Nassau’s airport already appears on course to beat the 11 percent increase in passenger traffic it enjoyed last year given that early 2019 volumes are up by “double digit” percentages.
Data for 2018 showed that it saw its highest growth and passenger volumes since 2007, which was when Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) took over Lynden Pindling International Airport’s (LPIA), overseeing its $409.5m redevelopment and managing its operations.
NAD executives said passenger volumes last year grew across all segments, with US travellers up by 13 percent; international passengers head by 17 percent; and domestic volumes increased by two percent.
Vernice Walkine, NAD’s president and chief executive, said aggressive destination marketing by tourism industry stakeholders and Baha Mar’s full opening drove the record passenger numbers passing through LPIA.
“Last year we saw a significant increase in passenger traffic at LPIA due largely to the promotion of Nassau/Paradise Island in key markets,” she said. “The demand for the destination also grew with the opening of the Rosewood property at Baha Mar, signalling the completion of the mega resort.”
“Our outlook for 2019 remains positive. Based on performance indicators, we are being conservative in our overall projections. However, we expect to maintain the passenger levels achieved in 2018.”
NAD surpassed budgeted and prior-year passenger projections for 11 out of 12 months during 2018. Results for January 2019 show US passenger numbers up 21 percent, with other international passengers ahead by 17 percent compared to January 2018 figures.
Preliminary results for the first half of February 2019 indicate a similar trend, while seat capacity at LPIA also grew in 2018. From September to December 2018, Nassau saw an overall increase in flight and seat capacity of 10 percent and 14 percent, respectively, when compared to the same period in 2017.
Scheduled seat and flight capacity are also strong for the 2019 first quarter, increasing by 11 percent and 21 percent, respectively, over 2017. For the next six months, NAD anticipates further increases in airline seat capacity as demand remains strong for the Nassau/Paradise Island destination.
Even with the strong uptick in passenger traffic, NAD says LPIA has continued to see improved customer satisfaction scores in 2018. For the third and fourth quarters, overall satisfaction scores were 4.36 and 4.34, respectively, out of a total of five points.
“We have been able to handle the increased passenger activity and keep our customer experience scores consistent throughout 2018,” said Ms Walkine. “This is significant. It shows that while growth from a numbers standpoint is key to our overall success, we continue to focus on providing the kind of experience passengers expect when utilizing our terminals. Our goal is to maintain and improve these scores in 2019.”