After four years and $409 million spent, the renovation and expansion of Lynden Pindling Airport in Nassau, Bahamas, is finished.

With the final bolt in place, the ribbon was cut on Oct. 23 to open a 105,000-square-foot terminal for domestic flights and international departures.

A terminal for U.S. departures opened in March 2011, followed by an international arrivals terminal in October 2012.

The newest terminal primarily serves U.S. visitors traveling between Nassau and the Out Islands, and Canadian, British and other foreign nationals departing Nassau for destinations outside the U.S.

Bahamian carriers now share space in the new terminal with international lines, including British Airways and Air Canada.

The 606,000-square-foot airport is the largest in the Bahamas and the largest infrastructure project undertaken in the country. It now can accommodate 5 million passengers per year, 50% more traffic than before the expansion.

Passenger volume is expected to increase with the December 2014 scheduled opening of the Baha Mar mega-resort in Nassau. Also, there are resort projects in the Out Islands.

Airport facilities include 24 retail locations and 16 restaurants, bars and lounges.

All passengers can down a Bahama Mama rum punch served at the bars, whether they are going to London, George Town on Exuma or Deadman’s Cay on Long Island in the Out Islands.

“We wanted to assure that all of our terminals reflected a sense of place in the artwork, restaurants and the retail space that feature Bahamian-made products,” said Vernice Walkine, president and CEO of the Nassau Airport Development Co.

“The Bahamas consistently welcomed a record number of visitors in recent years, but we’re not resting on our laurels and will continue to be aggressive in attracting visitors to our islands,” said Obie Wilchcombe, minister of tourism.

“Tourism generates 75% of the GNP, and the new airport is a tangible symbol of our vision for Nassau and our commitment to delivering an exceptional visitor experience, from arrival to departure,” he said.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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