NASSAU, Bahamas – April 29, 2021 — The Government of The Bahamas, by way of the Airport Authority Ltd., concludes the purchase of the Grand Bahama International Airport today, April 29, 2021. This acquisition brings to a total of 30 the number of airports in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas owned by the Airport Authority.
The Grand Bahama International Airport comprises 2,500 acres, inclusive of an 11,000-foot runway. The employees of the Grand Bahama International Airport, including the management team, will transition to the subsidiary that will now be wholly owned by the Airport Authority Ltd. 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 finalize a Public Private Partnership to develop and manage the Grand Bahama International Airport. In this regard, Leigh Fisher, a Canadian international consulting firm, which specializes in airport projects, has been contracted by the Department of Aviation to steward the RFP process.
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 initial step involved the reinvigoration of the island’s largest resort property. It was previously announced that the Grand Lucayan Resort was acquired by the Government and is to be sold to Royal Caribbean and ITM Group, is now open for business. Secondly, both Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line are constructing a new port facility in Grand Bahama in order to expand the cruise business on the island. Naturally, the airport will serve as the primary gateway for tourist arrivals on the island. The current facility was substantially damaged by Hurricane Dorian on September 3, 2019.
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. Today, April 29, 2021, the final contract is being executed to complete the purchase transaction.
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. Minister of Tourism & Aviation, the Hon. Dionisio D’Aguilar and Minister of State for Finance, Senator the Hon. Kwasi Thompson have led the completion of this transaction for the Government of The Bahamas.
The Airport Authority is an entity that 100 percent owned by the Government of The Bahamas and used by the Government to own and sometimes operate all thirty of its airports. With the signing today, the Grand Bahama International airport ownership becomes a part of the Airport Authority and Government will retain ownership of the Grand Bahama International after redevelopment.