By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyanese can expect the design of a new terminal building at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) by March this year, according to Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the facility, Ramesh Ghir.
According to Ghir, works are also ongoing on the extension of the runway by the contractor – China Harbour Engineering – which all forms part of Government’s wider agenda to completely modernize the facility.
The CJIA upgrade and expansion project comprises of a new terminal building measuring 16,000 square meters, that will have eight passenger boarding bridges, two elevators; and CCTV and departures control systems.
The project also involves the extension of the airport’s main runway by 3,500ft to a final length of 10,500ft, capable of accommodating the Boeing 747-400 aircraft and the construction of eight International Parking Positions including a dedicated position for cargo aircraft.
The US$150M project had attracted much criticism over the manner in which the deal was concluded and the wisdom of an expansion of that scale.
To this end, the entire $5.6B allocated to the transport sector programme was slashed by the Parliamentary opposition during the consideration of the 2013 National budget estimates, despite the pleas from the government of the benefits that a modern airport will bring to this country.
Of the amount, $5.3B was budgeted for the upgrade, expansion and modernization of the CJIA.
The Government had indicated then that it would have gone ahead with the expansion since US$20M has already been invested for mobilization, field and laboratory works.
The Governments of Guyana and China inked the framework agreement on October 31, 2012 for a US$130M (RMB 825M) loan from the Chinese Exim Bank to fund construction of the project. Once completed, it would ensure that the CJIA is able to meet the needs of projected traffic for several years into the future, along with becoming a hub for regional and continental traffic. It will allow the country to boast a state of the art airport comparable to any other part of the world.