February 15, 2019
Minister of Tourism and Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar welcomed home the newest addition to Bahamasair’s fleet Thursday morning with the exclamation: “What a Valentine’s Day gift.”
The new Boeing 737-790NG aircraft touched down for the very first time at Lynden Pindling International Airport at 11:05 a.m. February 14, 2019 after traveling all the way from Anchorage, Alaska, to Opalocka, Florida before making its way to New Providence.
The plane taxied to the Bahamasair Hangar where it was received with a thunderous round of applause led by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis, Minister D’Aguilar, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bahamasair, O.A. “Tommy” Turnquest, along with senior government officials, tourism and aviation stakeholders, and employees of Bahamasair.
A Commissioning Ceremony marking the plane’s arrival took place at the Bahamasair Hangar.
The Flight Crew was comprised of Captain Edward Patton (pilot), First Officer Michael Pinder and Mr. Prince Storr, Director of Maintenance, Bahamasair.
Minister D’Aguilar said if Bahamasair’s “rich history is even partially told,” the national airline would stand as a fitting symbol of national pride and a strategic tool in the advancement of this country’s growth and development.
“At its inception in 1973, Bahamasair stepped forward with gusto and resolved to link the islands of our archipelago when called upon to do so by the government. It was a time of great uncertainty. It was far from clear how the nation’s transportation system would survive after the sudden, and unexpected, demise of Bahamas Airways. But Bahamasair stepped forward and showed us that the country could depend upon its service and connectivity.”
Minister D’Aguilar said less than a decade later, in the early 1980s, the nation’s tourism industry faced a crisis when American Airlines suspended its non-stop JFK to Nassau flight – the only scheduled non-stop flight to The Bahamas from New York.
He said Bahamasair once again stepped forward and provided the necessary daily scheduled service from Newark, New Jersey, to Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“There is no doubt that they preserved the valued air access from one of our key tourism markets,” Mr. D’Aguilar said. “As we fast-forward to 2019, Bahamasair is now 46 years old. It is no longer an infant or a pre-teen. Respective Boards and successive governments have invested a great deal to ensure its survival.”
Minister D’Aguilar said just last year, Bahamasair commissioned the last of its five ATR aircrafts at a significant investment of $120 million.
“Today, we all stand here full of optimism and hope as this 737-700 series aircraft is added to its fleet.”
Commissioning Ceremony marking the arrival of the new Bahamasair Boeing 737-790NG today at Bahamasair Hangar: Minister of Tourism and Aviation the Hon. Dionisio D'Aguilar addresses the audience, and tours the new aircraft with Bahamasair Chairman O.A.T. 'Tommy' Turnquest. (BIS Photos/Raymond A. Bethel, Sr.)
By Matt Maura