October 17, 2012
Lynden Pindling International Airport's $144 million international arrivals terminal opened in grand style yesterday evening. A National Youth Choir performance raised the curtain on the official ceremony, followed by a junkanoo rush-out, to the delight of the various government officials, stakeholders and dignitaries attending. The reception, held in a partitioned area of the new immigration section, was observed by arriving passengers, many of whom stopped to witness the ceremony.
Stewart Steeves, president and chief executive of the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), said the new facility will provide world-class amenities and services that reflect the colours and style of the Bahamian people. “The new LPIA has a distinctive Bahamian sense of place. The new LPIA has created opportunities for Bahamians. The new LPIA will allow for air service growth, and the new LPIA will provide world-class customer service,” Mr Steeves said. Fulfilling this vision, he said, was the charge of Prime Minister Perry Christie in 2003, during his first term in office. Mr Christie said he is pleased that an airport that was once draining more than $20 million a year from the country’s coffers “now meets the expectation of being self-sustaining.” “The airport is a manifestation of a vision that we can do big things.
“As a premier tourist destination, when visitors come to the Bahamas, when our people return, they will know they reach, that they have arrived,” he said. Mr Christie said the government will soon announce plans to upgrade Family Island airports. Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin announced that the government is commissioning a bronze statue of Sir Lynden to adorn the revamped airport. Mrs Hanna-Martin said former chairperson of the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Corporation, will head a committee to select the artist. Conceptual submissions are currently being accepted, she said. Designed to give passengers a completely different first impression of New Providence, the international arrivals terminal will house Bahamas
Immigration and Bahamas Customs, a state-of-the-art baggage belt system, four restaurants, bars, lounges and six hotel reception lobbies. The new terminal mimic environmental design features found in LPIA’s stage one construction, including large roof overhangs to provide shade and reduce heat-gain, rain water collection, low-flush automatic plumbing fixtures and automatic building maintenance systems to control lighting and cooling. The exterior design also incorporates a mix of 50 per cent glass and 50 per cent solid walls to maximise light and minimise heat intrusion. During construction of the terminal, which includes a 226,000 square foot arrivals hall, 30 per cent of the work was contracted to Bahamians, to the tune of $38.9 million.
At the construction peak, more than 500 workers (70 per cent Bahamian labourers) were on site transforming the former US Departures terminal into a sleek, three-storey structure with barrel vaulted ceilings. Ledcor Construction, the general contractor, began work on stage two in March 2011. An impressive art programme started in stage one has been expanded to include six stunning pieces by Bahamian artists Imogene Walkine, Maxwell Taylor, Keisha Oliver, Jolyon Smith and Melissa Maura. The art adds a distinctive Bahamian “sense of place” to the facilities, and all the pieces will be unveiled on opening day. The final stage in the $409.5 million expansion project, construction of a Domestic and International Departures and Domestic Arrivals terminal, is set for completion in the fall 2013.
NAD has said it aims to make LPIA one of the top three airports in the Caribbean by next year. Mr Steeves told a recent Rotary Club of West Nassau meeting: “Our goal is to be recognised as a top three airport in the Caribbean by 2013, that’s within a year of completing the terminal project. I am confident that the NAD team, alongside our airport stakeholders and partners, will achieve this goal. “The project is comprised of three stages: Stage one, the US departures terminal, which was completed in March of last year – both on time and on budget,” he added. “Stage II, the international arrivals terminal plus additional US and international departure gates; and stage III, the domestic and international check-in hall and domestic arrivals facility, which started in May and is planned to open in the Fall of 2013. The entree project is fully tendered, fully awarded and is on time and on budget.
“When complete the overall terminal capacity will increase from three-five million passengers per year, while significantly improving the physical scope of the facilities. “The capacity for large aircraft will also increase. Upon completion we will have six dedicated US jet bridges, plus two swing positions and four apron positions for a total of 12 possible US jet aircraft positions compared to five when we began with the original terminal. “There will also be two dedicated international jet bridges, two swing positions and two apron positions for six possible international positions, which is equivalent to what we have today but the capacity is underutilised today.”
“We are establishing a world-class concession programme. Stage one has 13 retail locations and eight restaurants, bars and lounges. Stage II has three restaurants and bars, along with six hotel reception lounges. Stage III will have eight retail locations and six restaurants and lounges, plus a bank and a post office. This concession programme has so far created 200 new permanent jobs at LPIA with more to come.”
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