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Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Kye Rymer has said that his ministry stands ready and committed to support every effort to enhance the system of airports in the Territory.
Honourable Rymer’s comments come on the heels of the Territory’s participation in the recently held Airport Expansion summit for Latin America and the Caribbean held in Florida, United States of America from February 7 to 10.
Honourable Kye Rymer said, “I am indeed thrilled that the VI was represented at this summit where the information gleaned will better equip the Territory with the necessary tools to make sound decisions on the way forward as we take the necessary, measured steps to develop and enhance the system of airports in our Territory.”
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Theodore E. Burke led a delegation including Managing Director Mr. Kurt Menal and Director of Finance Mr. Elvis Harrigan to the summit which saw the attendance and participation of Government Officials, Investors, Airport Management and Aviation Professionals, Architects, Engineers and Consultants who engaged in discussions on the most effective ways to approach airport expansion and development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean through varied financing and management models.
Mr. Burke said the Authority is keen to continue the ground work for the proposed airport expansion and development project and its participation in the summit did not only provide the team with the requisite tools to make better informed decisions but also connected it to a network of experts who would provide assistance through the process.
Mr. Burke added, “During the summit, we were able to interact with other airports who underwent expansion projects using various models as we seek to determine the best possible option for our own development project. These included Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs/P3’s), Government funded and self-funded, who were able to share their reality of each method.”
The Authority’s delegation also engaged in informative sessions on the Miami International Airport expansion project, expansion of airports in the Caribbean region, airports of the future and airport expansion through P3’s with the experts directly involved in these projects. The team also participated in sessions on aeronautical infrastructure, airport design, financing and project management, sustainable development, implementation of PPPs, budgeting best practices and PPP strategies and PPP Policy and regulatory frameworks.
Managing Director, Mr. Kurt Menal shared that the team is revisiting the various studies and plans that were developed over the years for the proposed expansion project.
He added, “We will be utilising all the resources already available to us while simultaneously enhancing our service offering through the optimisation of our current infrastructure. The intention is to develop the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport based on a road map for efficiently meeting aviation demand through the foreseeable future while preserving the flexibility necessary to respond to changing industry conditions.”
Following the summit, some members of the delegation also attended a session with the Airports Council International (ACI) on Legal Considerations for Airport Construction Projects. This session discussed the main aspects of each stage of the project life cycle, from project definition to planning, design, construction and handover.
Director of Finance, Mr. Elvis Harrigan said both sessions were very timely and informative and equipped the team with the relevant foundational knowledge to revitalise the airport expansion project and advise the ministry on a development option going forward.
The expansion of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport has been the subject of discussion for several years and various studies and assessments have been undertaken to support the proposed project. The Ministry of Communications and Works and the BVI Airports Authority have shifted the focus from airport expansion to holistic airport development based on a master plan which is a long-term guide to development that supports an airport's business and infrastructure development strategy.
In the interim, the authority in concert with related national development partners will continually work to improve connectivity to the Territory through a robust air service development programme utilising the current infrastructure.