LPIA traffic up amidst COVID-19 threat
Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) has seen a 7.5 percent increase in passenger departures for the first two months of the year, compared to the same period in 2019.
The airport is expecting equally high transit numbers during the month of March, which is one of the three busiest months of the year for LPIA, along with July and August.
“March is one of the busiest months for travel at LPIA. We had 205,612 domestic, international and U.S. passengers depart from LPIA in March 2019. For the first two months of 2020 we had 352,083 passengers depart from LPIA, representing a 7.5 percent increase in passengers over 2019,” the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) told Guardian Business in an email communication.
The busy period is due primarily to spring break travel, but also coincides this year with the threat of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) to Bahamian borders.
The Bahamas has already banned incoming flights from South Korea, Italy, Iran and China – four of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus.
However, despite the spread of the virus throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and parts of the Caribbean, flights from those jurisdictions are still being allowed to land in The Bahamas.
“Clearly, we as an airport and major port of entry, we have certain procedures that we have to implement according to the situation. We sit on the government’s task force, the Ministry of Health’s task force to deal with matters of COVID-19,” President of NAD Vernice Walkine said recently.
“So, we work with the Ministry of Health with respect to the procedures that are required for people arriving to the airport and people who are departing from the airport. And so those procedures have been in effect for quite some time now.”
In the meantime, she said NAD has a very aggressive program in place for its employees and visitors to the airport in response to the virus.
“In terms of people who work at the airport, we have a sustained campaign where we speak to all of the employees at the airport and there are some 3,000 or so on any given day with shifts and what have you, to make sure that everybody abides by those steps that are critical for your personal protection, like the frequent washing of hands, use of hand sanitizers and those kinds of things,” she said.
“As an airport we have responded by putting in additional hand sanitizer stations, making sure that we don’t run out of soap, making sure that our cleaning technicians follow their protocols in terms of the cleaning of solid surfaces, hand rails, latches, door handles, those kinds of things.”