The parish of St. Mary has joined the elite capital cities of Kingston and the tourist Mecca, Montego Bay, St. James of having an international airport.
The Boscobel Aerodrome, which now goes by the name, Ian Fleming International Airport (IFIA), was officially opened by Prime Minister, Hon. Bruce Golding on January 12.
“This is a significant investment, not just in the buildings and the runway, but in Jamaica’s future. This is also an investment of confidence,” the Prime Minister said. He commended the various agencies on their collaborative efforts in completing the facility.
Mr. Golding said it was a strategic decision to re-name the facility after Ian Fleming, creator of James Bond (the world’s most fictional spy), and thanked the Fleming family for allowing the Jamaican Government to use the name.
“Ian Fleming made a contribution to Jamaica and gave Jamaica an image much larger than it would otherwise have had, because this was where the adrenalin flowed; where the creativity emerged that enabled him to write 13 James Bond novels,” he said.
“We also considered that the market to which we are appealing is a market to which the name Ian Fleming would have some resonance,” he added.
He called on residents of St. Mary to support the Government in the effort to help market the parish and the country at large.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister, Hon. Michael Henry said that the opening of the facility was one of many dreams that had come true as part of the Government’s multi-modal plan for transportation in Jamaica.
“It is important to note that in the multi-modal mix, this airport will offer a link in the high-end tourism market. In the case of the Donald Sangster and Norman Manley International Airports or Vernam Field, when it comes on stream, we will be offering a critical international connection of the movement of people across the globe,” Minister Henry said, adding that the opening of the facility should be seen as a proud development within the tourism sector as it sought to bring increased diversity to the air transportation network and the hospitality sector.
Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett described the new facility as a “high touch” airport that had the potential to attract a different demographic to Jamaica; a facility that would drive those who the world called, Jet-setters and not just millionaires, but billionaires too.
“We look forward to this airport bringing together more and more people from this particular niche. Jamaica’s diversity of products is not fulfilled until we can boast a significant share of the niche of the high-end,” he said.
Also in attendance were Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz; representatives from the Ministry of Tourism, Airports Authority of Jamaica and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority; and family members of Ian Fleming.
Ian Fleming International Airport, located just five miles from the resort town of Ocho Rios, will cater to the needs of high-end tourists and the general aviation market.