Saturday 17 August, 2019

New and improved GAIA in the works

IFC Vice President, Georgina Baker receiving a token of appreciation from Tourism Minister, Kerrie Symmonds as PM Mottley looks on.

IFC Vice President, Georgina Baker receiving a token of appreciation from Tourism Minister, Kerrie Symmonds as PM Mottley looks on.

Government has signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank group, for major expansion and refurbishment of the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).  

The partnership has been set for a maximum of 30 years and during the concession period, work to be undertaken at the airport will include expansion of terminal areas, the addition of five jet bridges as well as the relocation and construction of the air traffic complex.  

Tourism Minister, Kerrie Symmonds told reporters the agreement will lead to an expansion of 27,000 square-metres at the airport and they hope to meet the timeline of a year to finalize the tendering process. He did not put a price tag on the cost of the expansion. 

Prime Minister Mia Mottley said after much discussion, government has decided to retain ownership of the GAIA.  

“We will eventually do a divestment, partially of some limited shares to the National Insurance Scheme and to the workers of the airport.  

But without prejudice to that… we would work to do a long-term concession on the airport because it is urgently in need of major capital refurbishment.”  

The Prime Minister stressed that improvement of the facilities at the airport is critical to increasing revenue.  

“An airport is really a mall … therefore you want them to wait in the most comfortable of circumstances and while they wait, we want to entice them to leave a little something behind. That is what we are trying to do to extract greater value from the tourism and travel experience.”  

The agreement was signed on Wednesday at Government Headquarters between the Chairman of the GAIA, Vic Fernandes and IFC Vice President of Latin America and the Caribbean, Georgina Baker. 

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