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GAIA Master plan
A master plan study for the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), which will inform the development of the GAIA for the next 20 to 25 years, is expected to be completed by next September.
That is the word from CEO of the GAIA, David Barrow, who was speaking at the flag raising ceremony and career showcase in aviation on the occasion of International Civil Aviation Day at the airport yesterday.
Barrow said that the master plan will be submitted to Cabinet in the next two weeks and, if Cabinet approves, the study will commence.
“We expect if it goes to schedule that the study would be completed by August to September. That study would inform the development of the airport for the next 20 to 25 years. Even before the study has been undertaken, the priority for the airport is to construct cargo facilities because they are over 40 years old and are in a state where they cannot be economically repaired any longer,” said Barrow.
According to him, this facility, in keeping with modern cargo facility standards, will have a parking apron, which should accommodate multiple wide body aircraft at the same time.
He said that it would allow those aircraft to taxi off of the taxiway, which is parallel to the runway and taxi right up to the doors of the cargo facility for offloading of the cargo.
“We are also completing the extension of the taxiway, which would make it full length to the runway which facilitates the movement of aircraft during peak times,” he said.
While not stating the cost of these two capital projects – the taxiway and the new cargo facility – he did say the latter would be a multi-million dollar project.
The CEO also spoke of the criticism concerning the level of charges of various airports of Governments across the region.
He said that it must be understood that a considerable amount of capital investment goes into the airport and they have to sustain their own activities.
“It costs a lot of money to maintain and have these facilities available for travel. Air travel is not cheap and airports are not cheap facilities to operate.”
Barrow said in light of this, in his research, Barbados has one of the cheapest airports for passengers to travel in and out of the region compared to Antigua, St. Lucia and Grenada.
According to him, for instance, Barbados’ transfer fees for passengers are cheaper than those for St. Lucia, Trinidad and Grenada but not Antigua because there is no charge.
Touching on the issue of the leaking roof at the airport, he reminded Barbadians that the problem is in the section of the airport which is 32 to 34 years old. “This building is six acres, three or four leaks in six acres is not doing so badly, but the engineering team is doing a wonderful job of mitigating these leaks on passengers,” he said. (AR)