A level delegation of key Aviation and Tourism Stakeholders participated in a firsthand assessment of the three main airports across Eleuthera.
This move, according to Director of Aviation, Dr. Kenneth Romer, “Is an ongoing exercise to get empowered leadership stakeholders into the fields to make assessments of deficiencies and implement solutions based on an immediate, medium- and long-term improvement strategy. It’s past time for less talk and more action. Period”.
The Government of The Bahamas recently announced aggressive plans to Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Maintain a portfolio of some fourteen Family Island Airports, structured under a Public Private Partnership scheme, which according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, The Honourable I. Chester Cooper, “Will signal the renaissance of many Family Island Communities over the next three years.”
In the meantime, addressing critical, low-handing operational issues remain an ongoing imperative of the Airport Authority, that has managerial oversight for the 28 Government-Owned Airports across the Archipelago. Accompanying Dr. Romer on the visit to Eleuthera was Mr. Niko Davis, The Airport Authority’s Director of Family Island Airports Department.
Some of the immediate implementations over the next two weeks will be the completion of roof repairs to The Governor’s Harbour Airport, installation of a new air conditioner system and fans in the passenger’s check-in section of the North Eleuthera International Airport, along with additional seating for international and domestic passengers. Plans are also being finalized for the construction of additional temporary post-screening shelter, along with a modernized North Eleuthera terminal with revised design plans expected to be completed by mid-October 2023. Remedial works to the runway is expected to commence over the next 12 months, subject to the resolution of any outstanding land dispute issues.
Human capital issues are also being addressed, with the current training of 26 new security officers, who, upon completion of their training, will be immediately deployed in Eleuthera to assist in the safe and efficient processing and screening of passengers and baggage.
According to Director Romer, who also serves as The Deputy Director General of Tourism, “No justification is needed to give Eleuthera the much-needed airport infrastructural focus, as its overall airlift performance continues to outpace the historic pre-pandemic numbers, and its future growth only remains constrained by capacity.”
Tourism’s mid-year statistics, up to June 2023, recorded Eleuthera’s overall foreign air arrivals at 53,470, 23% higher when compared to 2019, and 14% higher than 2022 numbers. In addition to domestic carriers, the island of Eleuthera is serviced by Delta, Silver, Aztec and American Airlines, with American Airlines just recently announcing a new service between Miami and Governor’s Harbour, beginning in February 2024. Earlier in May, Silver Airways launched its inaugural service between Orlando and North Eleuthera.
“While we continue to market our destination, grow overall visitor numbers and aggressively expand airlift, we cannot continue to expose domestic and international passengers to inferior airports infrastructure or substandard products and levels of service”, said Romer.
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