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Minister of Tourism Tours Newly Renovated Owen Roberts Airport

07 December 2017, 8:00 AM
Tourism
radiocayman
Minister for Tourism Hon. Moses Kirkconnell and Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson hosted Government and tourism officials on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Owen Roberts International Airport to view the progress being made on the redevelopment project. 
 
The tour took place on Monday, 27th November 2017 and included Acting Governor Franz Manderson, Minister Joey Hew, Councillors Barbara Conolly, David Wight, Austin Harris, Ministry of Tourism Chief Officer Stran Bodden and Director of Tourism Rosa Harris.
 
Commencing with a schematic presentation which superimposed the new construction over the existing airport footprint, CEO Albert Anderson provided a top line overview of the scope of works completed to date. 
 
It was explained that on 6th December 2017, American Airlines, British Airways and Southwest Airlines will be the first to move into the newly expanded check-in area, followed in January 2018 by the other airlines. Additionally, during that time, the existing security checkpoint will relocate to the space currently occupied by American Airlines and British Airways. 
 
"We have worked on both ends of the airport for as long as possible to minimize disruption to travellers, and we continue to make great progress," said CEO Albert Anderson. "The overall redevelopment will greatly improve passenger flow and enhance the travel experience." 
 
Once the newly expanded ticketing area is operational, the CEO revealed that the next big change for travellers will be with respect to arrivals, which is scheduled to open in early January 2018.     
 
"We are very excited that half of the new arrivals hall will be ready to open after the holidays, allowing passengers arriving from 9 January 2018 onwards to be processed by Immigration and Customs and collect baggage in a new location," he added.
 
"When completely finished, this area will be three times larger than what we have now, which even during peak times will enable all arriving passengers to be accommodated inside, away from the elements, while they wait to be processed. Aesthetically, the space is bright, attractive and well-appointed and has been designed to facilitate the best user experience possible. We are confident that feedback from travellers as well as airport based staff will be positive once this space becomes fully operational," continued Mr. Anderson. 
 
The airport reconstruction project is moving swiftly ahead and work is continuing on schedule. Senior Project Manager Roy Williams, who is overseeing construction on behalf of the Government, confirmed that the other half of the immigration hall, along with the customs and baggage hall areas, are expected to come online at the end of the first quarter in 2018.  
 
Work on the two arches, which are the major feature of the airport's overall design, is expected to commence in early January 2018 and will necessitate removal of the existing temporary structure in the departures area. It was explained that once the Immigration department transitions into the new arrivals area that vacated space would be utilized as an expansion to the existing departures area in lieu of the temporary structure.  
 
"From the exterior it is hard to get a sense of the incredible transformation taking place within these walls to create a modern, world class airport that will comfortably facilitate the needs of our growing air arrivals," said Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Minister for Tourism. "Once complete, the airport terminal will be almost three times the size of its current footprint, increasing from just over 76,000 square feet to over 208,000 square feet. To put that into perspective, the arrivals area will be three times the size and departures will be five times larger than what we have now."  
 
"Given that construction will be ongoing throughout the high season, the Ministry and Department of Tourism will continue to work with stakeholders to manage passenger expectations through this period of disruption, the Minister stated. Generally speaking, feedback has been positive and travellers are very understanding of our efforts to maintain a functioning airport amidst the construction," added the Hon. Moses Kirkconnell.   
  
Completion date for the new airport is December 2018 and construction of Phase II is being carried out by McAlpine.
 
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