A contract for US$2 million was signed with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) on Monday.
It will aid in completion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport expansion, with the procurement of two air bridges.
During the signing, Public Works Minister Juan Edghill explained that the contract is to ensure that two additional boarding bridges can be procured. He explained that the corridor must be extended if CJIA is to be able to accommodate the two air bridges and D&E long haul aircraft.
“Today’s signing ceremony is Government’s part to facilitate what China Harbour has to do as part of its expansion. They have to put in the corridors to facilitate two additional air bridges. And those corridors are to facilitate the D&E aircraft. Today’s signing, Government is engaging the supplier for the provision of the boarding bridges of itself.”
Edghill has said that with the signing, the way is open for Guyana to be a destination for long-haul flights, and the CJIA an important transit point. According to him, the D&E aircraft have the capacity to carry more than 300 passengers.
“The extended runway must be able to facilitate D and E type aircraft. The D and E type aircraft are essentially the wide body aircraft that will do the trans-Atlantic flights; long hauls you call them,” Edghill said.
“These are planes that carry in excess of 300 passengers at a time. Its cargo capacity is enormous. Some of us have seen containers being lifted in and out of airplanes in movies and when we travel to New York. That’s the type of airplanes we’re talking about.”
He further explained that the latest update of the CJIA expansion is that they are awaiting prefabricated building materials from China. These materials have, however, been held up by the global slowdown caused by COVID-19.
“For the expansion work to be done, the footprints are already mapped out and foundations being prepared, just awaiting the arrival of steel and other prefabricated things from China, that has been somewhat delayed by COVID and the shipping issues we have around the world.
“But we’re advancing, and today’s signing is to signal President Irfaan Ali’s commitment to get this airport into a world class airport,” Minister Edghill said.
When the air bridges arrive, it means CJIA will have six passenger boarding bridges. The extended corridor is part of the US$9M in extra work China Harbour Engineering agreed to do.
Based on the Government’s agreement with the Chinese contractor, the expansion works are expected to be completed by this year end.
The Public Works Ministry had entered into an agreement with CHEC back in December, which would see the contractor doing US$9 million in additional works to further extend the airport at no cost to the State.
The new works involve an extension of the airport’s boarding corridor in order to accommodate the two passenger boarding bridges, providing the airport with a total of six boarding bridges capable of servicing aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the Airbus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
It would also see the terminal building being extended to provide accommodation for additional commercial space, such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the departure terminal.
The overall project was to be completed since December 31, 2018, under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, but has now been taken over by the PPP/C Government in an incomplete and downgraded state. In fact, the Granger-led APNU/AFC Administration had settled for a denigrated design while paying more than the allocated US$150 million.