PM Gonsalves gets update on the AIA
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has told members of the local media to give him until the end of April to announce a more precise date for the opening of the Argyle International Airport.
This followed a meeting between the Prime Minister, CEO of the International Airport Development Company (IADC), Dr. Rudy Matthias and members of the Engineering/management team who are constructing the Argyle International Airport. Three ministers of government and other government officials also attended the meeting which was called to update the Prime Minister regarding the status of the work at Argyle, how much work remains to be done, the challenges being faced and when the airport is likely to be opened.
The Meeting heard that given the current challenges, including the drill machine which was down at the time of the meeting, the previous one having been down for almost four months prior and the time in which funds were taking to reach the IADC it was difficult to give a precise time as to when the airport would be open.
Having discussed all of the challenges, CEO of the IADC, Dr. Rudy Matthias suggested that they wait until the end of April to see how far another month of work would take them before giving a more precise date.
However, the meeting did not only look at challenges but discussed accomplishments as well. The meeting heard that the runway and taxiways are close to completion with some 70 percent of the wearing coat already placed in these areas. It heard also that the control tower is ready to be used and the Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighter Station (ARFF) is also complete, with firefighters recently coming out of specialized training. The meeting heard that the Passenger Terminal Building is being readied for operation and that most of the offices are already outfitted minus computers which will be installed shortly
It was also said that all things being equal, all earthworks, asphalt and concrete works should be completed by the middle of May. Blasting operations should also be completed provided that the drill machines are working at full capacity. The lighting of the airport is ongoing and is at an advanced stage and will be completed in time for the operation of the airport.
Director of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), Donald Mc Phail who also attended the meeting was very positive regarding certification for the AIA. ECCAA, having worked closely with IADC during the construction of the airport Mc Phail said he did not foresee any problems in certifying this airport. He said some testing for certification have already been done and passed with others ongoing and some that can only be done while the airport is in operation.
While he offered no guarantee the CEO Dr. Rudy Matthias told the media that his team is working towards having the Argyle International Airport open by mid 2016.