Delta bridges LaGuardia, Nassau
The Bahamas added another flight from its most important tourism source market Friday, when Delta Air Lines resumed service to Nassau from LaGuardia airport.
Delta had discontinued the flight in 2010 but put it into schedule again, using a 155-seat MD-80. The flight arrived full and was greeted by the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Marching Band. Delta officials pointed out that flights are averaging 80 – 84 percent load factors for the next three months.
Minister of Tourism & Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace led a team of top-level tourism officials in welcoming the flight at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). He said New York remains the key tourism market for the Bahamas.
“There is no question whatsoever that the single most important market for us in any measure you put forward is the greater New York area,” Minister Vanderpool-Wallace said. “So when we start talking about bringing back this kind of nonstop service, it is extremely important.”
Delta’s daily service will add another 1,000 seats per week into LPIA. Some of those passengers will continue on to other destinations in the Bahamas, Minister Vanderpool-Wallace said.
“The more flights and seats we have coming into this airport as the hub, the lower the cost of access to everybody coming through the Bahamas,” he said. “So there is this wonderful synergy that works between us in the Nassau/Paradise Island area and going on to the many different destinations in the Bahamas.”
George Markantonis, vice chairman of Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board (NPIPB), thanked Delta for having the faith in the Bahamas to return its flight to Nassau from LaGuardia.
“For us, LaGuardia is huge,” he said. “This brings in a section of the country that is about 90 percent of the traffic into our businesses. The more opportunities that those people have to reach Nassau and from Nassau perhaps to go to some of the Family Islands is critical to the survival of the country.”
Don Robinson, another NPIPB vice chairman, pointed out that efficient airlift is important to the success of Delta Air Lines and the Bahamas. Expanding airlift will be even more important in the future, he said.
“I think in a few short years, when Baha Mar starts opening up, and you see the brands of the Grand Hyatt and the Rosewood and the Morgans and all the facilitites that will be located at Cable Beach and the additional several thousand hotel rooms that will be coming on line, airlift is a critical component of that project.”