Slow start for LPIA since reopening

Up to Sunday, July 5, Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) welcomed fewer than 1,900 people since the reopening of the country’s borders to visitors last Wednesday, July 1.

The low arrival numbers represent a drop in the bucket for an airport that recently saw record arrival numbers with thousands of passengers daily.

LPIA Vice President of Marketing and Commercial Development Jan Knowles said, “While the numbers do not compare with the record passenger numbers experienced in 2019, we are grateful to be open and to see the continued interest in the islands of The Bahamas.

“LPIA reopened with six scheduled flights per day and it is expected the airport will see up to 10 daily scheduled flights during July and additional flights in August. COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on the global aviation industry and on LPIA.”

Ministry of Tourism Director General Joy Jibrilu said despite the slow start, the numbers are “very promising”.

“In light of the fact that The Bahamas has such stringent criteria in place and we all anticipated that it would be a slow ramp-up as the airlines learned the protocols required and they ramp-up their airlift, this is promising,” Jibrilu said.

“We’ve only had six flights per day but it is already showing that it is going to ramp-up in a month’s time. This allows us to iron out whatever issues we may have had and ensure that the system works. We also need to look at the fact that aviation is a very robust business. So, if you were to get the numbers from facilities like Odyssey Aviation, that may take you by surprise.”

In 2019, LPIA recorded record arrivals with 4.1 million passengers passing through the airport’s three terminals.

As a measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in The Bahamas, visitors and locals are required to provide proof of negative COVID-19 results less than 10 days old.

In addition, once they land at LPIA, passengers are questioned by nurses and have their temperature taken.

Since borders reopened, according to Knowles, over 1,100 passengers departed LPIA for commercial international flights.

Jibrilu said aside from flights, one must also look at the numbers of those coming in via boat and yachts.

“If you were to look at the marinas and the yachters, the numbers there are also very, very healthy,” she said. “So, all in all, it just allows for what you’d want; to get into the system, make sure things are working and that you are prepared for when you open up more than that.”

Boaters, yachters and those with private charters are allowed to fly and enter The Bahamas beginning June 15.

According to the Nassau Airport Development Company, operations at LPIA have been smooth and without incident.

In addition, Knowles said passengers have been compliant with the social distancing and other measures now required as a result of COVID-19.

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