NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamasair chairman Tommy Turnquest yesterday revealed the airline is “burning over $3 million a month doing nothing” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Turnquest underscored the need to maximize revenues and pursue measures to reduce costs in an interview with Eyewitness News yesterday.
“Nothing is happening right now, period,” he said.
“We must ensure that when we start buying fuel and firing up the engines that we can cover the cost. We are burning over $3 million a month doing nothing.
“Domestic travel is phase four and international travel is phase five and domestic travel is phase four. We’re just in phase 1A.”
Turnquest continued: “Every month we have to find more than $3 million. You can rest assured that it’s not going to be business as usual and there will be strategies in place to maximize revenues and to minimize costs.
“None of us have seen this before. This is rough. We better not be wasting money doing foolishness when we come out of this. I understand the responsibility. I have the planes sitting their doing nothing.
“We have an engineering team working with the planes to make sure the engines are working and nothing freezes up. We will be ready to go if there is any money to buy fuel.”
The Bahamas Airline Pilots Association in a recent letter reiterated calls for the national flag carrier to pursue new revenue streams, suggesting that the most lucrative option would be air cargo.
The letter, dated April 22, noted that given that passenger travel in The Bahamas is at a standstill and has dropped off dramatically internationally, air cargo operations remain resilient.
The association noted that US based air cargo operators are offloading tons of cargo at Lynden Pindling International Airport daily for local courier companies and other businesses. These local companies they said could be targeted in an effort for Bahamasair to bring their cargo.
Turnquest told Eyewitness News that he had seen letter and acknowledged that the suggestions should be looked at.
“I saw that. They sent me a copy. I read it. I think it ought to be looked at. It was suggested by the pilots,” he said.