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2004-08-19 16:18:29

New Direct Service For Exuma

The increased airlift is in response to a recent World Tourism survey that shows an annual average growth of 4 percent for the next decade in the Caribbean.

Yet another international carrier prepares to mine the lucrative Bahamian routes as US Airways announced not only its new “code-sharing pact' with Bahamasair but also a planned new direct flight from the US to Exuma.

Associated Press reported that the pact covers “code sharing on daily flights between the United States and The Bahamas, as well as intra-Bahamian flights.

According to the AP report US Airways customers will be able to “build up and redeem their frequent flier miles.'

The arrangement could be a boost for Family Island resorts since it specifically calls for Bahamasair to be the connecting carrier for US Airways customers traveling to The Family Islands via Nassau.

Resorts in Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera, George Town, Exuma and Treasure Cay, Abaco, and Freeport Grand Bahama, four of the major Family Islands can now expect to see increased traffic to their areas as a result of the arrangement.

The pact extends the options for Bahamians traveling to the US. From both Nassau and Grand Bahama, Bahamians can now travel on US Airways to Charlotte, North Carolina, New York's LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia, and Boston and into the Washington DC area via the Reagan National Airport.

Although Bahamians can take immediate advantage of the codeshare flights, AP reported that travel and dividend miles do not kick in until September 15.

In a related matter, US Airways announced its first nonstop flight from the US into the Family Islands.

The announcement, which comes on the heels of the airline's agreement with Bahamasair, the national flag carrier, is part of the recent trend by US carriers to increase their airlift to The Bahamas and the region.

The increased airlift is in response to a recent World Tourism survey that shows an annual average growth of 4 percent for the next decade in the Caribbean.

Beginning on December 18, 2004 US Airways Express customers will be able to travel from Charlotte, North Carolina to George Town Exuma every Saturday.

According to a press release, US Airways Express operator will fly the service every Saturday.

Like American Eagle, which has a similar non-stop service from Dallas to Nassau, US Airways Express will be using the 70-seat jets. US Airways has opted for the Canadair Regional Jet 700s.

The new service comes on stream in time for the winter season and should boost occupancy at the tony Four Seasons Resort in George Town.

The weekly service also suggests an upscale clientele with stays of seven nights, which is well above the industry average of four nights.

Commenting on the scheduled service Douglas D. Leo, US Airways vice president of sales and international marketing said, "This new service, coupled with the start of our new marketing relationship with Bahamasair, expands our breadth of service not only to the Bahamas, but to the choice of popular island destinations that we serve from Charlotte."

The Charlotte, N.C.-George Town, Exuma service is US Airways fifth direct service to The Bahamas, the release stated.

As part of the Star Alliance network, US Airways customers have access to the alliance members which include Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Singapore, Spanair, Thai Airways International, United, US and VARIG Brazilian Airlines.

By press time no response had been received from messages left at Bahamasair.

C. E. Huggins, The Bahama Journal

 
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