Bahamas flights back at DBIA
by Daytona Beach News-Journal
Three new charter airlines have stepped in to fill the void created when Vintage Props & Jets ceased flying from Daytona Beach International Airport to the Bahamas.
Stephen Cooke, the airport's director of business development, said officials have signed agreements with Jacksonville-based Craig Air Center and Airgate Aviation of Sanford to offer charter flights to the Bahamas.
Vintage Props & Jets had been flying to Abacos, an island in the Bahamas, for 16 years from various Florida airports, including Daytona Beach since 1999.
Cooke said he also is meeting this week with officials of Island Pass LLC and ExpressJet Airlines Inc., which have formed an alliance to begin offering jet service from here and Fort Lauderdale International airport to the Bahamas starting this fall.
"There is no agreement yet, but they have expressed an interest in flying out of here. We certainly will encourage them," Cooke said Friday.
Debra Gery, director of client services for Island Pass, said her group is in the process of getting the necessary licenses and permits. "We hope to start in October," Gery said.
Cooke said Craig Air and Airgate Aviation will fly out of the international terminal at the airport. "They (Craig Air) had one flight last week with two passengers," Cooke said.
Airgate has yet to take off but when it does, it plans to offer two flights daily, Thursdays through Sundays.
Flights that initiate at the international terminal are not subject to security screening, he said, because they normally fly into other airports with similar environments.
Island Pass, however, is proposing to use the domestic airline terminal, which means it might eventually offer flights to other destinations.
Consumers would travel aboard a 50-seat regional jet. "This is the same jet that Vintage flew. We just picked up the contract," said Kevin Ream, president and founder of Island Pass.
Island Pass wants to provide new jet charter service every Saturday with two nonstop flights to Marsh Harbor and Treasure Cay from here, as well as one from Fort Lauderdale.