Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) will operate with a single runway for four to six months due to a near-$20m upgrade that is set to begin on June 17.
The Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), LPIA’s manager, yesterday confirmed it will soon begin an extensive runway rehabilitation project on Runway 09/27 (soon to named be Runway 10/28) and Taxiway India.
The project will result in LPIA operating as a single runway facility, but NAD said it has put contingency plans in place to reduce the impact to overall operations and aircraft movements.
Once completed, the project will result in asphalt upgrades that will extend the life of LPIA’s runways. Runway End Safety Areas (RESAs) will be added to reduce the risk of damage to aircraft that overrun the runways, while the acquisition and installation of new LED approach lights on the runways will help pilots better identify the airport during low visibility operations.
Vernice Walkine, NAD’s president and chief executive, said the runway rehabilitation is scheduled maintenance that must be done to ensure LPIA continues to operate as a safe and efficient airport and meet all international safety standards.
“We understand the importance of the upgrades and are now in a position to invest the necessary capital to undertake the project at this time,” she explained. “There was no perfect time to do these necessary works, so we will have to manage the project with the goal of minimising disruption to ongoing operations.
“We are working with key airport partners on contingency plans to manage the flow of air traffic and to ensure the usability of the airport’s sole runway during the rehabilitation process.”
The project will begin during one of LPIA’s many peak travel periods but, based on the projected timeline, NAD anticipates that the runway rehabilitation will be in full gear during the slower period of September and October. The airport operator is aiming to complete the works before Thanksgiving.
NAD has implemented contingency measures to ensure continuous aircraft movement at the airport while in single runway operations, such as the use of newly-acquired equipment to remove disabled aircraft should the need arise. Scheduled maintenance, such as paving surfaces and lighting repairs, will be conducted during off-peak hours - from midnight to 5am.
During this period, LPIA will advise neighbouring airports that it cannot be used for any airline diversions unless it is an emergency. In the event of bad weather while the airport is operating with a single runway, air traffic control (ATC) will follow existing protocol, suspending services at LPIA until conditions improve. NAD will also continue to work closely with partners to capture and remove wildlife on the airside and the neighbouring areas that might impede operations.
Ms Walkine said: “We would like the public to note that it is not uncommon for airports of our size and in this region to operate using a single runway. Barbados, Trinidad, St Lucia and St Maarten all operate using one runway.
“During this period, we are asking the travelling public to exercise patience when arriving or departing from LPIA, as there will likely be delays resulting from the runway rehabilitation project.”
Motorists driving near the intersection of Windsor Field Road and Rock Plant Road are also advised to pay particular attention to heavy equipment movement in the area once work begins on June 17. Crews will conduct work between sunrise and sunset. NAD is asking all motorists to observe signage in the area and to exercise caution when approaching the intersection.