Famed Canadian astronaut and international social media sensation Commander Chris Hadfield has said that the most beautiful place to behold from his perch on the International Space Station was The Bahamas. Even without this ringing global endorsement, more than six million travellers flocked to The Bahamas in 2013, via the Caribbean’s fourth largest airport and newly redeveloped Lynden Pindling International (NAS) in Nassau.
Part of the Vantage Airport Group network since 2007, the airport has been transformed into a place of pride for Bahamians and a warm, welcoming facility for millions of visitors every year. The most recent update? On October 17, 2013, almost one year ago, NAS concluded its $410-million transformation of the airport at a special community celebration marking the third and final stage of the development.
Today, Nassau’s airport offers airlines and customers a 24 per cent larger terminal footprint, 10 aircraft bridges and 30 ground loading positions and the capacity for 50 per cent more passengers. This expansion is as welcome as it is timely, given the islands’ burgeoning tourism industry. In fact, Baha Mar, a new mega resort under construction on the island, will offer more accommodation capacity than airlines currently serving Nassau have seats. This could create a potential capacity crunch as the resort sets to open sometime in the next twelve months, a situation Vantage’s air service development team is watching closely.
The terminal also features a uniquely Bahamian sense of place, thanks to thoughtful architectural elements and custom-designed local artwork that carry the islands’ celebrated culture and geography throughout the facility. Expanded dining and shopping options also await passengers wishing for one last piece or taste of paradise to take home with them. And this fall, passengers can also enjoy the Lignum Club, a new common-use luxury airport lounge featuring delicious food and local beverages, business services and a tranquil, 1,900 square-foot oasis to relax before taking off.
On the subject of taste, enthusiastic local appetites also “drove” another interesting facility upgrade at Nassau’s airport this year: the addition of drive-through service at Wendy’s fast food restaurant location. It turns out that the lure of a cold, chocolaty Frosty enjoyed under the searing midday sun was drawing locals from neighbouring communities to the airport restaurant, where treat-seekers were filling up the parking lot and causing congestion for passengers. A relatively simple operational fix, the drive-through means that Wendy’s is experiencing higher sales than ever.
Air service to Nassau continues to grow as well. The most recent airline to heed the Bahamian siren song is Frontier Airlines, the ultra low-cost, Denver-based company that is set to inaugurate nonstop service to Nassau from both New Jersey’s Trenton-Mercer Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport, beginning on November 20, 2014. Other new services in 2014 included Delta Air Lines out of New York’s JFK and United Airlines out of Washington Dulles.
By all accounts, The Bahamas will continue its reign as a leading tourism destination for the foreseeable future, and its airport is ready to keep pace with a facility that is as beautiful and welcoming as the destination itself. Vantage Airport Group has full management and operational responsibility at Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS) in Nassau, The Bahamas under contract with the Nassau Airport Development Company, a Bahamian company owned by the Government of The Bahamas.