Chaotic weekends at LPIA
I am sending this email as a tip as to what happens out at LPIA, particularly on a Saturday during the busy season.
The minister of tourism has been calling for increased airlift, and all of the airlines obliged. The local airline managers know full well that this airport cannot handle the amount of flights coming in and out of here on a Saturday. Airline check-in lines are long, security check point lines are long and the U.S. Customs hall is congested, resulting in some passengers not making it up to the boarding area in time to make their flights. Our biggest disaster has been the baggage belt that runs from the check-in area to the bag room. During the busy season, you can look forward to it breaking down on a Saturday anywhere from around 11a.m. or noon.
This has been ongoing for years and nothing has been done to rectify the problem. There is just a lot of blame being passed around, and the airlines are caught up in the middle. Most times the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) anticipates the belt going down, so they have people in place to advise when to have passengers to start dragging their bags from the check-in counters to the far end of the terminal to the special bag drop area. NAD personnel then have to physically carry these bags through an X-ray machine, then out to the bag sorting area on the air side. We are talking about thousands of bags here.
Airline staff and NAD front-line staff are very frustrated because everyone knows this airport is not ready for the kind of traffic needed to accommodate Baha Mar. The minister of tourism is in the media on a weekly basis bragging about tourism numbers, but what these tourists are experiencing at that airport on a Saturday leaves a very bad taste in their mouths. No doubt this will eventually have a negative effect on our tourism product and the possible decrease in airlift because the U.S. carriers are not going to put up with it. The system causes bags to get out late, and sometimes airlines have to make a decision to take a delay or leave bags, which is another inconvenience to the customer. It is just one big, unnecessary mess.
We, as airline employees, are not allowed to talk with the media as company policy, therefore I want to remain anonymous. I invite you to come out this Saturday at around midday to observe and report to The Bahamian people what our airport workers and tourists have to endure most Saturdays during the busy season.
— Frustrated employee