Plans still afoot to extend airport runway

| 24/03/2009

(CNS): Despite government spending cuts and an operating deficit of around CI$29 million, according to the Minister for Tourism the redevelopment of Owen Roberts International Airport is still going ahead, including plans for a 2,000 foot extension to the runway. Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on the last day of business, Monday 23 March, Charles Clifford said the redevelopment was a public-private partnership with the ongoing tendering process for the financing package due to close on 3 April 2009.

He said that having secured revenue streams through the Passenger Facilities Charge to augment its operating surpluses, the Cayman Islands Airport Authority had enlisted the services of Deloitte to assist it in reviewing various financing options. The initial Request For Proposal (RFP) for the financing package was issued in December 2008 but a decision has been taken to repeat the tender process so as to “refine and maximize the competitiveness amongst financial institutions,” the minister said. “The process is similar to the process utilised by the Cayman Islands Government.  The revised RFP has been issued to local Class A banks and one overseas bank.  The Central Tenders Committee (CTC) is providing oversight on this project to ensure value for money and necessary due diligence.”

He said the financing package is also expected to facilitate the construction of the required new airport in Little Cayman and some enhancements at the General Aviation Terminal.

“The next steps call for the tendering process for the six pre-qualified local contractors to commence at the end of April 2009 once the designs are finalised by architects Chalmers Gibbs Martin Joseph (CGMJ) and RS&H,” Clifford added. “Construction is scheduled to commence in September 2009 and is expected to conclude in 2012.  The redevelopment of the main terminal will result in the tripling of the floor space from 80,000 to 220,000 square feet to accommodate projected traffic levels for approximately 20 years.”

He said the redevelopment include an expanded ticketing and flight check-in hall, a new arrivals hall, a domestic arrivals and departures hall, a new international departures hall on the second floor and an expanded tarmac to accommodate three additional aircraft parking slots.

“Additionally, the Government is presently involved in discussions that could lead to a public/private sector partnership that would facilitate a 2,000 foot extension to the runway at the Owen Roberts International Airport,” Clifford explained.

He said that he believed the proposed facility would better reflect Cayman’s market position as a high-end tourist destination and as a major global financial centre. “The contemporary design will improve the aesthetic appeal and will assist in expanding passenger and airline capacity as overcrowding regularly occurs when passenger and aircraft movements are high,” he added. “Our islands’ airports are the first and last part of the tourism product that people see whether they are here for leisure or investment purposes and, in 2012, I expect that we will have a much larger, modern, user-friendly airport for the comfort of our visitors and residents that will pave the way for the continued development of the Cayman Islands.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Airport relocation may be partially funded by the value of the land at the existing airport…..

     

     ""Why are we wasting money on this site, why don’t we just acquire land in the middle of the island and build ourselves a proper airport with a long haul flight takeoff and land length runaway along with proper taxi ways".

    I thought everyone was screaming about money spent on infrastructure, now you are proposing much more. Do you have any idea what that would cost?!"

  2. NHB says:

     

    Why are we wasting money on this site, why don’t we just acquire land in the middle of the island and build ourselves a proper airport with a long haul flight takeoff and land length runaway along with proper taxi ways which from what I can understand we can’t get permission for on the current site and if memory serves me right we don’t have permission to operate a radar on that site aren’t we still under Jamaica because we haven’t grown up yet, I think we need to take care of a few issues with that airport concerning the flying public safety before we consider expanding, oh but let me guess too many have invested in the area already, big money talks and we pay for it.

    If we are building the cruise dock it would be nice to be able to depart cruises from here but to load one of those ships in a one day space with 3000 guest and 150 seat airplanes that will take a lot more airport than any expansion we can do on that site, not that it would hurt or stay over tourism market because I’m positive the guest for the cruise will be coming before and after the cruise and they would have to be accommodated on island until they are ready to depart. As it stands we need to start looking more into the future with some of these projects and at some point we have to except the fact we will have to abandon the current site we are using and move on to bigger and better.

     

    • Anonymous says:

      "Why are we wasting money on this site, why don’t we just acquire land in the middle of the island and build ourselves a proper airport with a long haul flight takeoff and land length runaway along with proper taxi ways".

      I thought everyone was screaming about money spent on infrastructure, now you are proposing much more. Do you have any idea what that would cost?!

  3. Redbayer says:

    Becoming the new hub for the Americas is the WORST idea I have ever heard! Think of all the drug mules – en route to Europe and America – that we would have to deal with! The Airports in Spain are having an awful time with this problem, it’s the last thing we want.

  4. Fingers Crossed says:

    Extending the runway is the single most important thing that Cayman can do to invest in its future.  It will help tourism, business and allow residents to travel more easily, and hopefully, cheaply.

  5. Anonymous says:

    How does the facilities charge work? This is the key question!  If the facilities charge is a flat fee per passange then there may be a short fall if passage numbers drop off.  I don’t disagree with the overall project sounds like a good investment in our future as it may help us expand where others fail.  We could become the new hub for the Americas given our location between North and South America and our tax free status.  We could turn this into  a very positive thing for the region as a whole.  As America falls into the depths of dispair and economic troubles Cayman could well be positioned to be the new Miami of the region competing with Panama city.  New order