of approximately $14 million over the previous year. Regrettably, we were not able to maximize on the increase in revenue to greatly reduce the company’s net loss and still had a loss of some $20 million.
“It is therefore clear that we must focus more on cost containment and cost control.
“Given the mandate of Bahamasair as the main air transportation link for the islands of The Bahamas, servicing less profitable routes where Bahamians live, keeping airfares at a reasonable cost for Bahamians, as well as keeping the fares of our international competitors reasonable…it is unlikely and unreasonable to expect Bahamasair to make a financial profit.”
However, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he wants to see the company’s loss decrease by $2 million each year.
D’Aguilar said it will be difficult to achieve that goal, but that Bahamasair “will endeavor to do so”.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish
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