New International Airport on Barbuda set for grand opening, US$14M spent on runway

The New International Airport on Barbuda is all set for the grand opening and welcome within two weeks

New International Airport on Barbuda set for grand opening, US$14M spent on runwayNew International Airport on Barbuda set for grand opening, US$14M spent on runway
New International Airport on Barbuda set for grand opening, US$14M spent on runway

Antigua and Barbuda: The New International Airport on Barbuda is all set for the grand opening and welcome within two weeks. The planning for the celebration is underway as the authorities spent over US$14 million on the construction of the 6,100 feet runway- with an extra 1,000 feet expected to be added.

According to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Lionel Hurst, the new international airport is just two weeks away from receiving all the certifications of approval that are needed for its official operation.

The extension of the runway has been decided with the intent to accommodate larger jets and aircraft from all international airlines. The airport on Barbuda is also aimed at providing an exclusive boost to its tourism and airlift sector as more international flights will be landed on the sister island along with VC Bird International Airport, Antigua.

With an extension of 1,000 feet, the airport will be able to accommodate larger jets such as Boeing 727 jets which are great in importance for the sector.

The final approval for the operation of the airport will be provided by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) to which the government is still in the wait. As per Officer Hurst, they have presented all documents and put in an application with the ECCAA, and now they are waiting for their instruction as the airport is ready for its operations.

He noted that there is a lot of equipment in Antigua that needs to be placed in Barbuda, but the government is taking measures for approval.

Notably, the construction of the new international airport on Barbuda was started in September 20217 with the evacuation of the land following Hurricane Irma. Antigua and Barbuda was hard hit by a category 5 storm which was considered the strongest ever in the open Atlantic.

However, the airport also faced a legal battle in the Privy Council where activists from Barbuda such as John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank brought some evidence against the infrastructural project. The case was about the land where the construction has taken place as the concerns were raised that the government did not consult sufficiently with the people of those lands.

The court also passed the judgment that the government of Antigua and Barbuda failed to consult properly with the people of Barbuda. Concerns have also been raised that the government also bypassed several procedures such as environment impact assessment being sought and granted before construction started.

However, the construction has started and now the project has reached the final phase of the opening and commencing its operation for welcoming international flights into the island.