Visitors departing Nassau for the U.S. by air have one less obstacle to overcome at Lynden Pindling Airport.

Minister of Tourism Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace was on hand recently to mark the removal of a second security screening station, which he described as one of the most annoying things in his life, according to the Nassau Tribune.

Previously, passengers heading to the U.S. had to pass through a second security checkpoint after being cleared by U.S. Immigration authorities. This added time to the check-in procedures, caused congestion in the departure area and left little opportunity to visit the retail shops near the gates.

The second checkpoint was required by the Transportation Security Administration until security measures met TSA requirements with more processors and agents in place. An inspection in November by the TSA cleared the airport of the need for a second security screening.

Passengers now exit Immigration and head up an escalator up to the departure lounge, which has expanded with a new Graycliff bar, restaurant and gift shop managed by the owners of the Graycliff Hotel in Nassau.

A new Kalik Cafe will debut before the holiday rush, serving Bahamian beer and food. Dunkin' Donuts is there with its familiar offerings.

Craig Richmond, CEO of the Nassau Airport Development Co., called the removal of the second security station "the single biggest customer service improvement at the airport."

The airport currently is in the first phase of a $409 million redevelopment and expansion project, which will include new domestic and international arrival and departure terminals and a baggage system capable of handling 5 million passengers a year.

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