Bahamian airline to take over Air J's Nassau route
WESTERN Air — a privately owned Bahamian airline -- will next Monday take over Air Jamaica's Nassau route when the 'Love Bird' ceases flying to that destination.
The carrier said it has been granted a charter licence by the Jamaican Government and the Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority to operate daily flights from Kingston and Montego Bay to Nassau. In addition, it said that it was granted a schedule and charter licence by the Bahamian Government and its civil aviation agency to operate flights from the Bahamas to Jamaica.
In a release yesterday, Western Air announced that the Kingston to Nassau flights are scheduled to begin on Monday, while flights from Montego Bay will begin in May.
It will fly between Kingston and Nassau from Sundays to Fridays and between Montego Bay and Nassau twice weekly, on Fridays and Sundays.
"Flying direct from Jamaica to Bahamas eliminates the need to travel through the United States and requiring a United States visa," the airline noted, adding that this is expected to be welcomed by travellers who would otherwise have no direct flights to and from Jamaica when Air Jamaica discontinues service to that country next Monday.
Chief executive officer of Western Air, Rex Rolle, said the airline intends to start service Monday to ensure there is no disruption in air travel between The Bahamas and Jamaica.
"Jamaica is a destination we have been pursuing for the past two years now," he said. "Western Air originally applied for the routes in 2008, but only received word from the Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority back in January, after Air Jamaica announced they were discontinuing service to The Bahamas."
Western Air, he said, will provide employment opportunities for Jamaicans in the future.
Initially, the Kingston and Montego Bay routes will be serviced by Western Air's SAAB 340A 33-seater aircraft. Flights will be operated in Nassau from the existing Air Jamaica ticket counter. In Jamaica, they will be serviced by Jamaica Dispatch Services at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
Western Air was established in 2001 by Rex and Shandrice Rolle. It is the largest privately owned airline in The Bahamas offering daily scheduled flights from Nassau, Freeport, Marsh Harbour, Bimini, Exuma, North and South Andros as well as on-demand charters throughout the Bahamas, Caribbean, Central and South America. The company currently employs 120 persons.