|Boeing’s Senior Manager of the Flight Test Operations in Barbados and Liaison between Flight Test Operations and Boeing 787 Programme, Anthony??Aresu (left)??presents a model plane to Minister George??Hutson and Chairman of GAIA Board of Directors, Terrance Mahon. (C.Pitt/BGIS)
In response to complaints being made by some members of the public about the fees charged at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), Minister of International Business and International Transport, George Hutson revealed that Barbados’ charges were moderate when compared to other airports in the region.
"The facilities in the various airports across the region have to be maintained and managed. That is a cost we have to pass on to persons using the airport facilities," Minister Hutson explained at a press conference yesterday at the GAIA. He continued: "The charges that we [Barbados] have for passengers transiting Barbados, in and out of the Grantley Adams International Airport, are some of the lowest within the Caribbean region."
St. Croix ranks the lowest, with a charge of USD$9.50 while St. Lucia ranks as the most expensive with a charge of USD$70.19. In a list of 14 countries, Barbados ranked 7th with a charge of USD$31.50.
Yesterday’s activities at the GAIA were centered around testing being done at the airport by the Boeing Company.?? "The Boeing Company is currently flight testing its newest and most fuel efficient commercial airliner, the B787-8 Dreamliner in Barbados," Minister Hutson explained.
As part of the Function and Reliability certification required from the U.S. Federation Aviation Authority (FAA), the aircraft must conduct Extended Twin Operations (ETOPS) testing which requires a hot and humid environment.
While Barbados was chosen primarily for its climatic conditions, Mr. Hutson explained, "that it was selected from among a number of airports within the tropical zone."
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the GAIA, Terrance Mahon, added: "Within the entire span of the globe, there are only two or three destinations that Boeing thought suitable enough and sophisticated enough to conduct an exercise like this. ??And, GAIA being able to attract Boeing here to do that is significant and something we have to applaud – getting Barbados on the world stage.
"They chose Barbados because of the climate, but they also needed an airport that is sophisticated enough to handle the turnaround times," Mr Mahon noted. "It also speaks to the level of ground handling that we have at Grantley Adams International Airport, since all of those things had to be taken into consideration."
Minister Hutson also highlighted the spin-offs the exercise brought to the country.?? He revealed that a contingent of about 75 engineers and other technical persons associated with the aircraft were here, and some 140 hotel rooms were booked to accommodate them.