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Bahamas Flight First to Clear Customs at new Lakeland-Linder (LAL) Facility
LAKELAND, Florida – November 17, 2017 - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida commissioned its airport facility as the newest port of entry for U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearance of international flights. Four pilots who arrived into the Lakeland Airport facility out of Grand Bahama Island on a Cessna 182 series aircraft, owned by Sun 'n Fun, were the first international pilots and aircraft to be welcomed into the new facility.
The pilots, students and graduates of the Lakeland Aero Club arrived Lakeland Linder Regional Airport on November 16, at 4:30 p.m., and by 4:38 p.m. they had officially cleared U.S. Customs. They were met and welcomed by Captain Greg Rolle, Sr. Director of Sports and Vertical Markets for The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation (MOTA) alongside a line of city officials.
Captain Mike Zidziunas, Bahamas Flying Ambassador and President of the Lakeland Aero Club and Captain Greg Rolle coordinated the historic inaugural landing and customs clearance.
“Lakeland’s new facility should result in an increased level of business to The Bahamas for pilots wishing to conduct fly-ins and travel to The Bahamas. The airport, which is located in west central Florida just east of Tampa, provides additional opportunities for pilots who prefer to travel directly into The Bahamas without venturing Far East to clear U.S. Customs,” said Captain Mike.

The Cessna departed Lakeland Regional Airport at 8:30 a.m. on November 16, with the three pilots led by Captain Mike. They toured Grand Bahama Island, ate lunch and held a meeting with executives of the MOTA Grand Bahama office before returning to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport to become the first international flight and pilots to clear U.S. Customs in the new facility.
According to Captain Greg Rolle, a pilot and former President of the International Federal Partnership alliance, “the one day flight conducted by the young pilots was monumental for The Bahamas because it demonstrated the ease and convenience of flying into and out of The Bahamas. Additionally, the historic flight further highlighted the strong working relationship that The Bahamas government enjoys with the U.S. government agencies in particular, the Department of Customs and Border Protection, as well as with Sun n Fun organization, which operates the 2nd largest aviation convention and airshow in the U.S.A. We look forward to the endless growth opportunities that this new ‘customs cleared' airport will bring for aviation into The Bahamas,” he said.

Lakeland Linder Airport can now accept flights of fewer than 20 passengers direct from overseas, a the new U.S. Customs facility which is the first step in a broader international strategy for Lakeland. An official ribbon cutting with all the pomp and pageantry is planned for the airport facility in January 2018.

About The Islands Of The Bahamas
The Islands Of The Bahamas have a place in the sun for everyone from Nassau and Paradise Island to Grand Bahama to The Abaco Islands, The Exuma Islands, Harbour Island, Long Island and others. Each island has its own personality and attractions for a variety of vacation styles with some of the world’s best golf, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, as well as, shopping and dining. The destination offers an easily accessible tropical getaway and the Bahamian dollar on par with the U.S. dollar. Do everything or do nothing, just remember It’s Better in The Bahamas. For more information on travel packages, activities and accommodations, call 1-800-Bahamas or visit Look for The Bahamas on the web on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Editorial Contact:
D. Earnestine Moxyz
Phone: 954-236-9292

Photo Captions:
Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection welcomed the first international flight to arrive into Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The pilots who arrived from Grand Bahama Island were the first international pilots and aircraft to depart, return and clear U.S. Customs at the new facility. Captain Greg Rolle (3rd left) Sr. Director, Sports and Vertical Markets, MOTA met the group. [ home ]

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