Some $170 million has been budgeted this year for rehabilitation works to be conducted at three hinterland airstrips.
This was revealed by Aerodromes Inspector Alphonso Mangah at the Public Infrastructure Ministry’s performance review last week.
The three aerodromes identified are located at Baramita, Region One (Barima-Waini) on which $80 million will be spent; Ekereku Bottom, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) – $40 million, and Chi Chi (West) Region Seven –$50 million.
According to Mangah, these airstrips were chosen based on several criteria, including the number of flights over the past 10 years, aviation safety for aircraft operation and the number of beneficiaries.
In addition, the Aerodromes Inspector noted that some $60.7 million has been set aside for the maintenance of 50 airstrips across the country over the course of 2017.
Currently, there are 57 licensed Government airstrips in Guyana, of which 47 are maintained by the Aerodrome Department of the Public Infrastructure Ministry. The remaining 11 airstrips are being maintained by the villagers in their respective locations; however, inspections are carried out on a regular basis to ensure that they comply with standards, as outlined by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).
Among the beneficiaries for the respective airstrips are miners, loggers, farmers, tourists and residents.
The Aerodromes Inspector outlined that last year some $56.6 million was budgeted for the upkeep of the 47 airstrips under the Department’s control. The airstrips which saw repairs and maintenance works were those at: Port Kaituma ($1.45 million); Mabaruma ($1.43 million); Imbaimadai ($1.95 million); Kaieteur ($1.73 million); Aishalton ($4.72 million); Anna Regina ($1.19 million); Lethem ($1.65 million); Paramakatoi ($1.13 million); Kamarang ($1.91 million); Ekereku Bottom ($1.7 million); Bartica ($1.17 million); Mahdia ($1.86 million) and Annai ($3.9 million).
Among the works completed were potholes patching; painting of visual aids; painting of pyramid-type cone markers; changing of wind socks; weeding of runway and runway strips, and removal of all shrubs; bush clearing of approach and take-off areas of the aerodromes, and repairs to perimeter fences.
Meanwhile, another $351.5 million was allocated under the 2016 Capital Budget for the rehabilitation of another nine airstrips. These are the airstrips at Annai to the tune of $56.9 million; Paramakatoi, $39.9 million; Kurupung, $28.9 million; Kato, $65.9 million; Kopinang, $38.7 million; Monkey Mountain, $23.8 million; Iwokrama/Fairview, $154.7 million, Kaikan, $70 million and Eteringbang, $76.6 million.
Mangah noted that the contracts for the rehabilitation of these airstrips were awarded and the contractors received a ‘mobilisation advance’ to commence works. He added that only the Monkey Mountain and Iwokrama/Fairview airstrips have been completed to date and are currently in the defective liability period. The rehabilitation of the other seven airstrips is scheduled to wrap up by June 2017. (Guyana Times)