Expansion consideration Bahamasair looking to add Bombardier Q400 to its fleet
By GENEA NOEL
Freeport News Reporter
As the government seeks to refleet the national flag carrier, Bahamasair, they explored the possibility of purchasing a new Bombardier Q400 aircraft to ease the economic burden.
Various sectors of the community and senior Government officials, including Works Minister, Neko Grant and Minister of Tourism, Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace were invited, yesterday, to view and inspect the 76 seater aircraft during a special presentation ceremony at the domestic section of the Grand Bahama International Airport.
Grant noted that the board of directors at Bahamasair have been working hard to ease the burden of Bahamasair on taxpayers.
"One of the challenges that we face at Bahamasair is the high cost of maintenance because the current fleet is very old and we would like to refleet," he said.
"I want to make it clear though, that this is a demonstration, an aircraft that we are considering as we seek to refleet."
Grant said that the inspection process was important because if the government does acquire the aircraft, it is vital that the clients be satisfied.
According to Vanderpool- Wallace the aircraft is next generation and would help the tourism product.
"Bahamasair has to look at its cost of operation because even though it is more expensive as an individual purchase the fuel burn is much lower, the maintenance cost is much lower so it can provide high quality of service extensively at a lower price," Vanderpool-Wallace said.
"At the end of the day it is exactly what we need and as an archipelago we continue to say that we really need air and sea development in order for these things to expand to everywhere else in The Bahamas."
Public Relations officer of Bombardier told The Free-port News that the fuel efficient, lower emission aircraft, manufactured in Toronto would be an added plus to the Bahamasair fleet.
He added that the operational costs of the Q400 is already among the lowest of any regional aircraft by increasing intervals between scheduled maintenance and further optimizing maintenance tasks, therefore reducing labour hours.
Already the manufacturer has booked orders for 363 Q400s and the worldwide fleet has logged more 2.5 million hours and over 2.8 million take-off and landing cycles.
Those who inspected the plane seemed impressed with its size and capabilities and hoped that the government would purchase the environmentally friendly aircraft.
Goverment officals also made presentations in Abaco and New Providence yesterday.
© 2010 The Freeport News