Tuesday, April 6, 2021
By YOURI KEMP
Tribune Business Reporter
The new RT-PCR COVID-19 testing requirement for Eleuthera will have an impact on visitors coming to the island, but one airline executive said “we have to exercise a bit of faith in the government”.
Anthony Hamilton, Southern Air’s director of administration, told Tribune Business he just has to go with what the government is trying to accomplish with the travel restrictions to Eleuthera and, while it has impacted passengers booking flights, safety comes first. He said: “We rely on the guidance of the government because we are not specialists in that particular area. So, for the sake of a holistic and practical and relevant approach, we subscribe to the approach being taken by the government, predicated on what their experience is because we don’t have that expertise.”
“We have a reduced schedule now dealing with Eleuthera... It’s a very complex situation that we’re dealing with. Aviation, as I often say, is that if you look at how fast the plane is to take off on the runway, the industry moves equally as fast and in some instances even faster than that so we try to make prudent decisions primarily based on the safety in the first instance and then the business in the second. “We have to exercise a bit of faith in government even though sometimes communication isn’t clear and we have to work out the kinks, but we would rather err on the side of safety and caution.”
The government announced late last week that starting April 1 anyone over the age of 10 years travelling from Harbour Island and Eleuthera must undergo a RT-PCR COVID-19 test in order to obtain a travel health visa.
This new testing requirement will “certainly have an impact” on flights to and from North Eleuthera, said Mr Hamilton.
Southern Air used to fly three times a day in and out of North Eleuthera.
But, as a result of these COVID-19 restrictions, the airline has cut flights down to twice a day as well as cut the number of days in the week from seven to five, cutting out Tuesday and Thursday from the flight schedule.