No loan needed for Brac airport upgrade, says CIAA

| 15/07/2012

Brac airport renaming.jpg(CNS): The expansion of the Cayman Brac airport terminal will be funded by the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), which will not need a loan for the project, according to the authority’s CEO, Jeremy Jackson. Phase One, which will roughly double the size of the airport building, will include renovations of the existing facility as well as the expansion to the east side. Phase Two, which is a planned expansion on the west side of the existing terminal building, will be built at a later date when the CIAA has the funds to do it. The cost of Phase One, Jackson said, would not be revealed until after the tendering process was complete, and this will be going to the Central Tenders Committee “shortly”. (Photo: L-R Jeremy Jackson and CIAA board chair Dick Arch)

However, he said that the enabling works should commence sometime in August.

Critically, the first phase of the upgrade of the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA), as it is now called following a renaming ceremony on Saturday, will include hold baggage screening equipment, which will enable the airport to facilitate direct flights to the US, since this is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirement. Currently, the airport has direct flights arriving from Miami but passengers travelling from the Brac to the US must stop at Grand Cayman, which adds an extra flight and sometimes many hours to the journey.

Once Phase One of the project is complete, the airport will have a larger check-in and ticketing counter, enhanced passenger and baggage screening facilities and outgoing immigration counters. The departure lounge will also be expanded to create additional retail space and a larger restaurant. There will be additional office space for Cayman Airways and for the airport’s Security Unit, which will also have CCTV security. For the first time, the Brac airport will have a VIP lounge, Jackson told CNS.

Phase two of the project will see enhancements to the arrivals hall (immigration and customs areas) as well as the addition of space for the Public Health and Agriculture departments.

As the terminal facility is to remain operational during the construction phase, the CIAA says that efforts will be made to carry out the work with minimal interruption to passenger processing. The authority says there will be some temporary relocation of functions to allow for refurbishments to be carried out on the existing facility.

At Saturday’s renaming ceremony, Jackson said the expansion project would undoubtedly provide a much-needed boost to the Brac’s economy. “We are confident that the ability to attract direct international flights, without the stopover in Grand Cayman, will provide even greater opportunities for local businesses in the years ahead. The CIAA looks forward to playing its role in the continued economic development of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman,” he said.

In his address at Saturday’s ceremony, Premier and Tourism Minister McKeeva Bush also noted that in the event of an interruption to operations to Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts Airport because of a natural disaster or an aircraft accident, as an international airport, the Brac’s CKIA would serve as a lifeline for the Cayman Islands.

The premier said the airport, which was being renamed for “a son of Cayman Brac”, the late Captain Charles Kirkconnell, who had served as an elected representative for Cayman Brac and Little Cayman for three consecutive terms from 1976 to 1988 and had also served on the Executive Council (now called Cabinet).

He recalled how the Brac’s Gerrard-Smith Airport had been officially opened during the royal visit of Princess Alexandra in 1988. He said that Captain Charles, as well and his permanent secretary at the time, Sammy Jackson, who was present at Saturday’s event, had been instrumental in the building of the airport and it was fitting, given all of his valuable contributions to the islands, that the airport should be renamed in his honour.

Astwo past Cayman Islands commissioners, Andrew Gerrard and Ivor Smith, for whom the airport was previously named, were consigned to the history books, Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly explained how the renaming would mean that Captain Charles would be remembered whenever people arrived on the Brac. He could “easily be forgotten if we don’t recognize those nation builders,” she said.

In his vote of thanks, CIAA Chairman Richard “Dick” Arch recognized the efforts of the CIAA’s Project Manager Nicholas Johnson, the lead architect Donal McGrath of BDCL Architects, BCQS Quantity Surveyors, District Commissioner Ernie Scott, and various other government agencies, as well as other individuals who had made significant contributions to the project thus far.

Arch expressed his confidence that the people of Cayman Brac and Little Cayman would be proud of their enhanced terminal when the expansion concludes in 2013.

Related articles:

Capt. Charles Leonard Kirkconnell, OBE, 1922-2010

Local pioneer passes after long illness

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS – please note: the requirement for hold baggage screening is a UK Department for Transport requirement for any international flight departing a UK airport (CI airports are, of course, UK airports). We are not under the jurisdiction of any FAA requirement in the CI.


    CNS: The FAA will not allow planes to land in a US airport that have not been checked as it requires. So, you are right that Cayman airports are not subject to FAA requirements, but planes heading for the US do have to land … 


  2. Anonymous says:

    Obviously you only pass through,there is alot of inconviences at GSIA! Security check piont is too small and cramped (bottleneck), no space for departing passengers at immigration, the arrival line at immigration goes out the door, check in line at CAL goes out the door to name a few! So please look at the facts!

    • Anonymous says:

      11:46, you do realize we are talking about the Brac Airport, dont you? Not Kingston, Miami, not even Grand Cayman. I live here on the Brac (and love it) and like to observe things  How often do the conditions you allege occur? How often is the airport almost deserted and the staff looking as all Brac employees (eg civil servants, especially the poor utterly bored fire officers at the airport) do when there is nothing to do when there is none of those infrequent spikes of activity. The only reason for pouring money into the Brac is – and always has been – political. Mac needs Julie BIG TIME.

      • Anonymous says:

        And isn't it a crying shame they are spending the money on the Airport when the first thing they should do is compulsorily buy the Divi site. Then they could build a decent hotel on the best beach on the Brac, employ Brackers and then have the rooms to justify expanding the Airport!!.

        • Anonymous says:

          And by the way, if the politicians got together and did a site visit, then perhaps they would understand the disgraceful state of the whole area, let alone the health and safety worries as the whole place is accessable to the general public, including children!!!!. Come on—–just buy the d**n place instead of wasting money on projects that probably won't see the light of day.  

          • Anonymous says:

            And since when is it a governments responsibility to buy vacant land that owners don’t want to develop or sell?

            • Anonymous says:

              How does it make "You" feel when you pass the Divi site?. Then ask yourself how you would feel as a first time visitor, perhaps staying at Brac Reef and going for a nice stroll along the beach and coming across that tip of a place with its buildings falling down, septic tank of a swimming pool, broken glass and rubbish al over the place. Now don't you think the Government has a duty to protect the public, never mind trying to encourage visitors to come back!!!.

        • Anonymous says:

          While I agree with you 100% about the Divi Site, The airport expansion project is being funded completely by the "Airports Authority" and not the Central Government. We need to stop looking at the Government and its Companies and Authorities so collectively.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thanks for that. My main point is that apart from Brac Reef, which by the way I think is a super hotel, and The Alexander where else are large numbers of tourists going to stay???.

        • Anonymous says:

          Employ which Brackers to work at the hotel. There are no unemployed employable Brackers looking for hotel work

          • Anonymous says:

            Are you serious?, if my memory is accurate almost all the staff who worked in Divi were Brackers. Ok so they now work for Power and Light, the Police, local supermarkets etc, and some are retired, but are you saying that there are no unemployed people on the Brac who would  want to work in a "NEW" hotel?.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cayman should change its motto to "If you build it, they will come." Hope springs eternal.

    • Poppy says:

      How about "If you pay consultancy fees to politicians and hand them bundles of cash at ATMs in Vegas, they will let you build"?

  4. Anonymous says:

    If you have the money why not lower the taxes so we get more tourism instead of a pork belly project.

  5. NeoSurvivor says:

    The first paragraph of this story is the most important, and outlines the proper manner of doing business.   Paraphrasing:

    1.   CIAA is working within their means, and won't require a loan for the first phase.

    2.    Phase 2 will be built when they can afford it.   

    3.    Both phases will be done using a proper tendering process. 


    Amazing and wonderful!   This project represents a great benefit to all of the Cayman Islands. The ONLY sad thing — from my perspective — is that it seems unique/unusual that the proper channels are being utilized, and that the business is operating within their means.   Government please take note……… no, take several notes.     This is what is required of YOU, as mandated by your constituents.  


    Well done, CIAA and Mr. Jackson.  

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the need? I have been there bout five times a month for the last year and it seems it isn’t needed.

    • Anonymous says:

      At long last someone in government has learned there is a process to be followed.  Let's see if the cruise port takes this route now, as the FCO has said it must do.

  6. Anonymous says:

    With all due respect for Capt Charles couldnt julie find something else to name after him. After all Mr Gerrard Smithhad meaning to the Airport. Even Linton at least owned the red carpet plane. His family that can vote would not mind either. What if another Politician comes along and decide to change Capt Charles name again . This should not happen. When something is named after a meaning no one should be able to change it no matter how desperate they are for votes and support. Even Capt Eldon is alive and would know about this if it was named after him. You should have given Capt Charles respect while he was alive. The old lady from West Bay that sent up all that booze and helped to pay for t shirts we wonder if she will be visited or something named after her. Oh and the Park on Watering Place who is it being built for when there is only 3 children in that area. How wrong, poor Mr Dart putting out the money on the wrong place. After this it would only take a millionaire to win an election in the Cayman Islands.


    CNS: As noted in the article, the airport was named after two past Cayman Islands commissioners,  Andrew Gerrard and Ivor Smith.

    • Reallytrulyscrumptious says:

      The apparent obligation to name everything after someone is ridiculous here.