Lengthy walk in terminal raising eyebrows
Officials at the Lynden Pindling International Airport(LPIA)may have overlooked an important factor in their excitement to open the new U.S. departures terminal–the lengthy walk for passengers that’s already raising eyebrows.
The new arrival location for planes flying into the capital now puts passengers at a south-western point in the terminal–something that has already set tongues wagging in the last few days since the opening. The change brings with it a considerable walk for passengers.
One passenger, traveling with injuries, who came in on a flight this Monday, toldGuardian Businessthe situation was especially troubling for her, given she was traveling with a medical condition.
“I was trying to rationalize it, because when you go to Miami you have those long walks there,”the Bahamasair flier said.”But it’s a contrast. You come in at this nice, new section and then you walk through this obvious construction site. And I just wasn’t prepared for the walk.”
WhileGuardian Businessestimates the walk to be around 10 minutes before arriving at the Immigration check point, the traveler said it took her closer to 20 minutes to get there–a problem, she said, for those medically unable or physically challenged to take on the challenge. The situation is further heightened by the length of time the airport is expected to be in that state. The new U.S. arrivals terminal is not scheduled to open until late 2012.
Officials at the Nassau Airport Development Company(NAD)are aware of the situation and are already planning interim measures to ease the transition for travelers.
“NAD recognizes the walking distance from the farthest gate to Bahamas immigration is longer,”said NAD Vice President of Operations John Terpstra.”The good news is the walking distance is a temporary situation, the long walks go away when we open up the new Bahamas Immigration and Customs facility[and]we open up 21 months from now.
“The walk would be comparable to if people were traveling through Miami… in some cases they have moving sidewalks, which are helpful, and in other cases they don’t… but the walk here is no different from what passengers can expect at different airports.”
Terpstra said more benches will be placed along the route for visitors in need of a break, as well as several water coolers for refreshment. He urged all passengers with difficulties to take full advantage of the wheel chair services provided by every airline, adding that NAD has made available extra wheel chairs for assistance. Having regular golf cart service to transfer passengers to the Immigration point would not have worked because of the size of the corridor and the volume of passengers that swarm the route on any given day, he said.