Officials at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) are urging travellers to arrive two hours ahead of departure time when domestic inter-island flights resume today.
The Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), in a statement released yesterday, warned passengers to expect a much different experience than they are used to due to the extra health and cleaning measures implemented to combat COVID-19.
And it recommended that travellers on international commercial flights arrive at least three hours' before departure when that segment of the aviation sector resumes operations on July 1. These measures are designed to give passengers extra time to check-in and go through security, as well as to allow for a longer boarding process. These times may increase as more persons begin to travel.
All airport users must wear a mask or face covering when in the terminal buildings. Outbound passengers travelling from New Providence to a domestic destination will be required to complete a standardised travel form and a standardised health form at the time of check-in.
Additional health checks may be conducted at the discretion of health professionals stationed at LPIA, including temperature checks. Passengers who present with symptoms of COVID-19 will be isolated in a separate area of the airport for further testing and evaluation.
Jonathan Hanna, NAD's director of operations, confirmed the airport experience will be different from what travellers are used to due to the new safety protocols. "The first change that passengers can expect is that access to the terminal facilities will be limited to essential airport workers and ticketed passengers only," he said.
"We've put in some concessions for elderly passengers, passengers with restricted mobility and passengers who are minors who need additional assistance. Additionally, NAD has put down social distancing markers in all public areas including in the check-in halls, Bahamas Immigration and Bahamas Customs to provide passengers with the information on where to stand to ensure they have as much physical distancing as possible."
Plexiglass barriers have been installed in the domestic and international terminal's check-in hall, and at domestic boarding gates. Additional work will continue in the US Departures terminal, Bahamas Immigration, Bahamas Customs and other areas.
In preparation for activity in-terminal, NAD has ramped up cleaning and sanitisation, purchasing fogging machines that allow cleaning teams to sanitise up to 2,000 square feet at a time as well as electrostatic sprayers that use a negative charge to wrap around materials and help disinfect hard-to-reach areas.
NAD said it will continue to monitor its operations over the coming weeks as the travel restrictions are lifted during each phase. From next Monday, June 15, commercial flights to The Bahamas will resume exclusively for Bahamian citizens, legal residents and homeowners qualifying for economic permanent residency, as well as the immediate family members of these groups.
NAD added: "All returning persons will still be required to register at a Bahamas embassy or consulate and obtain a COVID-19 test with a negative result prior to travelling."
Private aviation will also resume at all fixed-based operators (FBOs) at LPIA on June 15. And, as of Wednesday, July 1, international flights will resume for Bahamian and foreign travellers.