The Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) understands that opening our skies to international travel is critical to Grand Bahama’s recovery following the devastation of Hurricane Dorian in early September. To that end, the GBPA is pleased to hail the arrival of the first international flight from Bristol, Tennessee directly to Grand Bahama.
The Bahamasair flight landed at the Grand Bahama International Airport on Tuesday, November 26 and all 138 passengers, comprised of youth athletes, coaches and staff here to participate in the twentieth annual Thanksgiving basketball tournament, cleared Bahamas Immigration and Bahamas Customs through our 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 GBPA is proud to continue to be a sponsor of the annual Tabernacle Baptist Academy Basketball tournament.
“This tournament has become a big source of pride for the island. To be able to welcome these athletes and host this annual event is not only a coup for the school, but for all Grand Bahamians.
We encourage everyone to go see a game and demonstrate to these students our resilience and thanks for showing the world we are open,” said Ian Rolle, GBPA’s President.
As Grand Bahamians are keenly aware, the Airport was severely damaged due to flooding, 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, along with Hutchison Whampoa, had anticipated that the Airport would be 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.
St. George added, “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.”
The GBPA will communicate updates through media as work on the Airport Terminal continues.