Bahamasair, the National Flag Carrier of the Bahamas came about as a result of the discontinuation of service by British Airways in 1970 and Pan American Airlines in 1973 due to the fuel crisis. These occurrences left an unacceptable void in the Bahamian transportation industry, and thus negatively impacted the tourism industry and the lives of persons living in the Family Islands.
The Bahamas relied very heavily on tourism, so Bahamasair was perceived to be part of the solution to the air transport problem, and as such was slated to provide essential transportation infrastructure and some insurance against the total disruption of the Tourism Industry. Thus in October 1970, Bahamasair was formed under the Companies Act as a wholly owned Government entity. The Bahamian people welcomed this.
The foundation on which the airline started out was a weak one with difficulties such as under-capitalization, inherited industrial problems, inadequate maintenance facilities, and poorly trained staff in some technical areas. However with the passage of time and the purchase of newer aircraft, many of the deficiencies were rectified along with improvements made in the organization itself. Despite the many improvements to the airline, it still faced financial difficulties and continues to do so today.
Bahamasair grew tremendously since 1973, and has a stable domestic sector, and provides international service to Florida as well. In 1989 the airline was able to boast about its adequate organizational structure, high degree of staff loyalty, good leadership and motivation, which enabled the company to maintain a positive image. Many flights were scheduled to destinations within the United States, which included:
- Nassau - Tampa, in July of 1972, Nassau
- West Palm Beach in June 1984
- Nassau - Orlando in April 1985
- Nassau -Newark in April 1985
- Nassau - Dulles Washington DC in December 1988
- Nassau - Philadelphia in April 1985
- Freeport - Miami 1989
On December 1989, Bahamasair announced that they were changing its image with a new colour scheme for the planes, new uniforms that depicted the tranquil blue waters and pastels of the islands to bring about a sense of warmth and beauty of the Bahamas. This change was to coincide with the two new Boeing 727's that were brought in to foster a new attitude towards service.
Much success was attained by the airline in the 1980's, but as the airline entered the decade of the 90's, it began to experience major difficulties, one of which was the loss of revenue and escalating costs. The Directors at Bahamasair discovered that the company was losing money on routes into Washington, Philadelphia and New Jersey. The Board then mandated that the airline only engage in routes that would be profitable for the company. The decision was made to stop services to these three destinations. There still remains the unanswered question of whether or not this was a good move for the country or the airline as tourists continue to emanate from these destinations. Despite their efforts, the airline continued to lose money.
In 1991, the fleet was converted to all DHC-8 series 300 aircraft. Five was purchased. The intended purpose was to enable the company to better serve the needs of the Bahamian people and to compete in tourism air traffic to and from the Bahamas.
The introduction of these fuel efficient and fast aircrafts was to phase out the Boeing 748's and provide more frequency where needed. This switch to an all DH8 fleet resulted in Freeport not being serviced properly and passengers on the international routes taking Delta to Florida.