All Aboard! Bahamasair flying athletes in for CARIFTA Games


Senior Sports Reporter

When most of the athletes and delegates come in from throughout the Caribbean for the Oaktree Medical Center’s 50th CARIFTA Games, they will be catching three comfortable, chartered 138-seat flights by Bahamasair.

As the national airline celebrates its 50th anniversary in the 50th year of the Bahamas’ Independence, managing director Tracy Cooper said they are once again delighted to demonstrate that they “don’t just fly here, we live here.”

Cooper was joined by Prince Storr, the deputy managing director, Samantha Lookie, the director of commercial and charters, and Wilfred Munnings, the sales executive, as Bahamasair was introduced as the airline of the games set for April 8-10 at the Thoms A Robinson National Stadium.

North American, Central American and Caribbean President Mike Sands, a former executive of Bahamasair, said the Local Organising Committee is pleased to welcome the airline on board as one of the major sponsors for the games during a series of press conferences yesterday on top of the old war bunker in front of the stadium.

“I want to thank Mr Cooper and his team simply because it wasn’t as simple as just calling Bahamasair and asking them to be a part of what’s happening,” Sands said. “Bahamasair has a regular schedule to maintain and it’s called the schedule integrity.

“So when you have little and asked to do so much, it has to have a spirit of cooperation and understanding. Mr Cooper and his team recognise the significance of being involved in the contributions that they make to make this event a success.”

Bahamasair, according to Sands, has agreed to leave Nassau to take the Bahamas swim team to Curacao where they will be seeking to win their fifth straight CARIFTA swim title. The second aircraft will head to Antigua to get the athletes and delegates from there. A final aircraft will travel to Jamaica to pick up their entire delegation of athletes and dignitaries. They will bring in over 400 persons in total.

Cooper said their team is all geared up for the challenge ahead of them, just as they have done in the past in assisting the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations in bringing the athletes and delegates to the Bahamas.

“We have been working along with Mr Mike Sands as the president of NACAC and his team. Nikiitt (Thompson), it’s all good when we know that we can work together to bring all of these matters to fruition,” Cooper said.

“It’s not just the Bahamas. This is the 50th CARIFTA Games, this is the 50th anniversary of the Bahamas, but we have gotten on board with Mr Sands and his team that we will help out wherever it is necessary in the Caribbean and the Americas for the NACAC team.”

Storr said it’s even special for the national flag carrier as they are also celebrating their 50th anniversary.

“So this is a golden jubilee all the way through and we’re excited about it,” Storr said.

“As Mike said, it was a pain, but it was a joyous pain. As Bahamians, we have to shine.

“With CARIFTA being here, we will do whatever we need to do to make it happen.”

Lookie said Bahamasair was prepared to go to Haiti, but they opted to go through Miami, so they are concentrating on the other countries in the region.

Munnings said there’s no better way for the athletes and delegates to come to the Bahamas than on Bahamasair, so it was a natural fit for the national airline.

LOC chairman Harrison Thompson said that while they welcome Bahamasair on board, they hope that the Bahamas will shine as their athletes go for gold and leave at least 50 gold medals here at home and not allow them to go with the visiting athletes when they depart on Bahamasair on Monday night.

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