Bahamasair chairman: Summer traveling period “write-off”

Bahamasair chairman: Summer traveling period “write-off”
Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamasair’s chairman Tommy Turnquest yesterday acknowledged that the summer traveling period was essentially a “write-off” for the national flag carrier.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced yesterday that the airline would immediately cease outgoing flights to the United States.

Turnquest said: “We will run one flight into Fort Lauderdale on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday essentially to bring back any Bahamians.

“Anyone with a Bahamasair ticket or anyone who wants to come in we will bring them home. We will allow any changes on any existing tickets for them to come home.

“We are not going into Orlando or West Palm Beach. They have been suspended. We will continue the domestic route into Freeport, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then we will suspend that.”

Turnquest continued: “This summer is a write-off. Five months of the year Bahamasair makes money, June, July, August, December and either March or April depending on when Easter is.

“You could also add the US Thanksgiving weekend in there as well. That carries us through the rest of the year. COVID started in mid-March. Easter was in April so we missed that.

He said: “We are taking a beating this summer and last November and December we had lost Abaco and Grand Bahama because of Hurricane Dorian. It’s been rough. We will have to have some dialogue with the government in terms of what they want us to do.”

Turnquest noted that the airline spent $10.5 million during the COVID-19 lockdown “doing nothing”.

“How long does this go on for,” he said.

“I do support the government’s decision as articulated by the Prime Minister. I think it was inevitable. You see what’s going on in Florida. We are not disciplined enough.

“We’re not physically distancing , wearing our face-masks or wearing them properly.”