Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Robert Montague, says that airport development projects will be undertaken as part of an initiative to improve and expand Jamaica’s aviation industry.
“We are steering forward with new airport developments, including upgrading of the Lionel Densham Airport (St. Elizabeth) under a reverse public-private partnership (PPP) to the tune of approximately $103 million. There are also plans to acquire, through lease, the Holland Bamboo airstrip (St. Elizabeth) for… rehabilitation and reactivation,” he said.
Minister Montague was opening the 2020/21 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 2.
Turning to the development of the Norman Manley International Airport, (NMIA) Minister Montague noted that the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), is scheduled to complete some projects already contracted, even while operators of the facility, PAC Kingston Airport Limited (PACKAL) implements capital works totalling US$200 million, including runway expansion .
“However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have agreed to postpone the start-up date,” he told the House.
NMIA, for the first time last year, was certified as an aerodrome operator by the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA). The Aerodrome Operator Certificate (AOC), dated October 4, 2019, expires on October 3, 2020.
As it relates to Sangster International Airport (SIA), Minster Montague informed that MBJ Airports Limited (MBJ), which operates the airport, commenced a US$70-million 24-month runway extension and shoreline protection project in January 2020.
A Master Plan airport expansion programme estimated at US$100 million was slated to commence this year, but has been deferred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted.
MBJ Airports Limited won the 2020 World Travel Awards as the Leading Caribbean Airport for the 13th successive year.
Meanwhile, the Minister noted that the AAJ is collaborating with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and other entities to establish a National Aviation Training Institution, and aviation scholarships to be offered to residents in airport communities.