Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport has completed the first major step in a $409.5 million redevelopment which will see its capacity almost double by...

When the new U.S. terminal opens, LPIA’s existing domestic terminal will close and all domestic and non-U.S. international flights (and U.S. arrivals) transfer into the 19-year-old international terminal. But while it will remain open for business, parts of this facility will be closed and demolished to make way for construction of a new international arrivals terminal and pier. Slated to open in the fall of 2012, this 226,000-square-foot facility is budgeted to cost $128.9 million and it represents stage 2 of phase II of LPIA’s redevelopment.

The third and final stage of the redevelopment of the airport will see the former domestic terminal being demolished and replaced by a new domestic and non-U.S. international departures and domestic arrivals terminal. This building will occupy 112,000 square feet and is budgeted to cost $83.5 million. Completion is planned for the fall of 2013. Both of the terminals to be built after the U.S. departures terminal will have the same half-window, half-wall design to keep greenhouse-effect heating to a minimum.


This photograph of the new U.S. Departures Terminal at Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport was taken by Craig Lenihan of Vision Photography on February 26, 2011, during the public Open Day showing off the new $191 million facility before its operational opening on March 16

When complete, the redevelopment of LPIA will see the airport’s total terminal area grow 21 per cent in size to 585,000 square feet. It will have 10 aircraft bridges (one of which will be able to accommodate an Airbus A380) and 23 aircraft ground-loading stands. The government’s aim is not only to improve LPIA so it can fulfill properly its status as the prime international gateway to the island of New Providence, its main city Nassau and nearby Paradise Island (which together boast 60 per cent of the entire population of The Bahamas), but also to make the airport a true aviation hub for all of the 700-island nation.

Aviation is extremely important to The Bahamas, says Vanderpool-Wallace. “In the Caribbean, one of the easiest ways to find out if the government understands tourism is whether the government has tourism and aviation together,” in one ministerial portfolio, he says. “It is critically important to have aviation and tourism linked.”

There is masses of Bahamian art in the new, $191 million U.S. Departures Terminal at Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport

It is all the more important in The Bahamas. The nation has 64 airports, more (it claims) per capita than any other country in the world, with 17 of them officially designated international airports. Since tourism represents 80 per cent of the entire Bahamian economy (with visitors from the U.S. representing nearly 90 per cent of the islands’ total tourism), and its 30-some inhabited islands are very far-flung, Vanderpool-Wallace says aviation links are vital both for national cohesion and for visitors to be able to travel easily throughout The Bahamas.

By developing a true national-international hub at LPIA, says Vanderpool-Wallace, “We will become effectively the Greek Islands of the Western Hemisphere.” The Bahamas has eight domestic airlines and the nation wants to tie their services together into a cohesive network. To this end, the Bahamian government – currently run by the Free National Movement party – is working to have all eight carriers represented in a major global distribution system.

This photograph of the new U.S. Departures Terminal at Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport was taken by Craig Lenihan of Vision Photography on February 26, 2011, during the public Open Day showing off the new $191 million facility before its operational opening on March 16

The redevelopment of LPIA by 2013 represents just one piece of a national infrastructural development program which Ingraham describes as “the most comprehensive and ambitious infrastructural investment program in Bahamian history”. Its aim, says the Prime Minister, is to “enhance the quality of life for Bahamians and residents and the visitor experience of guests to our country.”

In addition to laying fiber-optic broadband cable throughout the islands, another important part of the program is improvement of John F. Kennedy Boulevard and its continuations, which link the airport to downtown Nassau, into a four-lane highway. About halfway between the airport and Nassau (which is about nine miles to the northeast), the new four-lane highway will link up with a four-lane access road leading into the massive new Baha Mar resort development, ground for which was broken on February 21.

At a planned 1,000 acres and to be developed in a single phase by 2014 at a cost of $3.4 billion, Baha Mar – located at Cable Beach on the north coast of New Providence – bills itself as the largest resort development going on anywhere in the world.

Future development of the massive Atlantis resort at nearby Paradise Island – connected by bridges to Nassau, less than half a mile south of the island – is also on the cards, with only four of the planned nine phases of Atlantis built to date. If all this resort development on New Providence and Paradise Island is completed as planned, the redevelopment of LPIA by late 2013 may prove a very timely step.

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