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Gov focuses on airport developments

Over the past four years, the government of The Bahamas has embarked on a major airport development programme. Pictured: Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin. (Stock Photo)

Friday, June 24, 2016
Friday, June 24, 2016

Over the past four years, the government of The Bahamas has embarked on a major airport development programme.

While making her 2016/2017 Budget Debate last week, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said the improvements to the airports are part of a redevelopment project for all airports in the country.

The first phase of the programme involves 13 airports. She said these airport infrastructural projects are intended to increase capacity of the included islands.

“Over the last four years we have undertook a number of infrastructural projects and improvements including the Mayaguana runway improvement project, the reconstruction and extension and increase of capacity of the Staniel Cay, Exuma runway inclusive of solar lighting and perimeter fencing, and the refurbishment and reconstruction of San Salvador airport.”

She said the redevelopment of the Bimini Airport includes an enlarged terminal building and a runway, which has been extended from 5,400 ft to 6,400 ft. It has been outfitted to facilitate night flights.

The project also includes the completion of the Marsh Harbour International airport, which will be renamed next month as the Leonard M Thompson International Airport, as part of the official Independence celebrations.

Other improvements include the completion of phases two and three of the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

Currently, the government is working on development projects for the Exuma International Airport, the North Eleuthera Airport, the Moores Island Airport, the Great Harbour Cay Airport and the Mayaguana terminal.

The minister said the government has responsibility for 29 airports, which requires tremendous capital investment from the public treasury.

“To this end, my ministry has obtained grant funding from the Inter-American Development Bank for the conduct of a study (technical and financial) to determine the feasibility of attracting private investment through a public-private partnerships (PPPs) scheme for Family Island airports, and to develop a financial model of selected airports and concession alternatives,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.

She said the first phase involved a preliminary outlook of potential opportunities for PPPs and focused on 13 airports, which include: Governor’s Harbour, North Eleuthera, Rock Sound, Bimini, Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay, Exuma, San Salvador, New Bight, San Andros, Andros Town, Deadman’s Cay, Great Harbour Cay and Mathew Town.

The study featured several areas including: a market assessment, preliminary demand projection; review of infrastructure development plans (combined investment of approximately $160 million) and a selection of most feasible options for airports.

Several elements were reviewed including: capital expenditure required, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), Net Present Value and Internal Rate of Return.

The second phase will involve a detailed market assessment and traffic forecast, independent capital expenditure verification, environmental assessment and the concession financial model.

“The intention is to seek public private partnerships, which will attract the capital for infrastructural redevelopment of select airports while at the same time maintaining government ownership, oversight and controls. It is hoped for a ‘win-win’ situation for the Bahamian people,” she said.

The Minister also said that the government is preparing for the acquisition of a number of crash fire rescue trucks for Exuma, Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera and Rock Sound airports for a total cost of $2.5 million.

“The last four years have seen great strides in the aviation sector, and I believe the platform is being created for great economic growth and development throughout our country.”

The first ever Tru Tru Bahamian Marketplace held at Atlantis Paradise Island drew scores of businesses and interested Bahamians last weekend.

2016/17 Budget was passed in the early hours of Thursday morning. Watch a ZNS Network news report here.

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