Aviation director: $5 million plus to be spent on repairs and modernization
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has issued a directive for the Marsh Harbour airport to be reopened to international traffic by next Friday, according to Director of Aviation Algernon Cargill.
Cargill said more than $5 million will be spent to address structural repairs and improvements at the facility.
He was speaking at a press conference to announce the upcoming 13th annual Exuma Business Outlook, slated for October 24.
Cargill said: “Abaco is our second busiest airport, second to LPIA . That airport was critical to the tourism product. The Prime Minister has directed the Department of Aviation through the Airport Authority to ensure that the airport is reopened by the end of next week. While there are currently domestic flights into Abaco his directive extends to including international flights into Marsh Harbour.”
While March Harbour was severely impacted by Hurricane Dorian, Cargill said other parts of Abaco remain very much “open for business”.
“Our objective is to ensure that the Leonard Thompson International Airport (LTIA) is open to international traffic as early as next Friday. That will have a significant impact on the tourism product in Abaco,” he said.
“We are sign to invest a minimum of $5 million to get that airport back up and running. Prior to Dorian we had projected to spend $5 million plus on that airport to modernize some things and improve the product we offer there.
Cargill continued: “Our strategy is still to spend the $5 million but with some of the other structural damages that number may grow. It’s a small price to pay in terms of the spill over impact of ensuring the tourism and spill over benefits from Abaco extend to the wider community.”
He noted some 30,000 feet of fencing will need to be replaced.
“The airport has to be enclosed because there are wild boars in Abaco, for example, and we want to ensure that when the airport opens that everyone is aware and careful ,so that any if wild animals come on to the airport they are all prepared.
Cargill said: “The airport is without electricity and we have to ensure that the regenerator is completely working and functional. We have to sweep the airport for any mold. There are repairs to the roof that is required and the air conditioning system needs to be updated.”