Tue | Oct 23, 2018

MBJ Airports gets US$40m loan for Sangster upgrades

Published:Wednesday | January 10, 2018 | 12:02 AM
Rafael Echevarne, CEO of MBJ Airports Limited.

MBJ Airports Limited signed a US$40-million loan ($5 billion) with the Scotiabank Jamaica on Tuesday that will allow the Sangster airport operator to fast-track its capital expenditure programme for the year.

The airport wants to provide better amenities for passengers and airline crew, both indoor the terminal and on the taxiways.

MBJ Airports CEO Rafael Echevarne said at the signing of the financing agreement that the funds "will be allocated to key infrastructure projects, including the renovation of the ticketing hall and the rehabilitation of the taxiways and apron" at Sangster International in Montego Bay.

MBJ told the Financial Gleaner that these developments will start in 2018, and have varying timelines for completion.

The improvement programme comes as Sangster is reporting a record throughput of four million passengers in 2017, up 8.4 per cent year on year.

"We are anticipating an exceptional year in 2018 following a record-breaking 2017 when we crossed the four million passenger mark for the first time in our history," added Echevarne.

The airport connects Jamaica to more than 50 international destinations. Most of its passengers are from source markets for tourists, including United States, Canada and Europe.

"This agreement is a symbolic milestone in the development of Sangster International Airport as we continue our work to transform the island's leading international gateway into a world-class facility. There is much to accomplish in 2018 and we would like to thank Scotiabank for its support and for partnering with us on this initiative," Echevarne said.

The rehabilitation of the taxiways and apron by Mandeville-based contractor, S&G Road Surfacing Materials, began in 2017 and will be completed this year.

The design of the ticketing hall has been completed and a contractor has been selected for the renovation, but MBJ is awaiting government approval to commence the project.

Other infrastructure improvements to be implemented in 2018 include the replacement of air-conditioning chiller units and an expansion of the airport's commercial space.