Airline misses payroll ahead of the holiday weekend
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Bahamasair’s chairman Tommy Turnquest has confirmed the delay in salary payments last week was directly linked to the airline’s dire financial situation.
Turnquest said the airline has to rely heavily on the government to maintain its operations and keep its nearly 600 employees on the payroll.
“We are not even covering fuel right now,” he said.
“Things are very bad. We are down to a few flights per day. We’re not making any money. We are not even covering fuel right now. It’s rough. There’s a lot of strain on the government’s resources.
“One day it might not be there or like on Friday, it took a while to get there. The government has kept everyone employed. The company can’t do it.”
In a memo to all staff, the airline announced delays in the payment of salaries for employees at several banking institutions.
It said outstanding payments are expected to be completed by Tuesday, October 13.
Turnquest continued: “It’s always serious when you’re talking about people’s money. People want to get their money on time. I felt for them. We got the funding in our account late on Friday.
“The banks were doing everything they could to process it. I think some people didn’t get it and will have to wait until Tuesday. We were late with the funds. This is the reality we are facing.”
Turnquest noted that the airline had scrapped its Monday and Tuesday flight schedule this week due to extremely low load factors.
“We had four flights scheduled on Monday which is really eight legs,” he said.
“We had a total of 19 people booked. Then we would have had to pay statutory overtime. It just wasn’t worth it. It’s rough. We spoke to the passengers some left Sunday or changed their plans and didn’t go at all. We’re not the only ones in this predicament.”
Turnquest said: “This is the reality. Some of the smaller airlines haven’t restarted at all. Bahamasair is fortunate that it is owned by the government and the government has decided to keep everyone and provide that domestic transportation link.”