Ministry worried about visitor arrivals after global grounding of Boeing 737 Max 8
The Ministry of Tourism is worried about how the global grounding of Boeing’s 737 Max 8 aircraft will affect visitor arrivals to The Bahamas, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
“We haven’t noticed any cancellations as yet of a particular route and I’m sure that the airlines will obviously have to adjust, I don’t want to say their schedules, but what equipment they use to maintain their schedules and we’ll see what the fallout is,” D’Aguilar said.
“Right now, we don’t see any. They haven’t mentioned any but yes we’re worried that when you take such a significant amount of aircraft out of rotation that it’s obviously going to impact the schedules of the airlines.”
On Wednesday, Boeing announced that it had grounded its “entire global fleet of 371 737 MAX aircraft”.
The announcement came after Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday, killing all 157 people onboard.
It was the second crash involving the 737 Max 8 model in less than five months.
In October, Lion Air flight 610 plunged into the sea, killing 189 people, less than 15 minutes after takeoff.
While no Bahamian airline flies the 737 Max aircraft, D’Aguilar said at least six airlines that service The Bahamas use the aircraft.
“Most of those airlines, if not all of those airlines, are quite large and have very large fleets,” he said.
“[I’m] not sure how they are going to maintain their schedule. When you remove, between the five airlines or six airlines that I’ve mentioned, over 100 aircraft… naturally that’s quite worrying.”
The most recent official data from the Ministry of Tourism reveals that while air arrivals were up 16.7 percent for the year to date in December 2018, Family Island arrivals contracted 18.8 percent – a reversal of the 14 percent gains experienced in 2017.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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