The ability to move cruise passengers to New Providence as cruise lines begin their home porting in about two months is not something to “sneeze at”, Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest told Guardian Business yesterday, adding that the airline is in the midst of figuring out logistics and ironing out pricing for those specialty flights.
Bahamasair, which has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, jumped at the opportunity to shuttle cruise passengers from Florida to Nassau as Royal Caribbean International and Crystal Cruises begin home porting in The Bahamas in June and July, respectively.
Given that both cruise itineraries are a week long, Turnquest lamented that the flights would only be once per week, but he maintained that some business is good business.
“It’s only a Saturday right now, but we’re looking at three quarters of a plane, you can’t sneeze at that,” said Turnquest. “We’ve got a good thing going with them.”
According to Turnquest, Bahamasair will have no problem moving cruise passengers to and from New Providence. The related mechanics of the operation, he said, are being finalized.
“We could easily move the people in that time,” he said. “It’s just the logistics we’re working out now and of course there’s always price.”
Turnquest said Bahamasair’s summer schedule is beginning to look promising. Summer is typically the airline’s busy season, with Bahamians traveling during summer break. He added that there is still much pent-up demand for travel because of the pandemic. Turnquest also contended that there is “tremendous” pent up demand for travel to the Family Islands, but he said the cost has become prohibitive for some Bahamians because of the high price of the mandatory RT-PCR tests that have to be taken.
He said the airline is doing whatever it “can to devise” plans to remain busy during the tough times caused by COVID-19.