Gov’t to proceed with airport expansion, US$20M already invested

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Government intends to go ahead with the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project in light of the fact that the hefty sum of US$20M has already been invested for mobilisation, field and laboratory works.

This was revealed by Minister of Public Works, Robeson Benn at a press conference yesterday.

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 of the government and the benefits that a modern airport will bring to the country.

Of the amount, $5.3B was budgeted for the upgrade, expansion and modernisation of the CJIA through the construction of a new terminal building, aprons, air-bridges, taxiways and the extension of the runway by a further 3,500 feet.

Minister Benn explained that the US$20M is earmarked for China Harbour Engineering and work is ongoing however, the heavy earth moving and other works have not yet started.

“It’s either we let the money go down the line and forget about it or do it, but the question is whether Guyana needs the project or not,” Minister Benn said.

He posited that the project has to go ahead.

“We cannot stop the engineering refinement, and when we get the go-ahead we are now doing all those things,” he said.

This US$150M project is funded by the Government of China through the China EXIM Bank.

Minister Benn said that the budget cut has delayed the taking of certain steps between the company and Guyana, in terms of payments and signing of agreements.

The CJIA upgrade and expansion project comprises 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.

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