Premier, and Minister for Finance, Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith announced that the Airport Expansion Project will be prioritised in the next administration. Premier Smith while addressing the Territory on 4 May stated that the Project was going to pick up steam following the elections and criticised persons who are spreading rumours about the expansion.
Hon. Smith said: “The extension of the runway at the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport is critical if we are to sustain our market share of the overnight visitors. It is also essential for our own travels especially in emergency situations. A lot of work has already gone into this and securing the extension will be given the highest priority in the next administration.”
In reference to rumours about the project, the BVI Leader declared: “There is a lot of scare mongering going around to the effect that this project will be privatised. This Government has always been fully open and transparent about it: we are looking at all options for the financing of the airport and that includes Public Private Partnerships which is standard in so many places, including Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom, and recently, the airport in Jamaica.”
The most recent update on the project was delivered early this year when it was announced that the preliminary process for the extension was near an end. The update was provided by Deputy Premier, and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr the Hon. Kedrick Pickering during the NDP program on 5 January.
At that time the Deputy Premier announced that Government embarked on the final part of the bidding process for the Airport Expansion project.
Hon. Pickering, under whose portfolio the anticipated airport expansion project falls announced : “I just want to assure the listening public that the project is moving forward in a very deliberate manner. The final addendum was issued to the three bidders in early December and that whole process is in trend right now.”
The key elements of the proposed project include: Extension of existing Runway into the sea, Passenger Terminal Expansion and upgrade, Aircraft Ramp Expansion (G-5 aircraft, RJ’s; A-320; 737-800; other private jets), Sewage Treatment Plant and Fire Fighting system relocation, New FBO Facility. Pleasure craft water access-excavated channel, Inter-Island Ferry/Transport service upgrade/relocation, Trellis Bay Welcome and Visitor Center (Transportation Intermodal Center) that includes: Crafts and gift shop, Indigenous arts and craft manufacturing and museum, Live flora indigenous to Beef Island (lignum vitae stand of trees), Traffic Reorganization, and Car-park upgrade.