Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kerrie Symmonds. (FP)

Major infrastructural work, which will include the repaving of the runway at the Grantley Adams International Airport, is scheduled to begin by March next year.

Tourism Minister Kerrie Symmonds has disclosed that funding for the resurfacing of the runway has been sourced and the legal work completed.

The tendering process, which is expected to be conducted during this month, should be completed by January, he said, and this would allow the work to start by March.

He explained that since the winter season would still be ongoing, the initial work would be “at the distant ends of the runway so that you are not working on the middle to offset the additional traffic that will be coming in at that time”.  The re-pavement of the middle section will be done at the end of the winter season when there is less pressure on the area, he said.

Some refurbishment work has already started in other sections of the airport and was well advanced at Gates 3 and 14, the Tourism Minister shared.

He said that the refurbishment of Gate 14 was expected to be completed by December 20, and the area would be immediately tested with the arrival of 11 air- to-sea transfers on that day bringing more than 3 000 passengers, in addition to the regular flights.  The refurbishment includes seating, tiling, air-conditioning and upgraded bathrooms.

Next week will also see the commissioning of a new state-of-the-art ambulift as part of the airport’s commitment to making the facility as disabled-friendly as possible, Mr. Symmonds stated.

He said that the ambulift, provided by Caribbean Aircraft Handling, would be air-conditioned with proper seating accommodation and would be in use for the arrival of the air-to-sea transfers.

Additionally, he divulged, “in everything we do going forward we are going to be prioritizing, in a way that was never done before, full accessibility to the airport”. This, he explained, would include seating, accommodation for wheelchairs, and bathroom facilities catering to the disabled.

Also expected to begin at the end of the winter season next year is the retrofitting and expansion of the Regional Departure Centre used by LIAT. The Minister explained that this work was necessary because the departure lounge had outgrown its capacity.

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