The Bahamas’ attendance at the 2018 World Routes Conference in Guangzhou, China was very successful and exceeded our initial goals and expectations,” said Tyrone Sawyer, Sr. Director of Airlift Development for the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (BMOTA).
The Conference brought together hundreds of airlines executives from the Far East, Europe, Canada, North America and the United States, to meet, develop and create business opportunities with vendors from various destinations.
“Geographically, The Bahamas is located thousands of miles away from China, but our presence at this conference, strong networks and our accessibility to these airline operators, made the location of the Conference, itself, inconsequential.”
According to Sawyer, meetings were held with representatives of China Southern Airlines as well as China Eastern Airlines on improving schedule connectivity between its U.S. and Canadian alliance partners to ‘open the gate’ for The Bahamas to receive more stopover arrivals from China.
Meetings were also held with The Bahamas’ long-time partner, American Airlines (AA). AA provides more flights, from more gateways to more destinations in The Bahamas than any other airline. Commencing this winter season, on 22ndDecember, 2018, AA will add non-stop Saturday-only flights to The Bahamas, to its already significant routes, including Chicago to Nassau, Charlotte to Marsh Harbour, Abaco and New York (LaGuardia) to Nassau. Further, a second daily non-stop flight from Miami to George Town, Exuma is being added on 22ndDecember, 2018. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation is also working with AA on joint promotions with its European and Latin American sales and marketing team to synergize flights and increase passenger connections from those areas to The Bahamas through AA’s Miami hub.
Sawyer also met with The Bahamas’ long-time partner, British Airways, which provides non-stop, scheduled B-777 jet services to Nassau from London’s Heathrow airport with connections from key gateways like Milan, Paris and Geneva.
Over the past year, The Bahamas has experienced strong visitor growth from Canada, and in this regard, meetings were held with Air Canada and West Jet, to further build on this upward trend. Both airlines have added more seats from their respective gateways into The Bahamas. Air Canada provides nonstop jet service to Nassau from Toronto and Montreal, and to San Salvador from Montreal. West Jet provides nonstop jet service to Nassau from both Toronto and Calgary.
Sawyer also took time to meet with several other airline partners for The Bahamas, including JetBlue, Southwest Airlines and Copa Airlines. JetBlue contributes a significant number of air stopover arrivals to Nassau from JFK and Fort Lauderdale. Southwest Airlines, the largest domestic airline in the United States, with its brisk passenger loads into The Bahamas, recently added an additional daily jet service to its Fort Lauderdale/Nassau route, using its connecting feeder routes in Nashville, Tennessee, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri. Copa Airlines, which provides non-stop services into Nassau from Panama City, has experienced a sharp turnaround in passenger load factor performance as a result of its joint marketing campaign with The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation and its Industry partners.
Plans are also in the works to increase airlift into Grand Bahama Island.
Sawyer took the opportunity to brief airline partners on the impending new and exciting developments ahead for the Grand Lucayan Resort and for the island of Grand Bahama; and used the opportunity to solicit new and additional airlift service to that destination.
“We were especially excited to see the level of interest and excitement expressed by the airlines and their desire to partner with us by adding more flights to Freeport, Grand Bahama, as consumer awareness builds in advance of the hotel’s opening.”
“The distance to travel for this conference was indeed far, but the trip was most gratifying. We feel confident that these efforts will bear much fruit for The Islands Of The Bahamas,” he said.
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