Bahamasair makes first commercial international flight since Dorian

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Minister of State for Grand Bahama, the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson, along with Harcourt Brown, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Grand Bahama, welcomed guests to Grand Bahama on Monday when the inaugural international flight on the National Flag Carrier, Bahamasair to Fort Lauderdale returned to the island. The flight left Grand Bahama at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning, December 16, with some 35 passengers including Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Restoration, the Hon. Iram Lewis and Mrs. Lewis; Deputy Chairman of Bahamasair, Rudy Meadows; as well as officials from the Ministry of Tourism and representatives from other government agencies and members of the press. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Bahamasair’s flight 141 today was the first international commercial flight to leave the island since Hurricane Dorian struck the island and Abaco some three months ago. With 35 passengers onboard, inclusive of Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction the Hon. Iram Lewis and Mrs. Heather Lewis; Deputy Chairman of Bahamasair, Rudy Meadows; as well as officials from the Ministry of Tourism and representatives from other government agencies, the flight departed Freeport shortly after 9 a.m. Mentioning two important factors the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness is focusing on, Minister Lewis said the flight encompassed two of them, 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 continued, “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 neighbor. “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.

Bahamasair travelled from Freeport to Fort Lauderdale on its first international flight from the island on Monday morning December 16, 2019 following Hurricane Dorian in September. Shown are some of the 35 passengers disembarking at Fort Lauderdale International Airport. International flights from Freeport have resumed with the national flag carrier.
(BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

He said, “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.” The brief flight to Fort Lauderdale International Airport was just over 30 minutes. Assistant Manager, Harrold Williams, welcomed those on board and added that daily international flights from Freeport would resume on Monday. The group, along with a few passengers, cleared Immigration and was then greeted by Mayor of Broward County, Dale Holness who said that Broward County was saddened by what Grand Bahama and Abaco experienced during Hurricane Dorian, but he was pleased at the connection between Broward County and The Bahamas and he was pleased at how Broward responded and reached out “to, in my mind, one of the most valued neighbours in the world, The Bahamas.”

Thirty-five passengers were onboard Bahamasair on Monday, December 16, 2019 for their first international flight from Grand Bahama to Fort Lauderdale following Hurricane Dorian. The flight left shortly after 9 a.m. and returned just after 1 p.m., bringing guests to the island. Among those in the delegation were: Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Restoration, the Hon. Iram Lewis and Mrs. Lewis; Deputy Chairman of Bahamasair, Rudy Meadows; as well as officials from the Ministry of Tourism and representatives from other government agencies and members of the press. The delegation was met in Fort Lauderdale by Mayor of Broward County, Dale Holness. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

The relationship between Broward County, South Florida, and The Bahamas, said Mayor Holness, is not only long-standing but important to both economies because of tourism.  He pledged his continued support in the rebuilding and redevelopment phase. The flight returned to Freeport, again with a few passengers, shortly after noon and was received by Minister of State for Grand Bahama in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator the Hon. J. Kwasi Thompson; Harcourt Brown, Permanent Secretary and other government officials. 

 

Officially meeting the delegation onboard Bahamasair’s first flight to Fort Lauderdale from Freeport following Hurricane Dorian, Mayor of Broward County Dale Holness, is seen on Monday at Fort Lauderdale International Airport discussing the restoration and rebuilding of Grand Bahama and Abaco with Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Restoration, the Hon. Iram Lewis. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

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