Good news for Abaco in the Bahamas: Its new, $27 million Leonard M. Thompson Airport at Marsh Harbour will be completed in 2012.

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham officiated at the recent groundbreaking and contract-signing ceremony for the construction of the terminal building, the air traffic control tower and the fire/crash rescue facility.

The 51,000-square-foot terminal will include 22 counter positions, a baggage-scanning system, two restaurants, a lounge, eight retail shops, parking areas and taxi stands.

The new facility will replace a much-smaller airport now in operation.

Ingraham said that Abaco's growth had necessitated the development of and investment in the airport facility.

"Abaco's population has grown 21% in the past 10 years, and this airport will benefit Abaco and all of the Bahamas," he said.

The airport also will serve as a hub for intraisland connections from Abaco to the numerous Out Islands.

Abaco has five resorts, including the Abaco Club on Winding Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Managed Club, as well as several small guesthouses and family-run properties.

The Out Islands are home to more than 45 resorts.

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