The Government is considering building a second terminal at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), which has over the past few years undergone a massive expansion amid the growing interest in Guyana from investors and tourists alike.
On Tuesday, President Dr. Irfaan Ali was the feature speaking at the Guyana Manufacturing and Services Association (GMSA) awards dinner. During his feature address, President Ali spoke about the CJIA and the importance of upgrading it.
“The truth is, we should have had a better airport. But we know what happened in the last government. The entire project was messed up. As I speak to you tonight, we are already contemplating a terminal two. Because you have to get it. Those of you who traveled and come in, understand what I’m talking about. We have to do it to boost what we’re doing here.”
The President noted that Guyana is slowly but surely getting back to the visitor arrival numbers that existed before 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and caused airlines and ports across the world to put a screeching halt to non-essential travel
“At the end of this year, we’ll be getting past our pre-pandemic arrival record rates. By 2025, with the projections, we’ll be creeping past 1 million arrivals. Imagine, British airways coming first quarter next year. Advanced discussions going on with many other airlines,” the President said, noting that this is the real Guyana… a country on an upward trajectory.
Back in June, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) had completed extended works that were agreed upon with Government at CJIA. US$9 Million in works including an extension of the Airport’s boarding corridor in order to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, providing the Airport with a total of six boarding bridges capable of facilitating larger Code D and Code E aircraft.
Total Solutions was awarded a $400 million contract for the supply of the two air bridges.
Works also included a modern airport façade across the departure terminal, showcasing the Golden Arrowhead and the One Guyana logo.
After assuming office in 2020, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government had inspected the works that were ongoing by CHEC at CJIA, which showed a deviation from the terms agreed upon in the initial fixed-price US$138 Million contract.
In light of this, the Public Works Ministry entered into a new agreement with the company for the further expansion of the CJIA as well as completion of existing works. The agreement was pegged at US$9 Million and it stated that China Harbour would solely bear the costs for the new works to be executed.
The CJIA Modernisation Project was supposed to have been completed on December 31, 2018, under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government.
The former Administration had settled for a downsized design while paying more than the allocated US$150 Million. Some US$138 Million of the allocated costs was funded by the EXIM (Export-Import) Bank of China, while US$12 Million was spent by the Guyana Government. It was not expected to surpass that sum, but Guyana had to stand additional expenses.
The CJIA, in its downgraded design expansion, had four fewer air passenger boarding bridges for arrivals and departures than the initial eight. There was also a 450-seat departure area, escalators, and elevators, in addition to an incomplete extended runway.
Inspections revealed that a new apron that was supposed to support the additional four air bridges was non-existent. There was also no space for enough duty-free shops, restaurants, car rentals, and other facilities.
When the current Administration entered office, there was a list of 71 critical works and a master list of 1500 works that were incomplete. As of January 2021, however, all critical works were completed.