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Bahamasair Seeks Code-Share Deal With USAir
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Posted by:Jun 16th 2004, 01:36:46 pm
Fig Tree News TeamBahamasair seeking code-share deal with US Airways

By MARTELLA MATTHEWS
Nassau Guardian Business Reporter martella@nasguard.com

Bahamasair clients may now be able to access destinations such as New York, Washington and Philadelphia if the application by US Airways to begin code-sharing with the national airline is approved by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).

According to Paul Major, managing director of Bahamasair, both airlines are hoping that the request filed on June 3 would be decided over the next two to three weeks.

Explaining that the process of waiting for an approval from the United States regulators was routine, Mr Major revealed that Bahamasair also needed to obtain a similar approval from the Department of Civil Aviation, a division of the Ministry of Transport.

He added however that the national airline was able to receive this approval fairly quickly because of the small size of the local market.

"We don't have the same kinds of issues and considerations that they have," Mr Major said. "We are the only major local airline operating out of The Bahamas so there's really nobody to object there."

In January 2003, the DOT had announced plans to file an unfair method of competition complaint against three major U.S. carriers after they announced a decision to code-share.

According to a report by CNN.com, the decision was reached by the DOT when the participating airlines Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines and Continental the third, fourth and fifth largest carriers respectively, fail to satisfy concerns by the department over the anti-competitive effects such a decision could create.

The Bahamasair executive told The Guardian on Tuesday that although the process of receiving approval for the code sharing arrangement from the DOT involved dealing with objections to the arrangement from other U.S carriers, he was optimistic over the outcome as the market share of Bahamasair was significantly small compared to these major carriers.

If the code sharing arrangement is approved, it would encompass reciprocal frequent flyer programme benefits of the two airlines and code sharing on 48 daily flights between the United States and The Bahamas, a release issued by US Airways revealed. Also to be included in the arrangement, which is awaiting U.S. government approval, would be intra-family island flights for US Airways to Governors Harbour, George Town, Treasure Cay and San Salvador.

Expanding on the reasoning behind the national airline establishing the code sharing arrangement, the airline's managing director explained that the decision made economical sense as it allowed Bahamasair to expand its access to routes without having to make the enormous capital investment of purchasing more aircraft.

Mr Major added however, that this arrangement with the seventh largest airline in the United States would not be repeated any time soon, as he preferred to wait and see how the first arrangement progressed before committing to other such agreements.

"I am growing and expanding in a controlled manner otherwise you get into all kinds of operational hiccups and everything comes crashing down," he said. "Now that we know we can pass these technical, safety and security audit we know we can go out and entertain others."

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