FREEPORT, Bahamas (Sept. 30, 2019) Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA), a privately-owned joint venture between Hutchison Ports and The Port Group (The Grand Bahama Port Authority) today provided an update to the operating capabilities of the airport post hurricane Dorian. The facility incurred extensive damage during the storm, including complete destruction of all passenger and cargo handling buildings, administration and operations buildings as well as damage to navigational aids and perimeter fencing.
Limited Airport services resumed a day after the all clear and the runway was made available for emergency rescue and relief flights on September 5th and airport staff began the arduous task of assessing damage and establishing temporary operations capabilities. Thanks to the valiant efforts of the nearly 100 airport employees and many others, runways and tarmacs were cleared from a massive amount of debris. In addition, the Airport team completed a F.O.D. walk (foreign objects and debris) to further ensure a safe environment for jets and turbine aircraft.
The Airport waived all landing and related aircraft, cargo and passenger fees to assist with the
humanitarian relief efforts. Domestic flights and private charters returned to servicing Grand Bahama
Island shortly after the initial wave of humanitarian flights. Today, three domestic carriers offer
regularly scheduled flights to Freeport including Bahamasair, Western Air and Flamingo Air. Private
charters, cargo, and relief flights are also operating regularly.
Due to the extensive damage to the infrastructure, airport operations are limited to daylight and visual
flight rules, or VFR, meaning that approaching aircraft must be able to see the runway clearly. However,
Airport officials are prioritizing repairs to the flight safety operations and navigational aids to extend
the operating hours of the airport beyond clear weather in daylight hours.
The next focus will be on restoring the Airport’s capabilities to accept and clear direct flights from the
United States. Airport officials say that it will require significant repairs but are targeting to have direct
flights to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by middle of November, subject to approval by U.S.
Transportation Security Administration.
International flights from countries other than the U.S. can be accommodated today with advance
notice. Arrivals will be processed onsite and outbound clearance would be handled offsite prior to
Temporary modular buildings have been installed and will soon be used to house administration, flight
operations as well as ticketing and baggage collection and distribution. Demolition of structures unable
to be salvaged will begin after insurance assessments and public works inspections have been
completed. Repairs will proceed on structures deemed safe and salvageable.
Airport officials want to stress they are immediately focused on continuing to provide safe and secure
flight operations, but given the extent of the damage, amenities to improve the customer experience
will be on the backburner.
Aircraft fuel is being delivered and stored in ISO containers and trucks and both JET A and AvGas, for
propeller aircraft are available.
As of September 30, more than 100 employees are back to work and working rotating shifts to ensure
safe and reliable operations. The leadership wishes to thank everyone for their dedication and efforts
to bring this vital service back on line as quickly as possible.
Contact: Sherry Brookes
PA/Corporate and Government Affairs Director
Telephone: (242) 350-8050