Plans to re-develop the Hewanorra International Airport are in the pipeline as government is currently in discussion with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) for assistance with an evaluation for this project.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony announced Tuesday evening during his presentation of the estimates of expenditure for the new financial year that the objective is to have the IFC conduct an evaluation that will include a detailed technical, legal and financial analysis of the airport and a comprehensive assessment of development options. This comprehensive study will conclude with a presentation to government of a recommended transaction structure for the sustainable development of the airport, under a public-private partnership.
Prime Minister Anthony indicated that the airport faces capacity constraints as several flights arrive and depart within a short period of time, resulting in severe congestion in the terminal and the apron – the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled, or boarded..
“This significantly limits the airport’s ability to support current and future growth in passenger traffic. The tourism industry is a key engine of our economy. By redeveloping the airport, we will be helping to support our country’s economic and social development.”
“We believe a well-structured public-private partnership could leverage private sector expertise and capital and help our government enhance the quality and efficiency of services the airport is able to deliver for the benefit of the population and visitors to our island,” the prime minister opined.
IFC is expected to present its recommendations to government no later than the end of this year.
These recommendations will allow Cabinet to make an informed decision regarding the public-private partnership and the design of a transparent, competitive tender process to identify a suitably qualified private sector partner to help them in achieve this long-standing goal.
In addition to this, a pre-construction of airport facilities to accommodate a fixed base operator has also commenced, with the signing of a lease agreement and the submission of designs to the Development Control Authority of Saint Lucia for approval.
“I do hope that actual construction of the FBO facility will begin during this fiscal year. The facility is expected to cost about US $2-million,” he added.