Gov’t Proceeding with Privatisation of Norman Manley Airport


The government of Jamaica is proceeding with the privatisation of the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) even as improvement and expansion works continue at the facility under the Capital Development Programme.
This was revealed in a document tabled by Minister of Transport and Works, Robert Pickersgill in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 14). The document reported on the performance of the air transport agencies for the financial year 2004/2005.
The privatisation of the NMIA is being pursued in the same manner as the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, which was handed over to the private consortium, MBJ Airports Limited, in April 2003. Meanwhile, the Airport Council International Traffic Report ranks the SIA as the second busiest airport in the Caribbean in terms of passenger traffic.
Giving an update on the US$200 million expansion work being undertaken at Sangster International, the report indicated that Phase 1B of the project, estimated to cost US$42.5 million, was on track and should be completed by December 2005.
On completion, a 12-gate airside concourse will be in place complete with gate lounges, passenger loading bridges and new shopping facilities. Four additional aircraft parking positions and supporting taxiway will also be constructed, with an extension of the public address and computerised security system, the upgrading of control tower facility and the extension of fuel hydrant system.
In the meantime, design work for Phase 2, which comprises the upgrading of existing terminal facilities, is well advanced and should commence by 2007.
Phase 1A of the project valued at US$13.1 million, resulted in the installation of six passenger boarding jet bridges at the existing airport terminal building in December 2003. Since then, one more has been erected and it is expected that all 11 bridges would have been in operation since April. A three-phased major expansion programme at the SIA had commenced during the 1999/2000 financial period, with the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) spending in excess of US$21 million to complete a significant portion of the Phase 1A works prior to the hand over to MBJ.
Turning to the aerodromes, the document indicated that work was underway at the Negril Aerodrome to rehabilitate and improve the level of service and operational safety at the airside, with the extension of the existing 660-metre runway to create a 150-metre safety area. The work is to be completed this month.
In respect of security at the nation’s international airports, a security strengthening project, which began in 2003 and valued at approximately US$625,000, is scheduled to be completed during this year and is being undertaken with the assistance of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) under the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF).
The project has resulted in the enhancement of the operating procedures and the establishment of standards to support the aviation security regulatory framework, as well as the installation of additional equipment including Closed Circuit Televisions (CCTVs). The document pointed out that these initiatives serve to reinforce the commitment and the objective of the AAJ to provide a user-friendly, safe and modern airport system by 2007.

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