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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.

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Chartering Your Island Getaway
The Bahamas Offer a Quick Escape

Have you ever envied how some people are able to fly off to a Caribbean destination without ever having to deal with the delays and hassles that traditional airlines service entails? Have you wondered about the secret formula that guarantees a personalized travel experience that is tailored to your schedule and not the airline's? The answer is jet charter flights. Once considered a means of travel for high rollers and for those with more than a few dollars to spare, charter flying is surprisingly more accessible than the average airline traveler might think.

The term charter flying often conjures two sets of distinct images to the general public's mind. One picture is a group of upper level corporate executives sporting business casual wear and briefcases rushing off to an important meeting at a moment's notice. The other image is of Hawaiian shirt-clad tourists -- with their 35mm cameras in hand -- boarding a small, non-airworthy airplane bound for small outlying villages in the middle of nowhere.

There are, however, others significant business advantages to charter flying that do not involve busy executives or the weekend travel warrior. Many industries use this vital mode of travel in their business operations. Just ask Tom Conlan, a successful and diversified entrepreneur, who operates Sky Limo Air Charters into the Bahamas. Conlan, who is also an expert in Bahamian real estate, provides air service throughout the islands with a special stop at Exuma Island, where the beautiful February Point residential development is located. His real estate company -- Out Island Development -- specializes in property sales throughout the Bahamian island chain and is now focusing much of its effort on February Point. Although he has developed and acquired more than fifteen companies in a variety of industries, Mr. Conlan acquired Sky Limo Corporation in October of 2000 in order to provide the leisure traveler or corporate executive increased personalized private air charter service to The Bahamas or other Caribbean destination of their choice. From a real estate perspective, Sky Limo allows Conlan to shuttle prospective buyers out to February Point and other booming Bahamian land developments.

Air Travel in Style

Conlan says Sky Limo Corporation was launched with the intent to offer today's corporate and leisure traveler increased personalized air charter service to their desired destination. The company's highly diversified management team has more than 75 years of aviation, marketing and customer service experience. Covering a host of jet and piston models, the company's fleet includes the following aircraft types:

Learjet 35
Learjet 55
Challenger 600

Multi-Engine Turbo-Prop
King Air 200
Merlin IIIA
Merlin IIIB

Multi-Engine Piston
Cessna 421
Cessna 414
Cessna 401
Britten-Norman Islander

"The company is dedicated to offering superior and safe personalized air charter service to the traveler whose expectations demand a high level of attention," Conlan says.

So, Why Charter?

Most people find that chartering a private aircraft has several distinct advantages over flying the commercial airlines. Conlan says the following list of reasons is why corporate or leisure travelers prefer chartering Sky Limo's aircraft:

Flexibility in Scheduling...
Tailoring flying to your itinerary instead of traveling around commercial airline schedules allows you more flexibility when arranging a trip.

No Hassles...
No more flight delays, lost luggage, paying for extended parking or racing through crowded terminals for connecting flights.

In most cases traveling in groups of four or more can be more cost effective when chartering your own private aircraft versus flying commercial airlines.

Time is Money...
Today's corporate executive may find himself or herself being late for important business meetings due to commercial flight delays. When chartering your own private aircraft you can be sure that your departure and arrival will be punctual.

The business executive has a more intimate environment in which to review objectives to be discussed in the meeting he or she may be flying to. Another advantage is the comfort and convenience of sitting across from one another when traveling as opposed to having different seating arrangements or sitting in a row.

Flying to the Islands

Whether chartering a flight or flying their own aircraft to the Bahamas, travelers may want to familiarize themselves with the basic flight operations to the nearby island nation. Leaving the Florida east coast, first landfall occurs at Grand Bahama Island (60NM) or Bimini (55 NM). Overlapping VOR/DME, NDB navigation signals provide course guidance from the US coast and throughout the most frequently traveled routes in the Bahamas. There are more than fifty airstrips available in the Bahamas and aviators are welcome at all government-operated facilities and most of the privately owned ones as well. However, Conlan warns that not all of the Bahamian airports are equal or on par with those in the US. For example, many of these airports lack certain services such as dedicated repair facilities. The thunderstorm-laden summertime weather and lack of instrument approaches at many airports can make flying into the Bahamas tricky at times. Nevertheless, flying into the region offers the same safety levels as flying anywhere in the US. Conlan explains that proper flight planning is key, especially when it comes to having the appropriate paperwork on hand.

Living in Paradise

Conlan is one of the few lucky professionals who have joined their vocation and avocation into a successful business. His real-estate business finds him flying one of his aircraft to the Bahamas, especially Great Exuma, on a frequent basis.

"Flying over beautiful turquoise waters and seeing the color changes make commuting to work extra special," Conlan says.

Great Exuma is a community of 365 breathtaking cays and small islands just waiting to be explored. Yachts and sailboats cruising the Exumas find Great Exuma one of their favorite stops along the way. Just a 15-minute walk from Georgetown, the quaint capital of the island, February Point is easily accessible by flying into Great Exuma`s International Airport, which also offers amenities that cater to small general aviation aircraft and large corporate jets alike. In fact, it is one of the better airports in the Out Islands, as it offers 8000 feet of smooth paved runway and bountiful fuel facilities. From the airport, February Point is a lovely 15-minute drive along the seashore.

Located in the heart of the Exumas is Conlan's favorite island getaway: February Point Resort Estates, the upscale resort community offering some of the most coveted oceanfront property found anywhere in the Caribbean. With its many upscale resort developments including the new five-star Four Season's resort at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma is now considered to be the Riviera of the Bahamas. Situated on a private 80-acre peninsula overlooking the Exumas' many tiny cays, coves and virgin beaches, February Point is designed to provide the perfect haven for those yearning for sunshine, unspoiled natural beauty and the unique ambiance of The Bahamas. Conlan says elite travelers choose February Point as their home (and office) away from home because not only can they can relax in an environment that is the antithesis of the "tourist trap," they can easily maintain business contacts by phone or while working on their laptop. All this can be accomplished while enjoying Exuma's comfortable average daily temperature of 78 degrees from their private deck or beach. "Once here, many visitors find it hard to return to their normal lives," Conlan says.

Sun and fun is not the only enticing activity in the Bahamas. On Exuma, the grand opening of the Four Seasons Resort & Casino offers the perfect opportunity for gamblers to play with their hard-earned money. Collin says the casino and several other upscale developments now under construction are expected to increase property values dramatically over the next several years. "This is the time to buy," he says.

A Tax-Free Paradise
Aside from the cool breezes, sandy beaches and exciting nightlife, The Bahamas real estate sector also provides an excellent investment opportunity for those seeking healthy tax-free profits. In The Bahamas, neither individual residents, nor resident corporations, partnerships nor corporations pay tax. There are no capital gains taxes, corporate earnings taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, inheritance or dividend taxes. If that wasn't enough of an incentive to relocate to the Bahamas, then consider this: The possibility of obtaining permanent residence in The Bahamas and associated tax benefits is now obtainable through the purchase of a Caribbean villa or a home site for the construction of a custom villa. Conlan explains The February Point rental pool, which rewards investors with tax-free monthly rental income, makes this an even more attractive investment.

Are You Ready to Escape?

Whether embarking on an island adventure or launching a serious Caribbean real estate hunt, the Bahamas is definitely the place to visit. Of course, extensive planning and research is necessary before embarking on any real estate deal, especially when buying property outside the US. Nevertheless, The Bahamas offers a wealth of beauty, excitement and an escape from all the hustle and bustle of the large metropolitan areas. However, one should heed this warning: Once there, you may never want to come back.

Tom Conlan may be reached at: 1-866-SKY-LIMO or email

About Arturo Weiss
Arturo Weiss is a full-time bilingual (Spanish/English) aviation journalist and consultant. He is the Latin American editor for Aircraft Interiors magazine and writes for various other aviation publications. Arturo is a commercially rated pilot with instrument and multi-engine ratings.

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