JIS News

King Juan Carlos 1 and Queen Sophia of Spain ended their two day state visit to Jamaica this evening, following a full programme of activities in the tourism capital of Montego Bay, St. James.
Following their arrival in Montego Bay this afternoon (Feb 18) , the Royal couple attended a ceremony at the Sangster International Airport during which King Juan Carlos 1 unveiled a plaque commemorating the expansion of the airport’s facilities. The ceremony was attended by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall and Lady Hall, Prime Minister Bruce Golding and Mrs. Golding, several Government Ministers, and Montego Bay’s civic and community leaders.
Addressing the function, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the Sangster International Airport is the outcome of eight years of planning and substantial capital investment, a lot of hard work and an exciting new partnership with Spanish investors in airport development and planning. He said the airport is critical to not just the western end of the island but all of Jamaica as it is the tourism gateway to Jamaica- the lifeblood of the country’s economy.
Mr. Golding said the airport expansion programme was carried out in three phases at a cost of US$180-million- an expenditure which has significantly transformed the airport. The terminal building has been more than doubled to 47,000 square ft, 18 loading bridges have been added, and the runway has been extended by up to 10,000 ft which was done to accommodate the Boeing 747’s and the airbus 380’s.
Other additions include a new system for aircraft refueling, expanded arrival and customs hall, a spacious baggage claim area , vast ticketing and departure concourse, significantly expanded retail space to offer more options for shopping and dining experience and improved provisions for ground transportation, parking and bathroom facilities.
The Sangster International Airport is now ready for serious business, Mr. Golding said.
Last year the SIA handled 3.4-million passengers but it has the capacity to handle almost 9-million passengers a year. “My charge to the Minister of Tourism Ed Bartlett is go find the tourists as we have the capacity to handle them”, Mr Golding said. He invited the investment public, especially the Spanish investment partners to build more hotels as the airport gateway will be able to handle this increase.

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