ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES CONTINUES ON SCHEDULE WITH PROGRESS OF NEW US$240 MILLION ARGYLE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Source: St. Vincent and the Grenadines
History continues to be made as the St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) government and the International Airport Development Company (IADC) build Argyle International Airport, the country’s first international airport. A collection of 32 islands and cays in the Southern Caribbean, SVG has developed a number of projects—the airport being a prime example—that are transforming the tourism industry and are making the country one of the most sought-after destinations in the Caribbean.
Glen Beache, Chief Executive Officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, shared the news about the progression of the airport at the 18th World Route Development Forum held in Abu Dhabi, from September 29-October 2, where he met with worldwide airlines and other development partners.
Scheduled to open in late 2013 and be fully operational by early 2014, Argyle International Airport, which will replace the existing ET Joshua Airport, will offer direct international jet service from the U.S., Canada and Europe.
The focus now is base laying and pavement works: IADC is handling in-house and setting up its own industrial complex, complete with stone crusher, asphalt and concrete batching plants. They have recruited several experienced engineers and technicians who will manage the industrial complex and execute the paving works. The in-house design team has also been working on the designs for the airport pavings, hydraulic structures, access and circulation roads for the airport. Work on the terminal building itself continues apace and will be completed by December 2013. Upon completion, the terminal building will contain a departure lounge, concessions area, rooftop restaurant, a conference center facility with a rooftop garden and vehicle parking.
The new airport’s US$240 million investment—the country’s most costly capital project in its history and nearly one half of its Gross Domestic Product—is being financed by the SVG government as well as by grant funds and donations from a diverse group of countries including: Cuba, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, Austria, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Taiwan.
“We’re happy to report that progress remains steady and on schedule for Argyle International Airport to be fully operational by 2014,” said Mr. Beache. “It is the result of hard work and dedication from a huge collaborative team, which will certainly pay off when we can welcome our first non-stop flights from North America and Europe.”
The development of the new airport has sparked the interest of major carriers from the U.S., Canada and Europe along with leading hotel and resort companies who are taking a closer look at investment opportunities in SVG. Some of the major developments in SVG that are transforming the tourism industry include:
Ø The 2011 opening of the 5-star Buccament Bay Resort, the newest and largest resort development in SVG by Harlequin Hotels & Resorts, offering an all-inclusive Caribbean experience
Ø CRD Group, an investor in Sandy Lane, Barbados, which has invested over US$100 million in the Canouan Resort at Carenage Bay in SVG, which was formally called Raffles Resort
Ø A multi-million dollar upgrade of Petit St. Vincent by its new owners which re-opened in November 2011
Ø Opening of 15 tourist sites through a European Union funded project
Ø Implementation of standards for hotels, taxis, tour operators, and rental vehicles
Developed by the International Airport Development Company (IADC), a private limited liability company wholly owned by the government of SVG, the airport’s new terminal building will be 171,000 square feet of floor space, and designed to handle 1.5 million passengers per year, more than five times the capacity of the current airport. The Argyle International Airport will sit on roughly 175 acres of land, with a paved runway 9,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. It is designed to accommodate jets as large as Boeing 747-400s.