Monday, February 28, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
The government will not stint in providing its citizens, residents and visitors with infrastructure and services befitting a 21st century Bahamas, with a world-class tourism product and international business centre, according to Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
Ingraham made the remarks at the official opening of the Nassau Airport Development Company’s (NAD) new, $190.8-million US departure terminal at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) last weekend.
“We are definitely on our way to realizing a long deferred national aspiration for an attractive, modern and efficient principal air gateway to The Bahamas,” he said during the terminal’s soft launch on February 25. “This is befitting of our status as the premier destination in our region.”
The terminal’s opening comes in tandem with continued efforts to improve the island nation’s tourism product. Already home to the Atlantis Paradise Island mega-resort, The Bahamas will also soon be host to the $3.4-billion Baha Mar redevelopment project, which promises to transform Cable Beach into a first-class multi-hotel, casino and golf resort.
“That is our promise, to ensure that every visitor to The Bahamas enjoys an airport experience on par with our world-class resorts,” says Stewart Steeves,?president and chief executive officer at NAD, which is responsible for the airport’s operation and redevelopment. “We now have a world-class facility and it will be managed to a world-class standard.”
According to the Minister of Tourism and Aviation Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace, the airport’s redevelopment is the “crown jewel” in a “most astonishing” capital improvement programme.
“Airports and seaports are absolutely critical to any nation such as ours, which is an archipelago,”?says the minister. “If you’re looking for a global example of using vital and necessary public sector projects to offset any kind of decline in private sector demand during a recession, you need to look no further than the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
On the same day as the terminal launch, Cabinet gave its approval for phases II and III of the LPIA Terminal Redevelopment Project. The airport’s redevelopment is expected to total some $409.5 million.
Phase II is expected to cost $138.3 million and Phase III, which will commence immediately upon the completion of Phase II, some $71.98 million.
Phase I involved over 2,600 people and was completed in an impressive 20 months after groundbreaking.
“The terminal is only 20 per cent larger than the existing facility, but it is purpose built and is capable of accommodating up to 1,800 passengers per hour and may be expanded when necessary on the eastern and western sides,” explains Frank Watson, chairman of the Airport Authority and the Nassau Airport Development Company.
“We believe we have delivered for the Bahamian people a terminal facility that will be the envy of the Caribbean.”
The terminal’s design incorporates state-of-the-art baggage systems, environmentally friendly cooling systems and al fresco dining facilities.
“When we assumed operations and management of the airport in 2007 and began preparing for the construction of new facilities, we did so with a view that the airport would be the front door for The Bahamas, for Nassau and the Caribbean,” says George Casey, president and chief executive officer of Vancouver Airport Services (YVRAS), which staffs NAD’s management team.
“We believe the airport needed to provide the incoming traveller with a sense of what they can expect from the Caribbean. It needed to put them in the right mood for the adventure they were about to have. The airport also needed to leave the departing visitor with a particular sense of place that best reflects the natural beauty, culture and lifestyle of The Bahamas.”
At the launch, Ingraham added:?“We are transforming New Providence and the historic city of Nassau into more than a world-class destination. We are seeking to make our capital island an urban centre that works in terms of basic infrastructure, and that is safe and a creative home for the arts and culture with an extensive network of parks, heritage sites and windows to the sea.”
The new terminal will open to travellers on March 16.