NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday December 20, 2019 – For the first time since Hurricane Dorian struck Grand Bahama and Abaco more than three months ago, The Bahamas’ national airline has taken its first international commercial flight.
Bahamasair’s Flight 141 left Freeport, Grand Bahama for Fort Lauderdale on Monday morning, with 35 passengers, including Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis, Deputy Chairman of Bahamasair Rudy Meadows, officials from the Ministry of Tourism, and representatives from other government agencies. It departed shortly after 9 a.m. and returned just after 1 p.m.
Daily international flights from Freeport will resume on Monday.
Minister Lewis said the flight encompassed two of the important factors his ministry, which was established in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian’s devastating hit on September 1 to 3, is focused on – infrastructure and economy.
“We are killing two birds with one stone: infrastructure – the airport is up and running; and from the economy position, tourism is now up and running,” he said.
“This is a very important day in our recovery effort. It is good to be a part of the rebuilding process. I’m happy to see that our own national flag carrier was the first out of the gate to bring an international flight into South Florida, our closest neighbour. It speaks to the world that we are not just lying down but trying to help ourselves and ask them [for] much-needed assistance.”
Even though strides are being made in the recovery effort, and Grand Bahama and Abaco are open for business, help is still very much needed.
“It is a very big day for not only Grand Bahama, but The Bahamas because we know Grand Bahama contributes greatly to our GDP and the fact that we can now receive tourists is very significant,” Lewis said.
The flight to Fort Lauderdale International Airport was just over 30 minutes.
It returned to Freeport with a few passengers and was received by Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Kwasi Thompson and other government officials.