The Lynden Pindling International Airport. (File photo)
Key Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) stakeholders will meet this week to finalise plans for ensuring 90,000 travellers enjoy a smooth customer experience over the Thanksgiving weekend.
These passenger volumes are projected to move through LPIA’s three terminals between Wednesday, November 27, and Monday, December 2, as the peak travel season kicks off with the Thanksgiving holiday. Further surges in passenger traffic are expected between mid-December through to New Year’s Day despite The Bahamas’ main airport operating with just one main runway.
Officials from the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), Immigration, Customs, the Airport Authority, US Customs & Border Protection (USCBP), Air Traffic Services (ATS), airline operators, airport police and the Road Traffic Department will review standard operations procedures (SOPs) and examine contingency plans.
Ongoing runway works will be a major focus of the discussions. In June, NAD partnered with BHM (formerly known as Bahamas Hot Mix) to conduct major rehabilitation works on Runway 09/27 (soon to be Runway 10/28) and Taxiway India. The works include the rehabilitation of the asphalt pavement surface to extend the life of the runway, in addition to the installation of new lighting.
Vernice Walkine, NAD’s president and chief executive, projected that the runway works will be finished before year-end even as the airport prepares to meet the increase in traffic. “After coming off of a strong October with 126,575 passengers representing a 6.29 percent growth year-over-year, we’re anticipating solid numbers in November, December and into early January,” she said.
“For the high season, our goal is to work closely with various stakeholders to mitigate challenges that may result from the increase in traffic. We want to ensure a positive passenger experience for all of our users.
“Throughout Thanksgiving, LPIA will operate as a single runway facility as we continue our efforts to improve the airport. We operated quite effectively during the peak summer days with all stakeholders doing their part. Contingency plans remain in place for the runway rehabilitation project, ensuring that our airport runs in a safe and efficient manner, meeting all international safety standards.”
Passenger wait times in-terminal will factor heavily in the discussions among stakeholders. Particular focus will be placed on managing the flow in pre-security clearance areas - US Customs, Bahamas Immigration and Bahamas Customs during the peak periods of 12pm to 3pm.
The Airport Authority will fully staff screening areas, with processing beginning at 5.15am to accommodate early morning flights. Air Traffic Services has also committed to scheduling sufficient staff to efficiently manage commercial and general aviation arrivals and departures during peak periods.
Passengers should arrive at LPIA three hours ahead of US-bound flights, and two hours prior to international and domestic flights. Travellers are also encouraged to communicate directly with their airlines for the latest flight updates and visit www.nassaulpia.com or follow @nassau_airport for operational updates from LPIA.