Tue | May 21, 2019

Airline interests eye Negril’s airstrip

Published:Tuesday | March 5, 2019 | 12:16 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Transport Minister Robert Montague has indicated that two major commercial airlines have expressed an interest in operating domestic flights in and out of the Negril Aerodrome in Westmoreland.

“We are moving to do some work on the facility (the airstrip). We are in an advanced state of discussion with two commercial airlines which may be using that strip,“ said Montague in a recent interview with The Gleaner.

According to Montague, his ministry is now gearing up to commence rehabilitation work on the airstrip, which he said has awesome potential but is being used sparingly for commercial purposes.

“We have gone to tender for some rehabilitative works,” said the minister. “The plumbing is in an atrocious state and at least 25 per cent of the runway is under bush and water. The grounds just look horrible.”

However, buoyed by the news that the airstrip could be brought back into full use, Montague said there will be no delay in whipping the facility back into shape.

The renovation works will include a fire-response system and a pilot lounge,

Montague, who also has portfolio responsibility for aviation matters, said the Negril Aerodrome remains the busiest of its type across the island.

“... Ryanair flies there and you have people privately who fly there,” said Montague.

For many years, tourism players have been calling for a major expansion of the Negril airstrip, which they believe could be used to provide air transport between the resort town and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.