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LPIA expects six U.S. flights on first day of borders reopening

Lynden Pindling International Airport. FILE

On the first day of the reopening of The Bahamas’ borders on Wednesday, Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) expects a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to be the first of six U.S. commercial flights scheduled to come into the country since borders officially closed in March due to the novel coronavirus  (COVID-19) pandemic, a statement from Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) revealed.

According to NAD, airlines have already scheduled direct service to Nassau from Charlotte, North Carolina; New York through its John F. Kennedy International Airport; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Newark, New Jersey; Miami, Florida; and Toronto, Canada.

The company said it expects an uptick in arrivals and departures over the next three weeks as it monitors airline scheduling.

There are local concerns about the process of opening borders to tourists, given that there have been spikes in COVID-19 cases recently in the United States’ closest state to The Bahamas, Florida.

However, anyone entering the country is required to present a negative COVID-19 molecular swab test.

NAD said it is now in its final reopening phase, “working closely with key stakeholders to ensure the safety of all airport users”.

NAD President and Chief Executive Officer Vernice Walkine said the airport is focused on having its protocols in place to guard against any viral spread.

“As we enter this final reopening phase and welcome visitors to the destination and residents back home, our focus is on ensuring that all airport partners are ready on July 1 to support the additional safety protocols put in place by the government to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Walkine.

“From an airport perspective, we anticipate a gradual uptick in arrivals and departures over the next two to three weeks. The phased approached to restarting air service has allowed our team to successfully test new safety protocols in real time. As we move forward in this new normal of operating in a pandemic, we are using the best practices learned to date to guide our plan.”

In addition to the negative COVID-19 tests, NAD stated that inbound travelers are also required to complete an electronic health visa. At the airport, NAD noted, passengers will undergo additional screening, including having their temperatures checked.

“The safety and security of all passengers, tenants and staff at LPIA remains a top priority for airport officials,” NAD noted in its statement.

“Existing protocols will continue into the final phase of reopening. In addition to social distancing floor markers and signage implemented in phase one, plexiglass barriers are also in place at major points of interaction between travelers and airport staff.

“All passengers are required by law to wear masks or a face covering in public spaces, including airport terminals, with the exception of passengers under the age of two. Only ticketed passengers will be allowed in the terminals, with the exception of persons accompanying minors traveling alone, elderly passengers or those with restricted mobility.”

NAD said passengers are being asked to arrive at the airport two or more hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights.

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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