Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday that it would be “crazy” to redevelop Grand Bahama’s airport along the lines it has previously been built back after suffering infrastructural damage during major hurricanes. He said moving forward the airport has to be raised or protected by dykes.
D’Aguilar, who was a guest on the radio show “Morning Blend” on Guardian Radio, said that while there have been calls for the airport to be relocated to another part of Grand Bahama, moving it is the most expensive option.
“You have a relatively new runway there,” said D’Aguilar. “If you can somehow piggyback off the fact that that runway is there…let’s assume you work with what you have, you just have to figure out how best to make it more resilient to these weather events.”
The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) broke its silence yesterday, confirming that it is in discussions about a “a transition of ownership” of Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA) to the government.
“The GBPA confirms that they, along with their long-term partner in the Grand Bahama International airport, Hutchison Port Holdings, are in ongoing discussions with the government of The Bahamas regarding a transition of ownership to the government,” the GBPA revealed in a press release.
In the release, GBPA Acting Chairman Sarah St. George added: “At this time, discussions are still underway. Once the transition is completed, full details will be shared with all Grand Bahamians.
“The current facility is temporary, but a commendable investment to facilitate reopening of the international and domestic airport in the shortest possible time frame. All parties involved will continue to act in the best long-term interest of Grand Bahama.
“It’s my firm belief that a new, permanent airport will be one of which the nation can be proud and which will serve the needs of this island as we grow to the next stage of our economic development and storm resistance.”
D’Aguilar said the owners of Grand Bahama’s airport have become fatigued in dealing with a compound that has suffered the destructive forces of hurricanes over the past seven years.
“They have fatigue and they don’t want to do this anymore or are considering not to do this anymore,” he said. “Negotiations are ongoing and we’re looking at the options.”