Passenger spend on airport concessions, retail increasing

While passenger passthrough at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) is beginning to look like pre-pandemic numbers, airport officials have found that the spend on concessions and retail within the airport has also had a marked increase.

Nassau Airport Development Company President and Chief Executive Officer Vernice Walkine told the media on Tuesday that the airport has added more vendors over the past few years and has asked passengers what kinds of concessions they want to see. According to Walkine, those changes have meant more money left behind before departure.

“We find that people who are coming now are spending more money,” said Walkine.

“While our passenger numbers are very close to 2019 levels, basically the same number of passengers, the concessions are actually generating more revenue.

“So it tells us that people are actually spending more time in the concessions and spending more money.

“So we are continuing to look for ways to add… we ask passengers what it is that they want that we don’t have, that’s how we ended up with concessions like KFC, for example.

“But we continue to look, as an airport, at what it is people want to find in the airport that we’re currently not offering them, so we can give them a reason to spend their money and not take that money back with them.”

She explained that this month is typically a good month for the airport, given that it is the month for spring break travel.

Walkine said groups of spring breakers coming through the airport recently have been a good sign that spring break tour operators are back in full swing.

“Right now the airport is doing extremely well in terms of passenger numbers,” she said.

“It’s not unusual for us this time of year. March is usually a very busy month for the airport and we’re really pleased to see the degree to which this feels like a normal year.

“Last year was of course the real start of our recovery in a meaningful way, but this year is feeling more like 2018 and 2019.”

The airport has seen increases in passenger numbers as the country hits milestone tourist numbers.

Walkine said there have been inquiries about expanding the airport to accommodate the number of passengers that are coming and will potentially come.

According to her, the airport is looking to technology to improve the efficiency of airport services, and not an expansion of the the physical building. 

“I get asked this question all the time, ‘have we outgrown our facility.” Walkine said.

“I always caution people when they ask that question to not think about airports as physical structures, where you continue to build and build and build, because we’re really approaching a time when technology is going to make our lives a whole lot easier in travel, where people can literally walk through an airport because their image is captured and they’re able to be screened digitally, therefore they don’t need to sit in a queue or wait.”

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Chester Robards

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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