Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Aerodromes out west getting upgrades

Published:Monday | December 16, 2019 | 12:22 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Transport Minister Robert Montague says the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) has undertaken upgrading work at two aerodromes in St Elizabeth and Westmoreland as part of an initiative to improve and expand Jamaica’s aviation industry.

Speaking at last Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the extension of the runway at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Montague said the projected work is to take place at the Lionel Densham Aerodrome in St Elizabeth, and the Negril Aerodrome in Westmoreland.

“We’re moving now to step up the pace with general aviation, and therefore the AAJ has undertaken a programme of upgrading our aerodromes, which they’ve started by installing pilot lounges in all our aerodromes. For the Lionel Densham Aerodrome, we’re supposed to do an overlay on the runway, and we’re putting in some restrooms and a waiting area because we’re determined to open up the south coast,” said Montague.

“The Negril Aerodrome is getting some attention in terms of recovering the runway in Negril, because one-third of the Negril runway is actually under water, and we’re putting in a firehouse and an area where searches can be done with decency and consideration,” Montague added.

Restoration underway

Thursday’s update follows an earlier announcement in March, where Montague indicated that restoration work would take place at the Negril Aerodrome after two major commercial airlines expressed interest in operating commercial flights out of Negril.

Montague also praised the runway expansion project for the Sangster International Airport as proof of Jamaica’s adherence to aviation safety standards. The runway will be extended from 2,662 metres to 2,940 metres in six construction phases at a cost of US$70 million (J$9,839,158,000).

“Since the privatisation of the Sangster International Airport in 2003, Montego Bay Jamaica Airports Limited (which operates the airport) has undertaken significant improvement works to the third-largest airport in the region. As the transformation of the airport into a world-class facility continues, it’s important to ensure that the airport’s continued compliance with local and international standards for safety and aviation security is at its highest level,” said Montague.

The Sangster Airport runway project will also see the installation of a jet-blast screen to prevent damage or injury from jet engines’ high-energy exhausts.