The Bahamas has embarked on a major country-wide overhaul of its airports.
The first phase of the program involves infrastructural projects geared toward increased capacity at thirteen of the country’s airports.
“Over the last four years we have undertook a number of infrastructural projects and improvements including the Mayaguana runway improvement project, the reconstruction and extension and increase of capacity of the Staniel Cay, Exuma runway inclusive of solar lighting and perimeter fencing, and the refurbishment and reconstruction of San Salvador airport,” said Bahamian Minister of Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin.
She noted that the redevelopment of the Bimini Airport includes an enlarged terminal building and a runway, which has been extended 5,400 feet to 6,400 feet and outfitted to facilitate night flights.
The project also includes the completion of the Marsh Harbour International Airport, which will be renamed next month as the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport, as part of the country’s official independence celebrations.
Other improvements include the completion of phases two and three of the Lynden Pindling International Airport.
The government is also working on development projects for the Exuma International Airport, the North Eleuthera Airport, the Moores Island Airport, the Great Harbour Cay Airport and the Mayaguana terminal.
Hanna-Martin said the government has responsibility for 29 airports, which requires capital investment from the public treasury.
“To this end, my Ministry has obtained grant funding from the Inter-American Development Bank for the conduct of study (technical and financial) to determine the feasibility of attracting private investment through a Public-Private Partnerships scheme for Family Island airports, and to develop a financial model of selected airports and concession alternatives,” she said.
She added that the first phase involved a preliminary outlook of potential opportunities for PPPs, a study that featured areas including: a market assessment, preliminary demand projection, review of infrastructure development plans, and a selection of most feasible options for airports.
Several elements were reviewed including: capital expenditure required, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, Net Present Value and Internal Rate of Return.
The second phase will involve a detailed market assessment and traffic forecast, independent capital expenditure verification, environmental assessment and the concession financial model.
“The intention is to seek public private partnerships, which will attract the capital for infrastructural redevelopment of select airports while at the same time maintaining government ownership, oversight and controls. It is hoped for a ‘win-win’ situation for the Bahamian people,” she said.
The minister also said that the government is preparing for the acquisition of a number of crash fire rescue trucks for Exuma, Marsh Harbour, North Eleuthera and Rock Sound airports.
“The last four years have seen great strides in the aviation sector, and I believe the platform is being created for great economic growth and development throughout our country.”
— Dana Niland