Canadians to manage Bahamian airport

NASSAU, The Bahamas, October 20, 2006 – The operation of the Lynden Pindling International Airport is to be taken over by the Vancouver Airport Services (YVRAS) by year end.

A 10-year, US$225 million deal was signed in Nassau yesterday for YVRAS to bring their management expertise first to the archipelago’s main airport and then five other regional airports starting with Marsh harbour – the third busiest in the country.

The YVRAS will manage the airport along with the Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Airport Authority.

Prime Minister Perry Christie said that the deal includes a provision for at least three of the five top executives running the airport – Canadians currently hold all the top posts – will be Bahamian within the next six years.

Christie also said the management contract includes “a programme of training and exposure at airports abroad to significantly increase the number of Bahamian middle-managers within three years.”

“And so again, Vancouver (Airport) Services, as is it’s international record, has committed to ensuring that Bahamians have every opportunity to be trained within their system of airports internationally with a view to their taking prominent roles in their operations in The Bahamas,” he said.

YVRAS Chief Executive Officer George Casey said there were two main aspects of the contract.

“The first is the timely and cost-effective development of capital facilities. So we will have a key focus on near-term improvements at the airport and also the longer term upgrading and renovation of airport facilities to create the jewel of the Caribbean and a world-class facility going forward,” he said.

“The second is focusing on the primary operation and improvements related to that, and the day to day business of the airport. So those areas will be key to us – developing capital facilities and the ongoing operation of the airport and introducing best practices.”

Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said the signing was an essential phase in the redevelopment of international airport, which began four years ago with the $40 million plus refurbishment of a runway.

“Today represents a significant shift in that expertise is being imported with a view to a transfer of technology to Bahamians in a short term; Bahamians who will ultimately be responsible for state-of-the-art, cutting edge strategies for airport development throughout this country. We are equipping our people and investing in the future,” she said.