NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday defended Bahamasair as a ‘critical’ component to this nation’s tourism sector.
D;Aguilar underscored the national flag carrier’s role to drive affordable airfare to this destination on the sidelines of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism (CHTA) Marketplace.
He said: “Bahamasair is symbol of nationhood. Having Bahamasiar is so important to our tourism industry. What they do is the go into the airline market and they disrupt the more established airlines.”
He added: “Were it not for Bahamasair, the other airlines may come into the market and drive up the prices. Bahamasair keeps the Bahamas affordable. Yes it loses money every year but it is an important component of our tourism infrastructure to ensure there is always sufficient airlift into the country.
“Also, when you have those peak periods when the cost of airline tickets increase significantly it allows Bahamians the ability to travel at an affordable price to major gateways in South Florida and it gives tourists and option if they don’t want to go with something they are familiar with like and American Airlines or Delta or United. From a touristic standpoint it’s critical.”
D’Aguilar lauded the airline which has nine aircraft in its fleet for its ‘impeccable’ safety standard and safety records, while acknowledging there are ‘some hiccups’.
The government increased its subsidy to Bahamasair for the 2019/2020 fiscal year to $22.4 million, up from the $13.4 million.
The airline had projected that its annual net loss would decrease to $21.9 million in 2019, and decrease even further this year to $16.9 million.