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Plans For Two New Family Island Airports

TOURISM and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

TOURISM and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

THE government still intends to build two new family island airports by way of public private partnership, Tourism and Aviation Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar said Friday.

Exuma and North Eleuthera are to receive upgraded airports next, the minister said as he explained that those with the highest activity will be prioritised. He said Friday he wants to begin one new facility every six months.

More than eight months ago, Mr D’Aguilar told the House of Assembly of these plans. At the time he told members each project could cost around $35m. The high cost presents a compelling case for the use of PPPs in this instance.

The minister was asked Friday about the state of airports in the country and how officials intended to keep up with better tourist arrivals, which they said have been exceptional this year.

“So as you know there are 28 airports in the family islands. There is a lot of airports,” he said.“The amount of funds to upgrade them all to world class level is beyond our budget. So we are in a systematic way gonna do the busiest airports first.

“In 2011/2012 they did the Marsh Harbour airport. Based on a study that was done the next busiest one is Exuma. The one after that is North Eleuthera. So we are going to focus on those two next.

“Exuma I think we are very close to finishing the design of that. We’re very close to putting that out to bid. Obviously to build these airports will require funds and so the government is exploring public private partnerships.

“Going to these private sector companies and saying look we would like to develop this airport are you prepared to partner with us in coming up with the funds and leading the construction?

“Because if you do one airport at a time it will take forever. So my vision is we gotta start Exuma and then six months later start North Eleuthera and that’s going to require a lot of funds in order to do that so we have to look to the private sector to see where they can assist in helping us to achieve our goal to deliver a much better airport product.

“In many instances tourism and tourism infrastructure has outgrown the airport and we need a bigger airport to accommodate the growth.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 1 month ago

Whenever you hear a politician say "public private partnership" (PPP) you should think of it as code for elitist politicians and their select few private sector business cronies getting in bed together (conspiring) to strip away from the Bahamian people a potentially very profitable national asset at the expense of the country's taxpayers. LMAO

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bogart 1 year, 1 month ago

Youse gats dat right.....what a tragedy......pore Bahamiams gets taxed VAT ......AMD INCREASED VAT TAXES......to pay for the squandering...contracts costing way above the prices.....inefficiencies....whichin errypne knows ...the pore ordinary Bahamian...suffers more from the VAT....as it affects significantly more of his small minimum wage budget an unemployed......BUT thsn those wid ...cash to invest reaps da benefits of these....govt investments...ironic...

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

Why do we have 28 Family Island Government-owned airports?????? ......... Each island needs one airport ...... why do some islands have three, four and five airports???????? ......... Why does Eleuthera have THREE international airports, while Long Island has NONE??????

Same thing with schools, clinics, docks, etc ........... Too much wastage, cost, and redundancy.

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Clamshell 1 year, 1 month ago

On Eleuthera, the airport at Rock Sound is propped up purely for political purposes. It would be less than an hour’s drive for those people to fly out of Governor’s Harbour. Even in the U.S., most people have a drive longer than that — often far longer — to get to an airport. The resorts in the south that once supported Rock Sound airport have long since died. Pure politics.

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CatIslandBoy 1 year, 1 month ago

People who are led by those without vision will ultimately perish. Each island only needs a single government-controlled airport. There are some States in the U.S,, like Delaware, that does not have an International Airport, and rely on neighboring airports for international lift. We could save a lot of money here by adopting a common-sense approach to prioritizing and coordinating a more centralized inter-island air travel.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

Well ............. why do we see NO changes in how Government operates??? ........... despite rising national debt, personal debt, VAT and surcharges???

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TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

PPP (Peoples Public Purse} represents unity between comrade private ownership and the governing Imperial reds and private individuals...... Just one big happy corporate welfare funded by PeoplesPublicPurse, hardly ever made available to those lacking bloodlines ( or fronting) select group merchant and legal practitioners families..... some going back days when the Bay Street Boys claimed have left the spoils of 'over-the-hill' to the blacks - whilst they went about monopolising the entire rest commercial operations across colony islands,

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 1 month ago

It's only my money. No problem. Go ahead and spend it. Don't even bother to give me a detailed expense report when you're done. I don't need to know. I don't even care, really. I can eat corned beef and be grateful it's VAT free.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

Will DD address the real logistical problems with the large number of airports of this country??????? .......... It cannot remain status quo with DD who is a businessman and progressive thinker......... SMH

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Dawes 1 year, 1 month ago

For most airports they should enter into deals with the private sector to build the building to a set standard and that way the person will get the restaurant and bar at the building for 20 years rent free. Most airports don't need excessively large buildings outside of Nassau, Freeport and Marsh harbour. So a building with the restaurant and bar, check in desk, sitting area, bathrooms and security clearance should be enough.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 1 month ago

What do you think they are building in Exuma for $35million?????? .......... All they need is a big prefab tin building ......... But no, we will get something "fancy" like LPIA ......... We will be paying for LPIA for the next 30 years.

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