While The Bahamas celebrates its milestone of a record 7.2 million recorded visitors in 2019, the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) is sharing in the milestone event by recording its own record of 4.1 million passengers passing through Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), a NAD press statement revealed.
According to the statement, 4.1 million travelers passed through LPIA’s three terminals. The numbers represent an 11 percent increase when compared to 2018.
“The attainment of four million passengers is a major milestone and first for the airport,” the statement noted.
“The airport saw increases in all of its passenger segments. Inter-island domestic passengers were up five percent, United States passengers saw a 14 percent increase and international non-United States passengers were up six percent.
“Coming off a strong Easter weekend and a robust summer travel season, NAD had high expectations leading into its new fiscal year that began July 1, 2019 (FY2020). At the end of Q1 of FY2020, Hurricane Dorian severely impacted islands in the northern Bahamas. The island of New Providence received minimal impact and the airport remained open throughout the duration of the storm. LPIA accommodated some 1,155 relief flights in the aftermath and NAD waived all landing and parking fees for those humanitarian efforts. “
“According to NAD, during the passage of Dorian more than 70 U.S. and International flights were cancelled, which softened September’s expected numbers by 8.7 percent.
“By October, numbers began to recover, with passenger totals increasing year-on-year (YOY) by 6.3 percent,” according to the statement.
“Passenger numbers increased 2.7 percent over the prior year in November and 9.4 percent in December. Given 2018 was a year when NAD experienced record passenger numbers, the YOY increases in 2019 were significant.”
In the statement, NAD’s President and Chief Executive Officer Vernice Walkine credited the post-Dorian pickup to an aggressive marketing campaign by Bahamas tourism stakeholders.
“For LPIA, our passenger numbers continue to recover following the disruption caused by Hurricane Dorian,” Walkine said.
“Immediately after the storm, our partners at the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board, Out Islands Promotion Board, Atlantis and Baha Mar made a comprehensive and concerted effort to market the destination to the world. They undertook an aggressive marketing campaign to drive home the point that the country was open for business and that the best way to support us was to continue booking vacations here.”
NAD also reported strong growth in revenues during its 2019 fiscal year, “which allowed LPIA to undertake major capital projects at the airport”.
The statement added: “In May 2019, the company began a phased demolition of the former domestic and international terminal building. The site will be reserved for potential future terminal expansion and is currently wrapped in a beautiful mural hand-painted by renowned local artist, Antonius Roberts and his art students at the University of The Bahamas.”
The statement also revealed that while there was strong interest in the request for proposals for the design and build of an airport hotel, NAD could not determine a suitable winner, “but will continue to pursue the possibility of having such an amenity at LPIA in the future”.
NAD also said that this year it will issue an expression of interest for another fixed-based operator (FBO) at LPIA, given a marked increase “in traffic in the FBO sector and the demand NAD has experienced for airside land”.