Mr Speaker, in keeping with the GOJ’s policy to expand and modernize the international airports, the GOJ through the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) embarked on a programme of public-private partnerships (PPP). This programme commenced with the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in April 2003, when the private operator (MBJ Airports Limited) took over the operations of the airport from the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ). Since then, the new operators embarked on a drive to distinguish the facility as a centre of excellence in Jamaica.
SIA was chosen as the first airport candidate because it is the premier tourism gateway into the country. It was in urgent need of upgrading and expansion, and in fact the AAJ had prepared a Master Plan and a defined Capital Development Programme, the implementation of which was made a mandatory requirement under the Concession Agreement.
I am pleased to note that the three-phased capital development programme was satisfactorily completed in 2009 at a cost of approximately US$120m. Other capital improvements were undertaken which, together with related costs and payments, amounted to another US$60m.
In 2012, I gave approval for MBJ to acquire a loan for the overlay of the runway at SIA; this work was completed in the last quarter of 2013 at a cost of US$23m. This project was well-needed by air carriers and was efficiently executed, mainly at nights, causing minimal disruption to airport operations. Discussions are well advanced between the Airports Authority and MBJ for a project to extend the runway by 408 metres. This will enable flights from more distant tourism markets to operate safely and conveniently from SIA…READ MORE