Bahamas Airports: Flying to the Bahamas
Six major airports in The Bahamas are served by various international airlines, including Delta Airlines, Carnival Airlines, AOM, British Airways, Air Jamaica, and American Eagle, US Air, and Air Canada, allowing direct flights to and from key destinations in Europe, North and South America and the Caribbean, with connections around the globe.
Scheduled domestic services by the government owned airline, Bahamasair, link the island chain, while also providing scheduled service to Florida.
- Freeport International Airport, with a runway of 11,000 feet, is considered one of the region’s largest privately-owned airports.
- The government run Nassau International Airport has three runways, the longest of which is 11,000 feet.
- Both Nassau and Freeport airports are busy 24 hours a day with commercial and private aircraft traffic.
Charter services are available to all parts of the archipelago, like GPS Bahamas.
Typical Flight Times to the Bahamas
|New York||3 hours|
|Los Angeles||7 hours|
Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA)
Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA) is a privately owned joint venture between The Grand Bahama Port Authority and Hutchison Port Holdings. GBIA has a runway of 11,000-ft. which is capable of handling the largest aircraft in service. A new full service international terminal with state of the art US Pre-Clearance facilities opened in 2004. Facts:
- ISPS Certified
- US Pre-Clearance Facility
- Full 24 hour Service
- Full 24 hour Weather Service
- ILS (Instrument Landing System)
- VOR System
- PAPI (Position Approach Path Indicator) system
- Distance Remaining Marker
- Category seven (7) Fire Fighting Facilities
- General Aviation services, including fueling
Important Information for Private Pilots
- Fuel is NOT available on every island, but you are never more than 20 minutes flying time away from fuel.
- The closest Bahama islands to Florida airports are Bimini (46NM from Palm Beach, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale) and Grand Bahama Island (60NM from Palm Beach, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale)
- Nassau and Freeport are the two lighted runways that allow flying at night. All other airports require you to arrive and depart between sunrise and sunset. A few runways on The Out Islands have lights that are for special use only.
- The price of fuel in The Bahamas averages $2.60 a gallon.
- When your flight will transit an ADIZ/DEWIZ area. As a private pilot, there is an ADIZ between The Bahamas and Florida. For DVFR flights, the estimated time of ADIZ penetration must be filed at least 15 minutes prior to penetration. While flying, contact flight service before penetration for a customs squawk.
- “Flight following” is not required, but would be nice to have.
- At least one life jacket per person is required.
- A life raft is not required.
- Current customs stickers should be displayed near the left door. (The sticker can be purchased upon arrival in the U.S.)
- There is no extra charge if you return to the United States and clear customs after regular business hours.
- For weather information in the U.S. and in The Bahamas, call 1-800-WX BRIEF, 242-377-7178, 242-377-7116.
- You can bring pet(s) into the Bahamas. An Import Permit is required; call Agriculture 242-325-7502.
- You must be an instrument rating pilot to fly to Nassau and Freeport after sunset.
- File an International Flight Plan.
- Must have Coast Guard approved life jackets for each person on board.
- Activate your flight plan before leaving Florida on 122.2, 122.4 or 126.7 (Miami Radio).
- Land at an Airport of Entry (AOE) to clear Customs and Immigration.
- Prior to landing, close your flight plan on 124.2 or 128.0 (Nassau Radio). If unable to close in the air, call 1-800-WXBRIEF or 242-377-7116.
- Prepare Gen Decs or Cruising Permit and Immigration cards in advance if possible.
- Be cooperative with Customs and Immigration.
- You must depart from an AOE.
- Complete 1 Gen Dec and turn in copy of Immigration card.
- File an International Flight Plan at 1-800-WXBRIEF, advise U.S. Customs.
- Activate flight plan with Nassau Radio on 124.2, 128.0 or Freeport Radio. If unable, activate with Miami Radio 126.7 or 122.4. From Bimini, 122.1, Miami Remote no voice, and listen on VOR 116.7. Higher altitudes get better reception.
- Must receive a discrete transponder code from FSS 126.7 Miami Radio 15 minutes before penetrating the ADIZ. Flight Service is responsible, not Approach Control!
- For flight following, contact Nassau on 121.0 or Miami on 125.7.
- Close your flight plan in the air on 122.2, 122.4, or 126.7. If not able, close at Customs office with 1-800-WXBRIEF.
- Land at an Airport of Entry such as MIA, FLL, FXE, PBI or FPR.
- Take all your baggage and go directly to Customs.
- Prepare U.S. Arrival Report and Customs Declaration cards in advance if possible.