[Bahamas] Peak Periods Only Pressure On Flights To Exuma

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[Bahamas] Peak Periods Only Pressure On Flights To Exuma

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Aug 18, 2018

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2018/aug ... ilability/

[Bahamas] Peak Periods Only Pressure On Flight Availability To Exuma
Friday, August 17, 2018
NATARIO McKENZIE Tribune Business Reporter

The Ministry of Tourism and Aviation said yesterday the total number of international airline seats available to Exuma this year is "comfortably above" the number required to fill available rooms, while acknowledging challenges of "higher and higher demand" for seats during holidays and weekends.

The MOTA in a statement yesterday took issue with sentiments expressed by Exuma MP Chester Cooper in a Nassau Guardian article earlier this week, in which the Opposition deputy leader contended that a lack of airlift into the Exumas is holding the area back in terms of tourism growth. The MOTA said this assertion was "factually inaccurate". Mr Cooper had commended Bahamasair for increasing its frequency into Great Exuma for the next month, but contended there needs to be substantive changes in the amount of airlift to the island.

In response, MOTA said yesterday: "The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation would like to advise that the total amount of international airline seats to Exuma in 2018 is comfortably above the number required to fill available rooms. This calculation is measurable. And it takes into account scientific metrics which are easily verifiable."

According to Tourism Minister Dionisio D'Aguilar, airlift into the Exuma has been one of Bahamas tourism's success stories.

"This has been achieved through the efforts of successive governments," MOTA said.

"The Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has been successful in attracting nonstop flights to Exuma by American Airlines (AA), Delta Air Lines (DL), and Air Canada (AC) from their respective hubs of Miami, Atlanta and Toronto. As a result, Exuma now has the ability to attract visitors on connecting same-day itineraries from North America, Latin America, Canada and Europe. This matches the tremendous market access enjoyed by Nassau, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Eleuthera."

It noted that in June, 2017, Exuma benefitted from new Saturday-only non-stop service by American Airlines from Charlotte, North Carolina and effective this coming December due to increased demand, American Airlines will add an additional Miami to George Town, Exuma, daily non-stop flight to its winter schedule.

Still, the MOTA noted there are airlift challenges.

"One of them is higher and higher demand for seats during weekends and holiday periods. Because airlines have to schedule their aircraft throughout the week, it is difficult to add air seat capacity on weekends only. That is why the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has been working closely with its airline partners to generate more weekend flights," MOTA said.

This shortage of seat capacity during peak periods also affects domestic flights. Mr D'Aguilar explained that this is why Sky Bahamas would have provided an additional round-trip flight from Nassau to Exuma last weekend; and the reason behind Bahamasair adding more flights between Nassau and Exuma during the peak summer period.

Minister D'Aguilar said the biggest challenge is the urgent need for a new terminal for George Town, Exuma and North Eleuthera where the volume of passengers far outpaces the ability of the existing airports to accommodate them.

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