Tourist arrivals could trend upward for Grand Bahama during the Christmas season, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar told reporters yesterday, adding that the island’s airport could be open to international commercial flights this week for the first time since Hurricane Dorian passed over the island in September.
“They (Hutchison Ports) are bringing a terminal back on stream by this week,” D’Aguilar said. “But, when it happens is when it happens.”
D’Aguilar said next month Grand Bahama will be in a far better position than it is now to receive visitors.
While there have been calls for the government to purchase Grand Bahama’s airport from Hutchison Ports, the minister said no decision on its purchase has been made as yet.
“They (Hutchison Ports) have been impacted many times over a number of years at that airport and they are not as exuberant as they once were to operate it. The government is exploring all options as it relates to that airport,” he said.
“Were the government of The Bahamas to contemplate its acquisition, it would require a lot of work and so we’re not thinking about the act of acquiring it, we’re thinking about what happens when we acquire it.
“The Bahamian people’s concern about that airport would shift from Hutchison Ports to the government of The Bahamas, and so the government of The Bahamas wants to make sure it has a plan if it was to buy…and it will take some time to get that airport back on stream.”
D’Aguilar added that the government will have to consider that the airport is a flooding risk and how to make it more resilient than it is today.
“Acquiring it is the easy part,” he said.
JUMPLINE: ‘Acquiring it is the easy part’