County officials’ first choice to provide airline service to the Bahamas turned them down. But BahamasAir left the window open for a future partnership.
The government-operated airline said Treasure Coast International Airport, just north of downtown Fort Pierce, lacked the necessary infrastructure, such as hangars and terminal space, for commercial service, said Calvin Turnquest, Bahamas government liaison for South Florida.
"The initial goal was to have BahamasAir (fly into St. Lucie County), but we were looking for something a bit larger, with the hangars and with other infrastructure already in place," Turnquest said.
In December, county officials took several high-ranking Bahamian transportation officials on a tour of the airport and Port of Fort Pierce.
On that tour were Minister of Transportation and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin; acting Port Controller Capt. Cyril Roker; and Greg Rolle, senior director of the Office of the Ministry of Tourism.
Bahamian officials were impressed with the number of Bahamians living in St. Lucie County and with the Treasure Coast’s expected population growth, Turnquest said.
The county"™s airport, formerly named St. Lucie County International Airport, has seen an increase in international travelers, particularly from the Bahamas, who want to avoid the long lines at other U.S. Customs entry points in South Florida.
The airport also is seeing more travelers from England, South America, Canada and Cuba, airport officials have said…