GBPA, Hutchison on stream, airport reopening set

GETTING DETAILS – The Freeport News’ General Manager/Managing Editor Frederick Sturrup (right) and a team from this daily visited the FBO Terminal and were updated on the renovation progress of the facility. Pictured at left is Brent Lowe, Supervisor at Treasure Coast Development and Construction Co. Ltd. (PHOTOS: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Western Air led the way, but come Friday, November 15, the owners of the Grand Bahama International Airport (Grand Bahama Port Authority and Hutchison Whampoa) will be on stream in affording travelers a more comfortable process.

The Fixed Based Operations (FBO) location, that formerly catered to private flights, has been transformed by Treasure Coast Development and Construction to accommodate Bahamasair and Flamingo Air domestic flights, as well as, for an interim period, Bahamasair only, in and out of the United States.

When our Freeport News’ general manager and team visited the re-structured FBO facility, there had already been an amazing transformation. Inside, the building was severely damaged by high water flooding during Hurricane Dorian, but Brent Lowe of Treasure Coast Development and Construction and his workers, by applying a 15-hour daily schedule, had the new terminal area sectioned off rather nicely for incoming and departing travelers, immigration and management officials.

We visited on Friday, November 7, and Lowe said he was “well on pace” for a completion, to ensure a November 15 official opening.

“We have been working 15 hours per day. When we took on the task, this was just a shell of a building and we’ve gotten it parted off to suit the needs of everyone, the officials and the travelers. Within 24 hours, we will have the air conditioning functioning. They will be able to open on November 15 for sure,” he said.

He was committed to spearheading a refreshing restoration aspect. The GB International Airport ownership did well to solicit a reliable construction company, and, thus fell appropriately in line with the old adage, “it’s better late than never.”

Western Air, which leases from the airport owners, mobilized very quickly following the devastating hurricane that struck in early September. Western Air has now outfitted trailers to provide greater processing comfort for its travelers. The independent operator is still steps ahead of the GB Airport owners, but it is appreciated that on November 15, the entire operations at the GB International Airport will be a lot closer to normal, as per pre-Hurricane Dorian.

There is a much bigger story afloat, regarding new ownership of the airport, but as that develops, it is good that the GBPA and Hutchison Whampoa are in the joint effort to contribute to another arm of island recovery, in the aftermath of the deadly Dorian.

We have been made to understand that just Bahamasair will be flying into the United States upon the opening of the new (temporary) terminal. However, in December, U.S.-based airlines such as Spirit and American, will renew service.

There will be no pre-clearance in Grand Bahama though, until the GB Airport is in total compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) unit of the United States Department of Transportation.

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