The Ministry of Transport and Aviation announced on Feb 28, 2017 the signing of a 4.5-year agreement between Airport Authority and Vantage Bahamas. The company will provide technical expertise to the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour, Abaco. The agreement takes effect March 1, 2017.
Vantage Bahamas is the local subsidiary of Vantage Airport Group, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The company is currently under an executive management agreement with the Lynden Pindling International Airport since 2007.
Under the contract with Leonard M. Thompson International Airport, technical teams from Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD) will be deployed on short and long-term assignments to Marsh Harbour to share best practices and provide guidance to the airport’s management team on the ground in Abaco. Airport Authority will continue to manage day-to-day operations at Leonard M. Thompson International Airport including maintenance of the 51,000 sq. ft. terminal facility and runway, manage parking facilities and all commercial operations at the airport.
The Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin, Minister of Transport and Aviation, said the signing of the agreement is a critical step in positioning the airport in Marsh Harbour for growth.
“Leonard M. Thompson International Airport is one of the busiest airports in The Bahamas and it is essential that the airport operates in the most efficient manner to support the second largest island economy in the country,” she said.
“It is our objective to have the airport at Marsh Harbour operate as efficiently and safely as possible. Through this agreement, we are able to capitalize on the success we’ve had at Lynden Pindling International Airport. We will be deploying trained Bahamians with the technical expertise needed to maintain safety standards and fully develop Leonard M. Thompson International Airport into a commercially self-sustaining operation.”
Chairman Anthony McKinney sees improving safety, enhancing the passenger experience and growing staff knowledge as the key components to use when measuring the success of the agreement.
“Through this partnership with Vantage Bahamas, we are committing to developing a fully Bahamian team capable of guiding the airport to international operating and service standards. We want Abaconians to continue to be proud of their airport. It will serve as a model for future aviation growth in the Family Island sector. We’re pleased to have the backing from NAD, as the team will provide technical support on behalf of Vantage. From a financial perspective, all of this will be done on a cost-recovery basis.”
Vernice Walkine, President & CEO at NAD adds: “This is a great opportunity for the NAD team to develop and grow. Bahamian talent will be deployed with the expectation that this transfer of knowledge will enable Leonard M. Thompson International Airport to operate at the same world-class standards that are applied at our airport here in Nassau. It’s an excellent environment for career development within our team and speaks to the growth of the industry over the past decade.”
In 2014, the government completed a $30 million upgrade to the Marsh Harbour facilities. The airport was officially renamed in July 2016 after Abaco-native and World War II veteran, Captain Leonard M. Thompson who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Currently, the airport processes more than 125,000 passengers annually.