Large Cargo Aircraft for Vernamfield

Photo: JIS Photographer Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Michael Henry. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • The country will soon be able to accommodate large cargo aircraft at the proposed Vernamfield aerodrome in Clarendon.
  • This was disclosed by Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, during his 2017/18 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House on April 12.
  • The Minister said the cargo aerodrome is to be built as part of the development of Vernamfield into an aerotropolis.

The country will soon be able to accommodate large cargo aircraft at the proposed Vernamfield aerodrome in Clarendon.

This was disclosed by Transport and Mining Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, during his 2017/18 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House on April 12.

The Minister said the cargo aerodrome is to be built as part of the development of Vernamfield into an aerotropolis.

“Aerotropolis is the new development which Time Magazine says drives the greatest development of the economies of the world,” he said, adding that Jamaica will be able to accommo­date the Antonov 124, the world’s largest cargo plane.

An aerotropolis is a metropolitan subregion where the layout, infrastructure and economy are centred on an airport which serves as a multimodal ‘airport city’ commercial core.

Mr. Henry noted that cargo services at the aerotropolis will be the major driver for the development of the area, which will comprise 4,000 acres of land.

“With modern runways, improved airlift, state-of-the-art cargo facil­ities, large specialist cargo planes, maintenance repair overhaul (MRO) services and a myriad of supporting businesses, the aero­tropolis will be the key enabler of rapid business,” he posited.

The Transport Minister further pointed out that experience from other aerotropolis developments suggests that Vernamfield, properly invested, will generate US$121 into the gross domestic product (GDP) for every $1 invested between 2017 and 2018.

In addition, he informed that the projected tax increment that will be generated by the wide range of economic activities will see an average tax take of 11 per cent, resulting in revenues of US$6.5 billion.

Providing further details on the Vernamfield aerotropolis at a post-Sectoral media briefing at his Maxfield Avenue offices in St. Andrew, today (April 13), Minister Henry noted that one of the first steps to be taken in preparation for this development is to “clean up” the existing runways, which will include building out one to accommodate the larger aircraft.

“The Vernamfield aerotropolis will offer break-bulk, manufacturing and logistics facilities, as well as busi­ness to over 150 countries in Asia, the Americas, Western Europe and Africa’s West Coast,” Mr. Henry said.

The proposed aerotropolis is part of the Government’s plan to relocate the operations at the Tinson Pen Aerodrome, including its domestic air service activities, to this location.

Mr. Henry pointed out that Cabinet has approved the relocation exercise, which also includes a flying school, which he said cannot be allowed to operate over densely populated areas.

The establishment of an aerospace college is also part of the proposed development of Vernamfield, and will be given “high priority”. The Minister noted that upon completion of the building, “thousands of job opportunities for young people will be created”.

He noted, as well, that May Pen, as the nearest major township, will become subsumed in the Vernamfield aerotropolis, “so economically, things should re­ally be looking up there”.

Mr. Henry further informed that Cabinet has also given approval for relocation of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing to Vernamfield, and for Tinson Pen to be established as a Logistics Park.

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