LPIA to stay open, but Bahamasair will still feel the COVID-19 hit

LPIA to stay open, but Bahamasair will still feel the COVID-19 hit
The Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA).

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted travel globally will put ‘another dent’ in the revenue stream of the national flag carrier, Bahamasair chairman Tommy Turnquest acknowledged yesterday.

His comments come as the Lynden Pindling International Airport’s (LPIA) operator said the airport is not closing for the foreseeable future.

“Obviously it is going to put another dent into our revenue streams and what we do. We have to look at the cost side off it and be as humane as we can in terms of moving forward,” said Turnquest.

Bahamasair chairman Tommy Turnquest

“We are noticing that the numbers coming here are higher than the numbers going out. We believe that there are Bahamians around the world that are trying to get home. While we will be governed by the Ministry of Health and the government we are minded to continue until we bring all Bahamians that need to be to be home, home.”

Bahamasair has advised that effective immediately it is discontinuing flights to Haiti until further notice. That move alone is expected to cost the airline over $80,000 in weekly revenue, with repatriations having been halted.

The airline continues to service all family islands, Turks and Caicos and Cuba and destinations within the United States.

“Every time we land, before we go back out we do a heavy cleaning to make sure the next set of passengers are not exposed to anything that would have been left by the previous set of passengers,” said Turnquest.

The Nassau Airport Development Company yesterday said in a statement that Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) is “open and fully operational”.

“The airport is not closing in the foreseeable future.  We are continuing to monitor the global spread of COVID-19 and are working closely with local health officials and our airport partners to ensure the safety and security of all LPIA users,” said NAD.

“We are asking members of the traveling public to contact their individual airlines for updates on flight schedules.  A listing of all airlines and their contacts can be found on LPIA’s website.”

Rexy Rolle, Western Air’s  vice-president of operations and general counsel, told Eyewitness News the airline was monitoring the development of COVID-19 outbreak at home and abroad.

“We have been monitoring the development of COVID-19 closely, both domestically and internationally,” Rolle said.

“Our team has been on heightened alert and is remaining informed as things progress. Thus far, All flights are proceeding as scheduled daily.  As a standard practice, we continue to thoroughly sanitize the aircrafts before and after each flight. Additionally, we are equipping our crew and staff with extra cleaning and disinfectant supplies.”

Rolle said: “Our first priority is the safety of our passengers and our team members. To inform all, passengers needing to reschedule their flight arrangements can do so without change or cancellation fees (all tickets are valid for one year). This is a long standing policy of Western Air.

“We understand there may be misinformation circulating, but we want to ensure our passengers that flights are ongoing as scheduled and should they have any questions they are free to call us at (242)377-2222.

She added: “We will continue to adhere to the recommended practices as we maneuver through this unprecedented time.”