A number of the island’s airports and aerodromes are set to benefit from major development works totalling more than US$200 million over the next three years.
This was revealed on Wednesday by Transport and Mining Minister, Audley Shaw, during his contribution to the 2022-2023 Sectoral Debate.
Shaw said the funds are committed by the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), along with MBJ Airports Limited (MBJ) and PAC Kingston Airports Limited (PACKAL), the operators of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) and the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA), respectively.
The projects are to be implemented over the 2022-2025 period, with US$70 million slated to be spent during the current financial year.
“Airports are, by nature, very capital-intensive facilities, with on-going expansion and other programmes in response to traffic growth, industry and regulatory compliance, innovations for efficiency, and changes in the operational environment, such as those brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Shaw.
In terms of the SIA, phase three of the runway extension, totalling US$70 million, of which US$36 million is to be spent in 2022-2023, is being financed from the Airport Improvement Fund.
The programme, aspects of which commenced in 2018, has three elements, including runway and apron expansion, shoreline protection, and enabling works.
Shaw said the runway extension project is to increase the declared take-off run by approximately 400 metres, to 3,060 metres, and provide runway-end safety areas, as mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“This extension will enable the SIA to accommodate long-haul flights from destinations we cannot now serve, such as East Asia,” said Shaw.
He added that MBJ is continuing its investment in the improvement and expansion of the facilities at SIA.
“Having invested just under US$300 million on capital projects since the commencement of the concession, the MBJ is slated to spend another US$150 million, which includes the continued expansion of the departure terminal and a three-megawatt solar power project.
“These projects will significantly improve the capacity and passenger experience at SIA, with the departure lounge set for completion in July,” Shaw added.
In relation to NMIA, Shaw said PACKAL is in the process of implementing several projects at the facility.
A 5-megawatt solar power project at a cost of US$7.8 million, which will provide 75 per cent of the energy requirement of NMIA. The first two megawatts, costing US$2.8 million, is set for completion in May 2022; and the remaining three megawatts, costing US$5 million, are to be completed by December 2022.Runway pavement improvements/rehabilitation works valued at US$4.5 million to commence in June 2022 for completion by September 2022.
For its part, the AAJ is to execute several major projects to improve infrastructure and general aviation in the country, including:
NMIA/Port Royal Road Shoreline Protection Project at a cost of J$555 million, which is expected to be completed by June 2023.Lionel Densham Aerodrome; approval was granted to pursue the further development of a J$100 million project to acquire and upgrade the facility.Holland Bamboo Airstrip; the acquisition by lease of the airstrip to be undertaken to facilitate airlift to local residents and improved access to tourism attractions in the area, such as Appleton Estate and YS Falls.