NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Kamalame Cay, the award-winning private island resort off of Andros, yesterday announced the launch of COCO Bahama Seaplanes, which in turn will offer scholarships for aspiring Bahamian pilots.
Scheduled to launch in February 2021, COCO Bahama Seaplanes will operate with a fleet of state-of-the-art amphibious seaplanes, two-pilot crews, world-class safety standards and a commitment to help unlock millions of dollars in economic development across The Bahamas, kick-starting fragile local economies and celebrating the unique beauty and offerings of the Bahamian Family Islands.
Jet Nassau will be COCO Bahama Seaplanes’ fixed-base operator (FBO), with both companies saying they are “thrilled” about the “strategic partnership”.
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said: “I am pleased to welcome a new aircraft option to The Bahamas that will increase access to our islands and allow travelers to experience the secluded paradise they are looking for right now.
“I cannot help but feel proud that in these challenging times, a Bahamian company such as COCO Bahama Seaplanes is prepared to invest in the future of tourism in The Bahamas. I sincerely believe that with Bahamian ingenuity and determination, we will once again take our rightful place as the destination of choice for travelers worldwide.”
COCO Bahama Seaplanes CEO Brian Hew, who is also chairman and founder of Kamalame Cay, said: “Recovery of the Family Islands will be accelerated with the arrival of COCO and, importantly, without the need for additional direct government investments to expand, rehabilitate or build new airports.
“COCO will benefit visitors to our beautiful country and will help support a more reliable domestic travel infrastructure, allowing residents to move quickly and efficiently throughout The Bahamas and reducing the burden on the government to fly to small, unprofitable markets with large aircraft.”
COCO intends to help support and expand the range of tourism offerings for domestic and
international visitors in the larger Nassau and Grand Bahama markets, and is already working
aggressively with both independent and multinational hotels and resorts to spread tourism dollars to the Family Islands through day trips and excursions.
Bahamasair Chairman Tommy Turnquest said: “The arrival of COCO Bahama Seaplanes is another important milestone for the Bahamian airline industry as we look for new ways to expand the services we provide to our residents and guests without additional financial burden on the Bahamian government.”
COCO Bahama Seaplanes said it is committed to “bringing glamour back” to flying to the islands of The Bahamas and to playing its part in helping transform tourism and travel.
COCO also intends to be a “starting point” for career-minded young Bahamians wanting a career in aviation, and through a series of local and international training partnerships and scholarships will create hundreds of high-quality jobs for Bahamians with career paths including pilots, maintainers, sales, customer service, management and support roles.
It has launched an annual scholarship programme for young Bahamian pilots who are between 18 and 30 years old.
Successful applicants will receive a cash contribution towards the flight school of their choice and, upon successful completion, will have a contingent offer to join the crew at COCO Bahama Seaplanes.
The recipients of the inaugural COCO Scholarship Programme for Young Bahamian Pilots were Sherquelle Mackey and Kenarje Ferguson, both of New Providence.
They will each receive $5,000 towards the flight school of their choice.
Mackey, who completed her studies at Central Andros High School, was described as “a dedicated, efficient and reliable individual”. Her most recent work experience was as a customer service agent and co-pilot with Marlin Air Charter Services.
“I’ve always dreamt about becoming a pilot ever since I became introduced to flight simulation as a little girl,” Mackey said.
Ferguson, who completed his studies at Aquinas College in June 2020, was described as “humble, quiet, respectful and eager-to-learn quiet storm who gives 110 percent once his mind is set to learning”.
“I had a dream as a child of flying as I watched planes land and take off,” Ferguson said. “It has inspired me to become a pilot.“
Interested parties may visit FlyCocoBahama.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.