by Andrea Doyle | March 26, 2018
Despite hurricane challenges, The Bahamas' enjoyed significant traffic at its busiest airport. According to management company Nassau Airport Development Company (NAD), air arrivals at Nassau's Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) during December 2017 and January 2018 were the highest in the company's 11-year history. Additionally, for the first time in a decade, these arrivals exceeded travel levels prior to the 2008 recession.

Approximately 151,454 passengers landed at LPIA, The Bahamas' busiest airport, in December; 140,314 in January. December's increase was the most in a single month, up nearly 15,000 compared to the next-best year, a decade earlier. Preliminary results for March have the number of passengers up by 24 percent over 2017 arrivals.  

"While we are handling more passengers than ever before, we are also pleased that enhanced systems, including pre-clearance check-in kiosks have made the LPIA experience smooth, efficient, and enjoyable for passengers from around the world," said NAD CEO Vernice Walkine, in a statement. Overall, a 15 percent increase is projected in non-U.S. international seat capacity through June 2018. 

The organization attributes this uptick to an increase in airlift, the return of Sunwing Airlines, the strengthening of the Canadian dollar, and a cold winter in the U.S. northeast and Canada. 

A marketing and promotion program, especially in Canada and specific markets in the U.S. and U.K., is also said to be helping. "Canada is driving growth in international arrivals all on its own," said Jan Knowles, vice president of marketing and commercial development. 

Canada's West Jet and Air Canada has experienced significant growth in their passenger numbers, with flights averaging 89 percent. British Airways also had a 10 percent increase in air arrivals. 

The impact that Baha Mar is having on Bahamas tourism has yet to be quantified, but it is reported that nearly every U.S. airline has added seats in anticipation of increased demand fueled by the marketing of the new luxury resort and casino. 

The airport is also investing in its service offerings. The LPIA tapped Bahamahost, which focuses on increasing the level of service across all sectors of the Bahamas, to train frontline staff. Earlier this month, LPIA won third place in Best Airports in Latin America and Caribbean Region category from Airports Council International.

More than 3.3 million passengers pass through LPIA every year with the airport serving 55 destinations via 24 airlines.