January 16, 2017
A water salute and a large contingent of Haitian officials welcomed Bahamasair’s inaugural flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as it touched down shortly before 9:00 a.m., Saturday, January 14, 2017 at Toussaint Louverture International Airport.
The Avions de Transport Régional-42 (ATR), 50 seat, turbo, prop aircraft, one of the National Flag Carrier’s newest fleet acquired in 2015, provides non-stop service into Port-au-Prince two days per week, Wednesday and Saturday, and is expected to boost revenue for the airline as the frequency increases.
Bahamasair Chairman Valentine Grimes, head of the delegation to Haiti, remarked that this is an “important” day in the history of Bahamasair.
“We are indeed happy that this flight has been inaugurated and we are here for the long haul. We think that the flights will be profitable both for Haiti and The Bahamas,” he said.
Mr. Grimes said he is “proud” to have been a part of the planning that took place to bring this flight and route to fruition.
Also participating in the brief ceremony held in the Diplomatic Salon was Haiti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierrot Delienne, and Tourism Minister Didier Hyppolite.
The airline’s team comprised Frederick Donathan, Director, Sales and Marketing; Captain Augustus Roberts, Director; John Fowler, Director of Customer Service; and Claudius Rolle, CFO. Senior government officials included His Excellency Godfrey Rolle, Bahamas Ambassador to the Dominican Republic and the Republic of Haiti; Lorraine Armbrister, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport and Aviation; and Tyrone Sawyer, Ministry of Tourism Senior Director of Airlift Development. Haitian Ambassador to The Bahamas, His Excellency Jean Victor Geneus led Haitian community leaders in The Bahamas on the flight.
Bahamasair Acting Managing Director, Tracy Cooper, said the national flag carrier plans to embrace more technology to become more “efficient” and to improve the revenue base.
“We’re very excited about the move. It is the only direct flight between The Bahamas and Port-au-Prince. We expect it to be not just beneficial to The Bahamas, but also to the people of Haiti.”
He explained that strategic timing was considered to facilitate customers arriving in Haiti and utilizing the busing system: timely coordination with the transportation system was factored in.
“We expect to grow this flight from an ATR eventually to a jet,” said Woody Wilson, Bahamasair Senior Manager for Marketing. “There is a lot of culture in Haiti and we have Bahamians travelling back and forth as tourists and vice versa. We expect to have the Haitian population travelling to The Bahamas as tourists. We expect this to be a great revenue generator for us.”
The airline is offering an introductory airfare of $450.00 for the month of January. Tickets for the new Port-au-Prince service can be purchased online at Bahamasair.com and through local travel agents in The Bahamas.
In Haiti, Bahamasair has signed a GSA agreement with SORA to sell its tickets from Port-au-Prince to Nassau through the Haiti travel agencies network.
Bahamasair is also partnering with Agence Citadelle for airport shuttle and land packages, as well as Patrick Coach Line and Sans Souci Bus to provide ground transportation for passengers traveling beyond Port-Au-Prince.
Said Mr. Wilson, “traditionally the longest flight flown before was to Orlando. We’ve also flown to Cuba, but this will be our longest flight.”
A short reception and guided tour of Haiti, including the National Museum, followed the ceremony.
At Toussaint Louverture International Airport, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, upon arrival of Bahamasair’s Inaugural Flight, Saturday, January 14, 2017, are officials of Bahamasair, Bahamas Ministry of Transport & Aviation, Ministry of Tourism, Diplomatic Corps, and Haiti's Government -- pictured from left: Phyllis Johnson, HE Godfrey Rolle, Rachelle Mortimer, Fred Donathan, Director Davis, Chairman Valentine Grimes, PS Lorraine Armbrister, Haiti’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierrot Delienne, Tyrone Sawyer, and Haiti’s Minister of Tourism Didier Hyppolite. (BIS Photo)
By Kathryn Campbell
Bahamas Information Services