St. John’s — The new VC Bird International Airport terminal will be completed later than expected and the cost for the facility has been revised upwards, the Antigua & Barbuda Airport Authority confirmed yesterday.
The Chinese-funded terminal will now cost US 75 million – an increase of US $30 million from the initially announced sum of US $45 million.
Completion of the terminal, originally carded for December 2013, will now happen four months later, in April of 2014.
In announcing these developments, B T Lewis, the engineer overseeing the operations from the airport authority’s end said the delay and additional costs are both due to construction of a new wing of the building, which started in January.
“We had expected that this addition would have started either June or July last year,” Lewis said.
The engineer explained that the original master plan for the terminal called for floor space of 23,000 square meters but construction started with only 17,000 – a deviation from the master plan.
He said for some reason unknown to him, the original project was shelved, “and when it was resurrected, we were told the money that was available for the 23,000 square metre building was no longer there.”
Lewis said construction started on the facility with floor space of 17,000 square meters in January of 2012 and it was only in 2013 that the additional 7,000 square meters of space was approved.
With construction now ongoing for the originally intended size of the building, Lewis has been able to put aside rumours that the building is smaller than the existing terminal.
“That building is more than 50 per cent bigger than the existing terminal without the addition,” Lewis told OBSERVER media.
The new price tag for the airport will include the car park, which is also under construction adjacent to the terminal. The US $75 million will also include the cost of United States-manufactured generators.
The announcement by Lewis came after questions were raised about the quality of work and level of local supervision of the project being undertaken by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.
Lewis said at every stage of the project, from finalisation of the design to the current stage of construction, local authorities have been engaged.
“It’s a government building and Cabinet made the decision that Public Works must be involved, so before any work started, Public Works was involved along with members of the airport authority.”
Government hopes that the new terminal will significantly increase the country’s ability to accommodate larger numbers of visitors and will allow Antigua & Barbuda to effectively handle larger aircraft and more frequent flights.
It will boast three jet bridges – a first in the OECS region – as well as more space for airlines, airport security personnel and immigration. (Antigua Observer)