In recent years, there has been significant growth in air traffic to and from The Bahamas. As a result, the tourism sector has experienced rapid growth and the government has taken proactive steps to support this growth – notably, with upgrades to several of the country's busiest airports.
In June 2019 the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) commenced a major rehabilitation project on former Runway 09/27, now Runway 10/28, as well as taxiway India at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA). It became imperative to carry out the project in order to meet the International Civil Aviation Organisation's safety standards.
The project is scheduled to take four to six months and will cost B$20 million. It has also resulted in a single runway operation which will be a challenge for NAD, although it has implemented a contingency plan to accommodate and manage airflow operations at the LPIA with as little disruption as possible.
The project will include:
- an asphalt upgrade to increase the runway's lifespan;
- the installation of runway end safety areas to minimise damage to aircraft in the event of an overrun; and
- the installation of an LED approach lighting system to improve low visibility operations.
In 2018 passenger arrival numbers exceeded all previous years since the LPIA's redevelopment in 2007. The first quarter of 2019 also saw significant growth of 21%. In his 2019 budget communication, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D'Aguilar stated that there were certain areas in the aviation sector that he considered a priority – in particular, the construction (potentially using the public-private partnership model) of new airports on the islands of Exuma, North Eleuthera, Great Harbour Cay and Long Island. The minister further enunciated that as an island nation, aviation is a key component of The Bahamas' industry.
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