The Government of the Bahamas confirmed last Thursday that it has completed the purchase of the Grand Bahama International Airport from the Hutchinson Group through Airport Authority Limited.
Through the authority, the Government now owns 30 airports across the archipelago.
According to a release from the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation, portfolio minister Dionisio D’Aguilar and Minister of State for Finance Senator Kwasi Thompson led the completion of the transaction on behalf of the Government of The Bahamas.
“The acquisition of the Grand Bahama International Airport is the third step in the Government’s strategy to expand the economy of Grand Bahama,” the release further outlined.
As part of the authorities plans to boost the economy, they purchase and reopened the Grand Lucayan Resort with the aim of reselling the property to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and ITM Group.
Now, with both Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line currently engaged in the construction of a new port facility in Grand Bahama, with the aim of expanding the cruise industry on the island, the Government of The Bahamas believes the airport will serve as the primary gateway for tourist arrivals to the destination.
Grand Bahama International Airport spans some 2,500 acres, which includes its 11,000 feet runway.
According to the tourism ministry, “The Government of The Bahamas plans to redevelop the Grand Bahama Airport, and through the Department of Aviation, will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) within the next 90 days in order to finalise a public-private partnership to develop and manage the Grand Bahama International Airport.”
For this endeavour, the Department of Aviation has contracted Leigh Fisher, a Canadian international consulting firm that specialises in airport projects, to steward the RFP process.
“There is already a strong level of local and international interest being expressed to develop and manage the Grand Bahama International Airport. The Government will ensure that every qualified offer received via the RFP process is reviewed and the ‘best-fit’ partner is selected to manage this important facility,” the Ministry of Tourism and Aviation noted.
In the meantime, the Government has transitioned the employees of the airport, including the management team, under a subsidiary that will be wholly owned by Airports Authority.
“The Government has been deliberate in its negotiations with the Hutchinson Group, the current owners of the Grand Bahama International Airport, to ensure that all employees will be properly compensated for their years of service to the Grand Bahama International Airport. The new job offers will commence the day after the handover of the airport, which is scheduled for May 31, 2021” the tourism ministry stated.