Bahamasair is the national carrier of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas. It’s main hub is located at Lynden Pindling International Airport in Nassau. They operate 32 routes to the United States, Caribbean, and many domestic destinations. It is owned by the Bahamian Government.
The airline was started by the Bahamian government on the 17th of June 1973. The airline was created by combining the routes and operations of Flamingo Airlines and Out Island Airways. The government of the Bahamas acquired a 51% stake in Out of Island Airways and renamed the airline Bahamasair. The remaining 49% of the airline was owned by three people. Over time the government bought out the shares from two of them leaving the only Bahamian independent shareholder being Edward Albury.
During the early years of the airline they struggled with operation difficulties. These factors included poor maintenance facilities, poor company structure and of course the oil crisis in the 70s. Although these factors were affecting the airline they started to take on delivery of jet aircraft including the BAC One-Eleven and the Boeing 737-200. 1973 saw a rapid expansion of the airline as many US carriers canceled there services to the Bahamas. Bahamasair was originally unable to operate these routes due to the high competition from US airlines. The rest of the 1970s saw more routes being added in Florida and between islands within the country. These inter-island flights were being operated by the Fairchild Hiller FH-227, de Haviland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, and the Douglas DC-3.
Sadly in 1978 saw the first accident for the airline. On July 31st a FH-227 impacted the runway at Chub Cay shortly after take-off with it’s gear retracted. it Skidded off the runway and came to a stop. The aircraft was declared a hull loss as it was damaged beyond repair. Thankfully no people died in this incident.
At the start of the 1980s Bahamasair started flights to Philadelphia, Washington DC and Newark. Although in 1989 these routes were determined to be no longer profitable and were closed. 1989 saw the arrival of the first of two Boeing 727-200 aircraft into the fleet.
At the start of the 1990s several de Haviland Dash 8 aircraft were brought into the fleet to replace the entire jet fleet of the airline. Along with the Dash 8, the fleet at the time consisted of the Shorts 360 and Cessna 402 aircraft. During a period between 1993 and 1994 an Airbus A320 was leased. The 737-200 was brought back into the fleet in 1997 due to some routes having higher demand than expected. These routes included Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Orlando. 1998 saw the second incident for the airline as a Hawker Siddeley HS-748 was heavily damaged during Hurricane Mitch.
Another crash happened in 2007. On April 20th a DHC-8-300 had a faliure of the left landing gear while landing at Governer’s Habour Airport. The aircraft skidded to a halt on the runway, damaged beyond repair. None of the 51 people on board were injured. At the start of the 2010s the Bahamian government announced the replacement of the 737-200 with more modern aircraft. The Boeing 737-500 was announced as the replacement aircraft in 2012. Bahamsair retired the last two 737-200 aircraft from the fleet in September of 2012. In 2015 the airline was reported to have been making a loss in profit. They entered a stage of restructuing which inlcuded renewing of the aging fleet. The Dash 8s were replaced by the five new ATR 42 and 72 planes. In 2017 an ATR 72-600 sustained damaged after being struck by a tornado in Nassau. The aircraft was repaired and entered service again.
Bahamas - Arthur’s Town, New Bight, Colonel Hill, Long Island, Freeport, Great Exuma, Governor’s Harbour, Marsh Harbour, Matthew Town, Mayaguana, Nassau, North Eluthera, Rock Sound, and San Salvador.
Cuba - Havana
Haiti - Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien
Trinidad and Tobago - Port of Spain
Turks and Caicos - Providenciales
United States - Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Miami, Orlando, and Palm Beach
Personal Notes About the Series
The next addition of this series of posts will be out by the 23rd of January. Feel free to request either an airport or airline to be covered. Thanks for reading!