The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority (TCIAA) announced that it will be implementing mitigating congestion measures at the Providenciales International Airport, starting Saturday.
According to the TCIAA, the plans are temporary/interim measures taken until more permanent solutions to passenger flow management become available.
As of Friday, March 25, the TCIAA said it would erect an air-conditioned tent on the airside of the terminal to accommodate arriving passengers to be queued for processing by Border Control Services. The tent, according to the TCIAA, would eliminate the need for inbound passengers to be kept onboard parked aircraft for long periods, resulting in delays to aircraft cleaning and the departure of outbound passengers.
It said a similar tent would also be erected on the roadside in the parking area adjacent to the Control Tower, to accommodate overflow passengers checking in during the weekend.
That TCIAA said approximately 8,000 passengers were expected to be processed at the Providenciales International Airport on Saturday, March 26th, 2022. Of those 8,000 passengers, 7,000 were expected to land and depart Providenciales within a continuous 5-hour window between 11 am-4 pm.
It said for Sunday, March 27th, another 5,000 passengers would be expected to be processed, which it said will present a much more manageable environment.
The TCIAA said several hotels have agreed to delay check-out or transport departing guests to the airport to avoid congestion in the check-in area during peak hours.
As a result, the TCIAA encourages persons traveling, starting this weekend, to arrive no earlier than two hours and no later than one hour before their departing flight.
“In addition, the TCIAA and Airlines will be working together to assist persons during check-in to ensure that no one misses their scheduled flight. Border Control Services (Immigration and Customs) will schedule additional staff to assist with the processing of inbound passengers.
"In addition, local airline agents will liaise with their respective airlines to ensure that passengers possess the required forms for processing through Border Control before arrival in the TCI. The TCIAA will also ensure that additional forms and pens are available from within the airside holding tent to allow passengers to complete the required documents before entering the Immigration Hall,” the TCIAA said in a news release.
It added that Health status cards for arriving passengers have been discontinued since December 1st, 2021.
The TCIAA said it had met with with several industry stakeholders such as the TCIG, the Tourist Board, TCHTA, airline representatives, and operators in a web conference on Wednesday, March 23 to flesh out ideas on how to mitigate the chronic wait at the airport.
“The TCIAA is grateful to the Turks and Caicos Hotel and Tourism Association (TCHTA) and the Tourist Board. They, along with the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College students, will be providing additional human power to assist with greeting, hosting, and directing passengers to their appropriate stations while at the airport this weekend.
"Entertainment and complimentary drinks will be provided to both arriving and departing guests on Saturday. Kindly note, a notice circulated and appearing on the TCIAA’s letterhead purportedly requesting donations to assist with the congestion did not originate from the TCIAA,” the TCIAA said.