Bahamians will be treated to live entertainment when the long-awaited new terminal that will serve domestic and international flights at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA)opens for a sneak peek on Saturday, October 19 -two days after a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony and just before it goes live.
“We wanted to give the general public an opportunity to see this extraordinary new terminal that makes travelling through Nassau to the Family Islands or to Canada, the UK or any destination other than the US an exciting and world-class experience, ,” said Vernice Walkine, president and chief executive of NAD, the Nassau Airport Development Company.
“So we are opening the new domestic and international arrivals and departure terminal for all to enjoy, and we have an afternoon packed with family entertainment and activities.”
Once the new facility goes live next week, Bahamian carriers will operate out of the same terminal as British Airways and Air Canada, with their respective passengers having access to the same amenities, though waiting areas and gates will be separate.
“The overall experience will be equal for passengers whether they are going to Toronto or George Town, London or Long Island,” said Ms Walkine.
Built at a cost of $83.5 million, the 105,000 square foot facility brings to Family Island travel the sophisticated design that Bahamians and visitors enjoy in the adjacent US departures terminal. The new terminal features two and a half storey-high vaulted ceilings and barrel vault roof; 50/50 split between glass and solid walls for maximum ambient light without heat intrusion; a deep-well cooling system that draws water from more than 300 feet below surface, cooling and redistributing it through diffusers to provide cool air at human height to maximize efficiency; and state-of-the-art baggage high speed baggage carousels and CTX security screening.
NAD, which had oversight for the terminal as well as for the operations of the busy airport that serves some 3.2 million passengers a year, delivered the new terminal on budget and on time. NAD said the new facility was designed and built for future expansion, with the capacity to accommodate up to 50 per cent more traffic, much of it anticipated as a result of the Baha Mar project due to come on stream in late 2014.
NAD completed the latest phase in the overall $409.5 million transformation of the country’s largest, and busiest, airport as it had the two earlier phases and, like the previous work, attention was paid to marrying the modern with the best of the Bahamas.
“We want the LPIA experience to equal or exceed any that our visitors and our local passengers would find anywhere in the world, whether they are travelling from Europe, the Far East or one of our Family Islands. But during the design phase, we also wanted to ensure that all of our terminals reflected a sense of place. That is why we were so enthusiastic about the art work, the retail space offering products made in the Bahamas and even the dining,” said Ms Walkine.
Among the artists whose work is on display in the new terminal are Antonius Roberts, Dede Brown and John Paul. There will be several retail shops and among the available dining options, anything conch and a Kalik.
According to NAD’s current annual report, the new airport complex will be 571,000 square feet, with one million square feet of aircraft operating surface and the ability to handle five million passengers annually. In 2011, LPIA facilitated more than 82,000 aircraft take-offs and landings.
Saturday’s open house will be from noon to 4 pm. There is no charge.