Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper, along with two of Bahamasair’s retirees, cuts the ribbon to signify the official opening of Bahamasair’s new ticket office in downtown Freeport on Friday, June 9, 2023. The new city ticket office is located in Tropical Plaza, Freeport.

Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon. Chester Cooper believes that the opening of Bahamasair ticket office in downtown Freeport is a testament of the national airline’s commitment to the growth of tourism, and  its commitment to the revitalization of Grand Bahama.

More significantly, he added that the opening of the new office is indicative of the renaissance beginning to take hold on Grand Bahama: an island of people renowned for their resilience, and one which embarks on a bright, new beginning.

“As the Minister responsible for Bahamasair and as a friend of Grand Bahama, I really wanted to be here in Grand Bahama for this opening, because I see it as a signal of resilient hope and reconstruction,” said Minister Cooper.

“When we look at what you’ve experienced over the course of time and you see new buildings coming out of the ground and ribbon cuttings taking place, it’s a positive sign for Grand Bahama. There will be many more ribbons to cut in the near term and I hope that I will be here to celebrate those occasions with you.”

The Minister for Tourism, Investments and Aviation was the keynote speaker at the opening of Bahamasair’s new ticket office in Freeport, Grand Bahama, on Friday, June 9, 2023.  The new office, located in Tropical Plaza, represents a critical move for the national airline in Freeport, cutting away three years of the airline’s not having a presence in the heart of the second city.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Toursm, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper greeted employees in the new Bahamasair ticket office, during a tour of the facilities following an official opening on Friday, June 9, 2023
(BIS Photos/Andrew Miller)

Following Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Bahamasair was forced to shutter the doors to its ticket office and move that process to the airport base. The new offices will provide the customers with a more convenient access to the airline.   Minister Cooper said the move is indicative of what Bahamasair holds important – its customers.

“Bahamasair [has had its] share of turbulence, but as its reputation for flights indicate, we have an outstanding safety record,” said Minister Cooper.
“We’re living in an era when we are seeing a reduction of companies in brick-and-mortar operations globally. We’re in a digital era, where the preferred mode of making transactions is online. But, today, we’re bucking that trend, because we care about our customers and we wanted to send a signal that Freeport is back and Freeport is poised for a rebound, as are the fortunes of Bahamasair.

“Bahamasair realizes that the tourism industry needs a boost and therefore they have established a Freeport to Raleigh (North Carolina) route for the people of Grand Bahama and for the tourism industry.”

The tourism minister noted that over the past 50 years, Bahamasair has been a major stakeholder in The Bahamas’ number one industry, driving the growth of tourism in the country’s numerous destinations.

Throughout the islands of The Bahamas, to countries like Cuba, the United States, Haiti and the Turks and Caicos, Minister Cooper said Bahamasair is critical and it is reliable.  He pointed out that the tourism business has achieved a spectacular rebound post COVID-19, recording visitor arrival numbers in 2022 just shy of the 7.2 million of the country’s standout year in tourism in 2019.

“I salute team tourism for this growth,” added Mr. Cooper.

“As indicated by future bookings, prospects for record breaking arrivals for 2023 and beyond are also looking great. Bahamasair will be called upon to play an even greater role in the expansion of our tourism business. The Ministry of tourism will continue to collaborate with the board and management of Bahamasair to ensure that we consistently see new routes for Freeport.”

Minister Cooper said: “The future of Bahamasair is aspirational. We will not stop until we see Bahamasair playing a more critical role on the international scene. That is my vision for Bahamasair. That is what we aspire to do. Through our partnerships, we anticipate continued growth, continued investment, and a continued reduction of the subvention that the taxpayer pays to Bahamasair.  But I pledge the government’s backing to continue to provide support to Bahamasair, to the management and to the board.”

By ANDREW COAKLEY/Bahamas Information Services


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