Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, today (July 29), signed a $19.9 million contract for the construction of two control towers at the Norman Manley and Sangster International Airports, as part of the Government’s plan to expand Jamaica’s aviation industry.
The contract was signed at the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority’s (JCAA) offices in Kingston, with Canadian contractor, Intelcan Technosystems Incorporated.
Mr. Henry emphasised that the new towers would further the Government’s aim of making both international airports significant air transit hubs.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry (standing left) and Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, His Excellency Stephen Hallihan (standing second left) observe the signing of a contract for the construction of air traffic control towers at Jamaica’s two international airports, by Chairman of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Y.P. Seaton (left), and Executive Vice President of Intelcan Technosystems Incorporation, Zvi Glanz, at a contract signing ceremony for the $19.9 million project, held at the JCAA, in Kingston, on July 29.
“Jamaica, straddling the sea lanes and the Cayman Trench, offers the first country that can provide connectivity of sea to air in the seamless movement of people and services,” he noted.
The Minister also informed that the two airports could accommodate approximately 10 million more passengers annually. However, he lamented the fact that, currently, a spontaneous visit to some parts of the world is very difficult if travellers do not have visas for countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Are we going to recognise [that in Asia] where the largest populations of the world exist, where the greatest economic growth is taking place, that if they (Asians) decided tomorrow morning that they wish to visit Jamaica, they would have to wait four or five weeks for a visa to be granted.that may never be granted,” he illustrated.
Mr. Henry said the construction of the towers was in preparation for passengers from these markets as well as the expected growth in the number of airlines coming into the country following the signing of 16 new Air Services Agreements at the recent Air Services Negotiation Conference, held in Montego Bay.
Director General of the JCAA, Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Derby, who also addressed the ceremony, said the signing was the culmination of several years of effort to upgrade the old towers, which have been in place for over 40 years.
Intelcan is a global leader in the provision of air traffic management systems for civilian and military applications. The company was chosen to undertake construction at both airports in light of the efficiency gains and cost savings that could be gained from having one entity conduct design and construction, using the same team and equipment operating in a parallel mode.
The project is to be implemented in phases, with construction in Montego Bay scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2011 and construction in Kingston for the fourth quarter of 2012. The JCAA proposes to finance the project by using 65 per cent internal funds and 35 per cent loan financing.