Airport upgrade to break ground this week


As published by the Cayman Compass

Cayman Islands government and private sector leaders were on hand Monday to witness the signing of a $3.6 million construction contract that will begin what is expected to be a two-and-a-half-year redevelopment of the Owen Roberts International Airport. In attendance for the signing, seated from left: Premier Alden McLaughlin; Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson; Arch & Godfrey Chairman Heber Arch; and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell. Standing, from left: Ministry of Tourism Chief Officer Stran Bodden; Chalmers Gibbs Managing Director Wil Steward; Arch & Godfrey Projects Manager Andrew McBean; Senior Airports Project Manager Denise Stabler; and Public Works Department manager Max Jones. – PHOTO: BRENT FULLER

Construction of the new terminal building at Grand Cayman’s Owen Roberts International Airport is scheduled to break ground Thursday and will begin in earnest next week, government leaders announced Monday.

The contract for the first part of what is expected to be a $55 million airport expansion and redevelopment was awarded to local contractor Arch & Godfrey [*], while the design for the project went to Jacksonville, Florida company RS&H and local partner Chalmers Gibbs Architects, airport officials said.

The $3.6 million deal for the “enabling package” to start the airport redevelopment was signed by Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson and Arch & Godfrey Chairman Heber Arch Monday morning at the airport.

The first phase of the airport redevelopment was competitively bid among seven companies earlier this year following government’s request for proposals on the construction of a two-story baggage area, bag screening room and a mechanical room.

Tourism Minister and Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said Monday that the new 29,000-square-foot structure will be built to the west of the current airport property. He said the airport plans to add another baggage conveyor in the area and relocate the existing machine as well. The work hopefully will be completed by March 2016, he said.

The $40 million second phase is about “80 percent designed” at the moment, officials said.

Phase two will restructure the entire departure and arrival area, starting with the departure lounge, Mr. Anderson said.

“There will be some impact [to airport travelers]. We’re trying to minimize that as much as possible,” he said.

Mr. Kirkconnell said he expects the entire project to be finished in about two-and-a-half years.

The entire expansion project includes more than doubling the size of the airport terminal, repaving the tarmac and runway and, in the longer term and if financially feasible, putting in an airplane taxiway parallel to the runway.

Minister Kirkconnell said decisions to redevelop the airport at its current location were largely driven by the urgent need to comfortably accommodate more passengers in the often-overwhelmed Grand Cayman airport terminal.