A number of Family Islands are poised to benefit from added airlift heading into the winter season, confirmed Tyrone Sawyer, Senior Director in the Ministry of Tourism’s airlift unit.
His comments came on the heels of a robust summer season which experienced tourist arrivals which surpassed seasonal forecasts.
With the winter season just weeks away, Sawyer confirmed that Eleuthera, Abaco and Cat Island are preparing for added airlift as soon as early December.
“American Airlines will begin starting daily jet service from Chicago into Nassau and we expect that to happen December 22,” Sawyer confirmed.
“They will also do a Saturday only service via regional jets from Charlotte into Marsh Harbor, Abaco and from Charlotte into North Eleuthera.
“So, we have now got access in our Family Island destinations to the hub of a major carrier and that has an effect of generating quite a bit of connections from all of the places that connect into that hub – directly into Abaco and directly into North Eleuthera.”
Sawyer noted that the ministry’s recent push for added airlift will stretch as far south as Cat Island.
“One of the most important objectives of the Ministry of Tourism is to spread the tourism income throughout the entire. In terms of airlift we will also be seeing service into Cat Island out of Fort Lauderdale with Silver Airways,” Sawyer shared.
“We will see service of twice weekly starting in February.”
Sawyer is encouraged by the market growth and said he expects the trend to continue.
“Airlift still has room to grow and since last year October we have seen an increase in the traction of the amount of airlift,” he said.
“We attribute some of this to the introduction of Baha Mar. The business has also trickled to other properties and now we are seeing it throughout the entire country.
“It’s one to get the airlift, and it’s another thing to keep it. So, what we try to do is do airlift initiatives which are sustainable. What you’ll see is airlift accompanied with marketing; but it usually takes a while for that to build up.”
He continued, “So, we don’t get too excited about announcements. We are more excited about when business is sustained and that’s what you’re seeing happen right now with these additional flights being added.”