Thumbs up on pace, quality of work at Argyle international airport – CDF
CEO of the Barbados-based CARICOM Development Fund (CDF) Ambassador Lorne McDonnough is pleased with the pace and quality of development of the new EC$240 million Argyle international airport in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
McDonnough, accompanied by his Director of Regional Development Lennox Forte, gave the project thumbs up during a recent visit to the 175-acre site, following approval by CDFâs Board of Directors of a second loan of EC$8.8 million to the International Airport Development Company (IADC), the wholly government-owned limited liability company responsible for the development, a release from the CDF said Friday.
The initial input was EC$11.2 million in loan and grants in May 2011.
IADCâs chairman and CEO Dr Rudolph Matthias, Consultant Engineer Leonardo Perez and Chief Project Engineer Jeffrey Cato gave the CDF party detailed reports on the progress of the development, followed by a drive-through of the sprawling site.
Work on the Argyle international airport began in 2008 and is set for completion by September 2013. It will feature a 9,000ft long by 150ft wide runway, capable of accommodating commercial jets as large as Boeing 747s and 400s and a 145,000 sq. ft. terminal building. This will comprise three main floor areas, namely an 85,000 sq. ft. ground floor, a 40,000 sq. ft. first floor and a 10,000 sq. ft. mezzanine floor. A fourth-floor semi-covered roof patio will be used for future expansion of the departure area if traffic demands.
The building, which is also designed to accommodate air bridges, will be about six times the size of that of the countryâs existing E.T. Joshua Airport at Arnos Vale and will actually be two separate terminals under one roof. One will be for processing international and regional flights and the other for domestic flights to and from four other small airports in the Grenadines.
The CDF officials also inspected the stone crushing plant, quarry and base laying equipment, which includes five dump trucks, a paver, two rock trucks, two front end loaders and a rock hammer procured by IADC with the first loan and grants. The additional loan will be used to buy equipment for the paving works and laboratory testing.
According to the release, Ambassador McDonnough said afterward: âI do not think many people in the Caribbean truly understand the magnitude of what is being accomplished here. I am really impressed with the progress that has been made. Itâs truly impressive and I am very happy that CDF has been able to assist this massive undertaking in our own very small way.â
When completed, the Argyle international will fully replace the existing E.T. Joshua Airport and increase passenger capacity by almost four times. Dr Matthias noted that IADC was pleased with CDFâs continued show of confidence in the project and its potential for the overall development of St Vincent and the Grenadines. âIt is also good to see CDFâs responsiveness to the project, as it will benefit the country and the region in many aspects, including export and intraregional travel, among other things,â he said.