NASSAU, The Bahamas, Wednesday December 4, 2019 – Grand Bahama recently welcomed its first international flight since the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in early September, and the Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) said opening the island’s skies to international travel is critical to the post-hurricane recovery.
The Bahamasair flight from Bristol, Tennessee landed at the Grand Bahama International Airport last week and all 138 passengers, comprised of youth athletes, coaches and staff in Grand Bahama to participate in the 20th Annual Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, cleared Bahamas Immigration and Bahamas Customs through the reconstructed airport terminal.
“The return of international travel to Grand Bahama is an important milestone in our recovery following the devastation of Hurricane Dorian,” said Sarah St George, Acting Chairman of the GBPA.
“Last week the TSA, or the Transportation Security Administration, conducted an audit of Bahamasair’s temporary facility and provided approval for Bahamasair international flights, setting the stage for Tuesday’s inaugural landing.”
The airport was severely damaged due to flooding from Hurricane Dorian, leaving little more than a field of debris. Within a week of the storm’s passing, facilities were opened for relief flights, and then for domestic flights.
The GBPA had anticipated that the airport would have been ready to welcome all international flights in mid-November. However, several factors led to a short delay in the development of the island’s new facility including the delayed arrival of modular trailers that will house arrivals and administration staff, and replacement of destroyed technology equipment critical to airport safety.
“I’m pleased to report that progress has been made on several fronts including restoration of runway lighting, installation of a new traffic control system and associated signage, and installation of a new HVAC system. Together with Hutchison we are working ceaselessly to ready this important gateway to accommodate visitors from the world over, and personal and business travel for our residents,” St George said.