The future of the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. (GAIA) and the wider Airport business community rests in continuous development geared at adapting to change.

This is the view of Minister with responsibility for Civil Aviation, George Hutson, who?? has?? also?? underscored?? the?? need?? for?? expansion programmes?? to be?? pursued along with national development?? strategy.

His comments came during a recent address to the GAIA’s 5th Anniversay Awards Ceremony, at the Concorde Experience, in Christ Church.

"The planned facility development at the airport must target the effective use of the space around and within the airport. As you have already heard, this is to be addressed with the implementation of the Airport Master Plan, which is designed to guide the development of the Grantley Adams International Airport over the next 20 years.

"Expansion programmes designed to enhance the flow of passenger traffic and improve???? passenger services are essential, but must be pursued in tandem with national development strategy," Minister Hutson advised.

Alluding to plans for major expansion at the island’s seaport to facilitate the development of the island’s home-porting facilities, the International Transport Minister said Government’s thrust was to take the number of cruise passengers from 700,000 to 1.2 million per year, with a significant percentage of these to be part of the Air/Sea and Stay/Cruise programmes.

"Existing facilities at GAIA are already stressed to handle passenger volumes during the 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. period. The new focus of developing the air/sea programme will necessitate a suitable review of the airport plant and no doubt this will be addressed by the master plan," he maintained.

The Civil Aviation spokesman also stressed the need for consideration of energy efficiencies in planning, noting that the existing structure did not lend itself to efficient energy conservation.

With regard to passenger traffic, Minister Hutson revealed that the GAIA finished 2010 with a reasonable increase in passenger traffic of 2.9 per cent compared to 2009.

"This is just under the 2 million passengers benchmark and is above the 2 per cent forecasted at the end of 2009 by Airport Council International for worldwide passenger growth in 2010.

"The outlook for the Latin America and Caribbean region is for steady growth projected to 6 per cent per annum.?? GAIA, this year, 2011, is projected to register growth of three to five per cent in passenger traffic.

Already increased airlift is being provided by American Airlines and British Airways.?? Additionally, we hope to soon see the launch of a regional service by REDjet," he concluded.

On the matter of the low-cost regional airline seeking to establish its hub in Barbados, Minister Hutson made it clear that there would be no short-cuts in the ongoing regulatory process.??

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