Grand Bahama, The Bahamas — Government is in the final phase of negotiations with the selected bidder for a new international airport for Grand Bahama with a groundbreaking scheduled for the first quarter of 2023.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation, the Hon. Chester Cooper making the announcement Monday, January 2, 2023 at the rededication of the Domestic Terminal of the Grand Bahama International Airport.
“I am happy to tell you that we have selected the winning bidder for the new airport development, which includes a consortium of Bahamians and a world-class international airport operator. We are currently in the final phase of negotiations and we will be in a position to make an announcement very soon,” Minister Cooper said.
The terminal was destroyed by Hurricane Dorian in 2019.
DPM Cooper flew into the nation’s second city on Monday for the official reopening and rededication ceremony.
United Orca Construction Company was awarded the $1.2million contract to perform the airport renovations.
Representatives from the Freeport Airport Development Company (FADC), Ministry of Tourism, Bahamas Customs, Ministry for Grand Bahama and the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
Minister Cooper said the refurbished terminal will serve as a sign of what is to come for the island.
“Since coming to office, we have worked assiduously to put Grand Bahama on a path for rebound after Dorian and after COVID and after many years of a depressed economy,” he said.
Grand Bahama has a great product, Minister Cooper said, while pointing out, however, that its entryways and accommodations need to be in place to truly make the island shine as one of the country’s finest destinations.
Since the formation of the FADC, government has made significant progress on the redevelopment of the international airport and has set in place covenants to have Phase I completed by early 2025.
The minister of tourism said the government has worked tirelessly to increase cruise and aircraft arrivals to Grand Bahama and airlift and cruise arrivals have dramatically increased over the past year.
“We believe that 2023 is going to be a great year,” Minister Cooper said, while revealing that international seat capacity for Grand Bahama had increased by 80 percent in November 2022, compared to the same time period in 2019.
International direct flights have been added to Grand Bahama from Charlotte via American Airlines; Ft. Lauderdale via Bahamasair and Silver Airways; Miami via American Airlines; Orlando and Raleigh/Durham via Bahamasair; and Montreal and Toronto via Sunwing.
New airlift from Atlanta, Tampa, and Italy is also projected for Grand Bahama.
Cruise arrivals have also seen a more than150 percent increase in comparison to 2019.
“I bore you with the details because I want you to appreciate that the recovery is real. We have the evidence and we see no sign of slowing down. We have new developments and we’re working every day to tell the world about Grand Bahama and to direct them here as one of our 15 magnificent island destinations,” Minister Cooper said.
Armed with evidence of a tourism and investment rebound, the minister pointed out that the goal is for that rebound to be consistent with what residents in Grand Bahama see on the ground and vendors feel in their pockets.
“We are sensitive to your needs and the fact that your expectations have been dashed before,” he said. “I come with the evidence to tell you that we continue to work to ensure that we deliver for you. You deserve the very best and we will spare no effort to see that you have just that.”
Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey, while bringing remarks, said the airport is a key component in the recovery and rebuilding of Grand Bahama’s economy and a gateway to the island for residents and visitors.
She added that the refurbishment of the terminal is a step in the right direction, illustrates progress and is another win for the nation’s second city.
“We should be celebrating small wins. We should celebrate every win because for a very long time there was little to brag about,” Minister Moxey said.
The delegation was given a tour of the refurbished facility following the brief ceremony.