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Airport re-development plans

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‘When the Canouan airport improvement project is completed by November next year, this country would have its first Jetport.

The runway has been cleared for the Canouan Construction Associates CCA ltd, a contracting firm in Canouan, to commence further development of the airport.

Some USD $15 million, borrowed last year from the Scotia Trust and Merchant Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, has been handed over to CCA Ltd., to commence the redevelopment of the airport.{{more}}

On Monday at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves signed off on the contract to further expand the airport’s airstrip by some 2300 feet, bringing the total strip of the runway to 5,500 feet.

The facelift would see an additional 2,300 feet added to the 7,000 metre air strip and improvements to the airport’s terminal building and fire fighting facilities.

Nestled between Mustique and the Tobago Keys, Canouan has become one of the economic boons of the Grenadines attracting the attention of foreign investors to it shores. The island is home to the now world renowned Raffles Resort and the popular Trump International Jim Fazio designed 18-hole golf course.

And with an expected increase in visitors flocking to the tourist hot spot, the expansion of the airport is expected to facilitate projected growth.

According to Dr Gonsalves the project will result in the continued growth of passenger arrivals and create opportunities for employment on the Grenadine Island.

“The Canouan developers have been investing heavily into Canouan … and in order to get more tourists to come here we have to, among other things, improve air access. That is why we are doing the jet port in Canouan and the international airport at Argyle,” the Prime Minister said.

Canouan, he said, has over the years seen a steady increase in development as a result of increased economy activity on the island.

Dr. Gonsalves explained that the need for the expansion arose due to the restructuring policy of US based airline company, American Eagle, which operates a shuttle service directly from the US to Canouan.

The Prime Minister noted that with the airline increasing its fleet to accommodate larger volumes of passengers from Miami to the Grenadine Island, the expansion would enable the carrier to use larger aircraft on its Canouan route.

This expansion of the airport, the Prime Minister said, would also allow opportunities for other carriers to provide commercial service on the Grenadine Island.

“There are lots of Vincentians who would use the Canouan airport rather than to go through Barbados and St. Lucia as currently is the case,” Dr Gonsalves said.

According to the Prime Minister, a study done on the expansion of the Canouan airport indicates that the airport will pay for itself.

“That is something which is very import, given the projected economic activity in Canouan.

“I put this airport within the context of the overall economic strategy of the government to generate wealth, to create more jobs and to reducing poverty, ” Dr. Gonsalves said.

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