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When a group of hard working guys find out they've fallen victim to a wealthy business man's Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence....
A malfunctioning air-conditioning system forced air traffic controllers to leave their posts at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) yesterday morning, resulting in significant flight delays, according to Air Traffic Controllers Union President Roscoe Perpall.
"During the thunderstorm around mid-morning hours on Sunday two of those units at the air traffic facility were struck by lightening," Perpall told The Nassau Guardian.
"The electrical board of one unit was struck and I believe the other unit's compressor was struck and destroyed. This morning (Monday) the temporary units that were placed in the tower also failed and steps had to be taken to sustain the [operation] to the best of our ability."
As major repairs were made, Perpall said aviation supervisors called in an emergency crew of controllers to work in a 10-minute rotation inside the air traffic control tower -- an enclosed glass facility -- to sustain some level of operation at the airport.
He explained that the emergency crew attempted to bear the extreme heat in order to land as many aircraft as possible that were already airborne, but in order to preserve the health and safety of the staff all flights that were due to depart were kept on the ground for about two hours as of 11 a.m.
"Sometime around 1 p.m. operations were restored because engineers from the airport and [officials] from the Ministry of Works were able to put some portable units in place and other work was done to restore some air conditioning in the tower," Perpall said.
"Immediately the control staff returned and operations returned to normal."
Perpall commended the emergency crew for its commitment to working in the hazardous conditions, noting that working in the enclosed control tower even for a short period "is like being locked in a car during the heat of the day".
The problem with the air conditioning system at the tower has existed for some time, Perpall added.
SkyBahamas CEO Captain Randy Butler said an extensive plan needs to be put in place to deal with the challenges.
The former civil aviation inspector said it was unclear if the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) would oversee the maintenance of the control tower as it does not fall under its responsibility.
"I think that may still be an issue and they need to get a maintenance contract put in place to pay attention to these things like the air conditioning system, general maintenance, etc. at the Department of Civil Aviation... but definitely there are some challenges that they are having all around," Butler said.
There was no statement on this matter sent to The Nassau Guardian by any airport official up to press time.
For the first time in years, Atlantis will not be closing its Beach Tower this fall -- instead, the resort is adopting a Las Vegas style promotion of $99 room nights to boost occupancy and, hopefully, staff work days.
In a statement sent to Guardian Business yesterday, resort officials called an "experiment campaign" the promotion that has been marketed internationally in recent weeks.
"We are now of the view that accepting that Fall will be a low occupancy period is a self fulfilling prophecy, and hence we have embarked on an experimental channeled promotional campaign aimed at increasing occupancy through better value," said Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Ed Fields in the statement released yesterday. "Hence we went out with a lead rate of $99 for Beach Tower Terrace rooms for a limited time period and a short booking window.
"While we will not be engaged in any additional hiring, we anticipate that over 220 of our employees could go from working 1 or 2 days during that period to hopefully a full work week."
He said the move is expected to have a spillover effect on the work schedules of other employees in restaurants, entertainment venues and guest amenities. The nightclub Aura will be open the standard four days, instead of the traditional Friday and Saturday nights in the fall.
If successful, resort executives are looking to make this the future model for operation. With prices under $100 for the new budget conscious traveler, the strategy may actually go a long way in increasing occupancy during slow times and may even start a culture of repeat visitors to the property during the off season.
Fields said the move - one of its biggest sales and rate discounts ever - was one made by Las Vegas properties in the past ten years during summer months, during their low-occupancy season. Indeed, the recession has made the resorts on the popular strip even more competitive in terms of rates and amenities -- something Bahamas properties have only recently moved to embrace.
It's a very crucial move for the resort, coming as the popular Companion Fly-Free program draws to an end. Slight increases to visitor air arrivals may be gravely affected by the promotion's end, analyst have said. It means hotels will have to take responsibility themselves for attracting the necessary numbers to remain operational.
Atlantis is already reporting good results from the promotion that also includes reduced rates for all the towers like the Cove, with nights slashed to $299 from a $600 average.
"As a result of this approach," Fields added, "we have seen markedly increased bookings during the period of the offer over the same period last year."
The rates will run for travel between August 21 - October 31.
For many years, he noted that Atlantis has closed the Beach Tower during the Fall season between late August and early November. "In 2010, we kept less than 20 percent of the Beach Tower room inventory open," Fields said. "We are very optimistic that this experiment for the Fall season will succeed.
"Certainly if we don't try, we'll never know."