Bahamasair eyeing Caribbean alliance

Bahamasair is interested in "tying into" the regional Caribsky airline alliance as a way to establish improved connectivity with the Caribbean.

During the Sky Is The Limit workshop at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC), held last week, airline officials traded ideas on how to make travel to - and within - the Caribbean less complex, reducing reliance on Miami International Airport as the hub through which many flights are funneled.

Caribsky, an alliance featuring a collaboration between Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT), Winward Islands Airways International (WINAIR) and Air Antilles, is an arrangement that has attracted the attention of The Bahamas' national flag carrier.

Tracey Cooper, Bahamasair's manager director, said: "Bahamasair is not a part of Caribsky yet, but we are speaking with the associated airlines to see how we can tie ourselves into it.

"It doesn't mean that Bahamasair will have to provide any further flights into the Caribbean, but we want to tie ourselves into this to make it work. We want to connect with the Caribbean. I am not seeing why we cannot make it work."

Trevor Sandler, InterCaribbean Airlines' chief executive, said: "InterCaribbean doesn't seek to compete with other carriers. We want to work with carriers to increase the frequency of flights throughout the Caribbean.

"With greater frequency there is more opportunity to find a connection. Co-operation is natural, and so Caribsky is something that is interesting to us and we want to continue that dialogue and create a connected Caribbean. We want to create opportunities for persons trying to travel to the Caribbean and do business in the Caribbean and to visit relatives."

Diane Shurland, LIAT's general counsel, added: "We want to increase passenger numbers, which is the ultimate goal. I see cooperation not competition. There are distinct parts of the markets, and any type of alliance would better serve you.

"Our goal for Caribsky is to see it grow into an alliance that we can be proud of. Although we do not have population numbers like South or North America, we think that coming together will be beneficial to us all."