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Bahamasair claims weather caused delays

A power outage, poor weather and mechanical problems led to major delays and cancellations of all inbound and outbound Bahamasair flights through South Florida on Thursday, Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.

The national flag carrier continued to experience delays Friday as well.

“There were some weather issues,” D’Aguilar said.

“As you know [Bahamas Power and Light] had some situations at LPIA which impaired the ability of the air traffic control system to work optimally that resulted in additional delays. Bahamasair just couldn’t fulfill its schedule yesterday and I believe they also have a jet that’s out of commission as well.

“There’s an accumulation of a lot of things that just came to a head that really prevented them from fulfilling their regular schedule.”

Bahamasair blamed a large weather system for its operations being impacted in South Florida and The Bahamas.

“Due to the movement of a massive weather disturbance that moved into the South Florida area yesterday during the afternoon hours, all three of the major airports we service, Miami, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale International, were all forced to close for several hours,” Bahamasair Managing Director Tracy J. Cooper said yesterday.

D’Aguilar was unable to say how many customers were affected by the flight cancellations and delays, but he insisted that Bahamasair was working to ensure a full resumption of its flights as soon as possible.

“I spoke with them this morning and they were actively seeking to get additional aircraft, to lease additional aircraft,” he said.

“They had thought that they would get two additional planes, lease two additional planes to be able to fulfill the schedule. When I spoke with them earlier today, they had secured one but not two. I haven’t received an update today on how the schedule is going but I anticipate that there will be delays until they get caught up from yesterday.”

He added: “Bahamasair is going to have this from time to time. It’s a company that has seven aircraft that probably runs a very tight schedule. You get one aircraft that goes down with a mechanical problem, then it starts to compound and create issues. We run a small airline. A company like Bahamasair, this is what’s going to happen.”

When asked if he was worried about how possible delays and cancellations will affect holiday travelers, D’Aguilar said, “Obviously there is going to be frustrated customers just because of the delays but Bahamasair is trying to work through. When you’re a large airline like American or United or JetBlue and you have lots of aircraft, when one goes down and you can just slide another one in.

“Bahamasair just doesn’t have that flexibility, that’s why we are over and repeatedly seeing these issues. A number of the jets are well on in their operational life and so they’re requiring more and more maintenance.”

D’Aguilar said he hopes the issue will be fixed before Christmas.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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