D’Aguilar outlines adjustments made at LPIA to deal with high visitor traffic
Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that due to the record number of arrivals that have been flowing through the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), the airport’s processes have been streamlined in the short term, while long-term fixes like additional gates and taxiways are being considered.
D’Aguilar made the comments yesterday at the Ministry of Tourism’s offices as he released the latest tourism numbers, that showed 2018 was a record year for tourist arrivals.
And while it was a record year overall, he pointed out that stopover visitor arrivals increased by 16.7 percent year-on-year.
At some point airport operations were overwhelmed by the amount of arrivals coming into LPIA, coupled with other problems. However, D’Aguilar said the airport has since worked through those issues.
He said for the past two Saturdays the airport has handled about 8,000 arrivals.
“We are doing our part to handle the increase of passengers through that airport,” D’Aguilar said.
“Every single day NAD (Nassau Airport Development
Company) produces a report that shows the number of arrivals and departures… every time we know these numbers will be realized it triggers phone calls and meetings.”
He said there is then increased traffic management on the ramps and increased gate management. He said immigration officials increase their presence and pull families and elderly people off of the line in order to manage it more efficiently.
According to D’Aguilar, compared to U.S. airports LPIA compares “very favorably”.
“In the short term we’re seeing what we can do to cause people to flow through that airport process a lot quicker,” he said.
Arrival numbers have increased on the Family Islands as well, where there are unique problems.
D’Aguilar said Abaco, Exuma and North Eleuthera all need airport upgrades to handle the increase in visitors expected to those islands, but those fixes will cost millions of dollars.
“The infrastructure in place in Exuma and North Eleuthera are woefully deficient,” he said. “People are cuing outside and the infrastructure that’s currently in place was outgrown years ago.”
The government is in the process of commissioning new airports on those islands.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism