Official opening ceremony of domestic arrivals & departures & International departures terminals at Lynden Pindling International Airport
Airport Terminals now complete
Nassau, The Bahamas – Prime Minister Perry Christie officially opened the $83.5 million Domestic Arrivals and Departures and International Departures Terminal, during a special ceremony at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) on Thursday, October 17. The ceremony signifies the final opening of three phases in the redevelopment of the airport project.
In his remarks Prime Minister Christie challenged the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), the Ministry of Tourism and the hotel and tourism industry to work assiduously with domestic, existing and international carriers to secure more airlift to accommodate the large traffic demand in New Providence and the Family Islands.
The Prime Minister said he envisions a greater role to be played by Bahamasair, the national airline, in a strategic public/private sector partnership in the development of new international routes as well as the provision of efficient, cost effective transportation in some of the country’s main markets.
It is in the best interest of both the staff of Bahamasair and the economic interest of the country, for the same improvements at the national airline which have been achieved in the transformation of the Lynden Pindling Airport, the Prime Minister noted.
The Government has committed to implementing the NAD model which the Airport Authority has created at LPIA as a part of a strategy and policy at other airports in the Family Islands he said.
“Under the direction of the Airport Authority we have embarked upon an ambitious programme to upgrade and manage our network of airports to adequately keep pace with the level of development taking place in each island.
“LPIA will be the centre-piece and hub with compatible satellite airports in the Family Islands efficiently serving the needs of modern air transportation. At the same time as we modernise our airports, much of which will be accomplished through public/private partner sector partnerships, it would be to our competitive advantage as the leading tourism destination for the public and private sector organisations to collectively pool and manage the resources of the ministry of tourism, and the promotions boards, which are all devoted to the support of marketing and airlift,” said the prime minister.
He proposed that the time has come when a statutory autonomous entity should be created to serve this purpose with a board of directors representing both the government and private sectors.
The airport and its facilities must be seen as the first and last impression of The Bahamas for more than three million people who visit annually. LPIA and the improvements enable visitors and Bahamians alike to have a taste of Bahamian culture when they arrive and when they depart, the prime minister added.
Among officials at the ceremony was Governor General Sir Arthur Foulkes and Lady Foulkes, cabinet members, members of parliament, senators, Opposition Leader Hubert Minnis, senior government officials and representatives of Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) including Vernice Walkine, president and CEO and Anthony McKinney, chairman of NAD. Dame Marguerite Pindling, widow of former Prime Minister Sir Lynden Pindling along with his children and other family members, attended the event.
Minister of Transport and Aviation, Glennys Hanna-Martin, said the airport is a significant platform for the tremendous growth and expansion of the economy to come and for new opportunities for new generations of Bahamians.
“It must also serve, however, as a reminder of our struggles and achievements and our continuing obligation to build this beloved country of ours. We must become the subjects and not the objects of our economy,” said Minister Hanna-Martin.
“The airport’s construction is a classic instruction of using infrastructural development as a platform for development of human capacity. In developing the airport, we employed a policy strategy that involved what we know as “Bahamianisation,” that is, all of the foreign contract workers were hired with the understanding that they would have to pass their skills on to a Bahamian understudy – a transfer of technology. This policy ensured the sustainability of the work and the worker.
“Indeed, this type of possibility which ties infrastructural development to human development must be implemented across the board. If there is a mega development to be built in this country, then Bahamians should be trained in high rise construction after the project is complete. Bahamians should have the capacity not only to meet national needs but also to access the plentiful opportunities in the burgeoning global economy,” the minister noted.
Entertainment included performances by by Baha Men, Children’s Conservatory, the Royal Bahamas Police Force Band, Tingum Dem/Visage and a video tribute entitled “Sir Lynden’s Vision: The Journey Continues” in honour of the late former prime minister, for whom the airport is named.
Twenty six hundred Bahamians are employed in the 105,000 square foot terminal in government agencies and businesses including retail shops and restaurants. NAD has oversight for the terminal and operations of the airport that serves some 3.2 million passengers a year.
A ribbon was cut by Governor General and Lady Foulkes, Prime Minister Christie and Dame Marguerite Pindling among others, to officially open the terminal and portraits and photos of Sir Lynden to be erected in the terminal were unveiled.