Although there are several options that allow tourists to get to the Commonwealth of the Bahamas Islands, flying proves to be the fastest and easiest choice every time. You can also commonly find promotions and package deals to make it the cheapest option on a regular basis as well. As you begin to plan your trip to New Providence, the busiest island amongst tourists, here is your chance to learn what flying here entails.
...do a little island-hopping...
Home to one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean, New Providence Island is a popular place for tourist to fly into. As an international airport, Lynden Pindling International Airport welcomes commercial jets from around the world on a daily basis, though 80 percent of people who fly in are from the United States. Those returning to the United States after vacationing in the Bahamas will be happy to learn that this airport is a US Pre-clearance Facility. This means they can go through Customs and Immigration before leaving the Bahamas and not have to do it again when they touch down in the United States.
After arriving on New Providence, many tourists plan to make the most of their vacation and do a little island-hopping. If this sounds appealing to you, you'll be able to charter a flight aboard a private plane to one of the 60 other domestic airlines and air strips in the Bahamas. Here, these private charters as known as Fixed-Base Operators (FBOs).
In addition to the FBOs, BahamasAir serves as the official domestic airline offering flights to 14 destinations in the Bahamas on a regular basis, and even a few flights from the United States.
The Bahamas is a unique destination in the Caribbean because it welcomes private planes to make the journey to the island. Most private fliers will fly their small air crafts from Florida in the United States, which is less than an hour away.
If you'll be flying your own plane to the Bahamas, you'll need to file an International Flight Plan, then activate it on Miami Radio's frequencies 122.2, 122.4, or 126.7. As you come in close to the Bahamas, you'll close out your flight plan on Nassau radio frequencies 124.2 or 128.0. In order to enter the islands, every passenger must be in possession of the following:
Three of the C7A Bahamas Customs form.
Bahamas Immigration Card.
Proof of citizenship.
A few other important factors to keep in mind include the following:
Every passenger must be in possession of a Coast Guard approved life jacket.
The landing fee and tie down fees are waved for single engine private planes under 6,000 pounds at any government-owned airport. Private airports and air strips reserve the right to charge these fees.
Private air crafts will not be required to pay Overtime Customs and Immigration Fees if they are visiting for recreational purposes.
Fuel is not available on every island, but is never more than 20 minutes away by air.
Lighted runways at the Lynden Pindling International Airport as well as the Grand Bahama International Airport on Grand Bahama allow for night landings. All other arrivals and departures must take place during daylight.
To return back to the United States, you will need to complete a Gen Dec and turn in a copy of your Immigration Card. You'll file your International Flight Plan at 800-WXBRIEF, and you will need to make U.S. Customs aware of your flight. Activate your flight with the Nassau radio frequencies mentioned above, and listen to VOR 116.7. At least 15 minutes before you touchdown in Miami, you'll receive a discrete transponder code from FSS 126.7 Miami Radio, and you'll close your flight plan with Miami Radio or the U.S. Customs Office at 800-WXBRIEF.
If you have any questions about flying to these isles, contact the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism at 800-32-SPORT and ask to speak to the Aviation Specialist.
The following chart tells you which airlines offer scheduled service directly from the U.S. and the airports they fly from. Online booking engines don't always know about the least costly options so it can be helpful to see which airlines provide direct service to this location.
|Baltimore, MD, USA||BWI||AirTran, US Airways|
|Detroit, MI, USA||DTW||KLM, US Airways|
|Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA||FLL||Bahamasair, Jet Blue, SkyBahamas|
|Manchester, NH, USA||MHT||US Airways|
|Miami, FL, USA||MIA||American Eagle, Bahamasair|
|New Orleans, LA, USA||MSY||US Airways|
|Orlando, FL, USA||MCO||Bahamasair, Jet Blue|
|St. Louis, MO, USA||STL||US Airways|
|West Palm Beach, FL, USA||PBI||Bahamasair|
|Windsor Locks, CT, USA||BDL||US Airways|
This list indicates airline companies that offer direct service from the Great White North.
|Montreal, Canada||YUL||Air Canada|
Check the following table for scheduled air service from airports in the region. If there are no flights from an airport near you, making a connection through a regional airport might be a viable solution.
|Abaco, Bahamas||MHH||Abaco Air, Bahamasair, SkyBahamas, Western Air|
|Andros, Bahamas||COX||Performance Air, Western Air|
|Andros, Bahamas||MAY||Flamingo Air, Performance Air|
|Andros, Bahamas||SAQ||Western Air|
|Cat Island, Bahamas||ATC||SkyBahamas|
|Cat Island, Bahamas||CAT||SkyBahamas|
|Eleuthera, Bahamas||ELH||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas|
|Freeport, Grand Bahama Island||FPO||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas, Western Air|
|Georgetown, Grand Cayman||GCM||British Airways|
|Great Exuma, Bahamas||GGT||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas|
|Kingston, Jamaica||KTP||Caribbean Airlines|
|Long Island, Bahamas||LGI||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas|
|Long Island, Bahamas||SML||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas|
|Normans Cay, Bahamas||NMC||Performance Air|
|Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands||PLS||Bahamasair, British Airways, Intercaribbean Airways|
|Rock Sound, Eleuthera||RSD||Bahamasair|
|San Salvador, Bahamas||ZSA||Bahamasair, SkyBahamas|
|Staniel Cay, Bahamas||TYM||Flamingo Air, Performance Air|
|the Bahamas||MYE3||Flamingo Air|
|the Bahamas||MYEB||Flamingo Air|
|the Berry Islands, Bahamas||GHC||SkyBahamas|
|the Bimini Islands, Bahamas||BIM||SkyBahamas, Western Air|
Whether you fly commercial or private, the trip to the Bahamas is the fastest one you'll make to the Caribbean from anywhere in the United States. Because of this, it is a hugely popular destination, and as the location of the main international airport, New Providence has become a tourism Mecca. After booking your initial flight, you'll need to decide if you'll stay here during the entirety of your vacation or if you'll need to make arrangements to visit any of the quieter Out Islands.
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