New VC Bird airport terminal unveiled
Antigua and Barbuda has unveiled its new airport terminal, completed at double the original price, with the capacity to handle two million passengers annually.
The expansion of the VC Bird International Airport began as a US$45-million project three years ago, and was finalised at a cost of US$98 million.
"This facility, at a cost of approximately US$98 million, is one we can all be proud of, and I am confident will help ensure the bright and successful future of Antigua & Barbuda," said permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Paula Frederick Hunte, at the airport's commissioning last Thursday night.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne described the new terminal as a monument that has connected several generations.
"Just as previous generations left us their legacy facilities that were relevant and innovative in their time, our generation has moved our country further with the current modern terminal," he said.
"When the inhabitants of our twin-island nation state look at this airport terminal, they can do so with a strong sense of accomplishment and of patriotism."
Browne told the ceremony that there were several other projects on the horizon, naming two as the construction "of at least six properties" by a major developer, starting within weeks, and the development of a 500-room hotel.
The airport terminal, built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, has 14 departure gates, modern security screening facilities, as well as a VIP lounge.
It also boasts 46 CUTE (Common Use Terminal Systems) check-in areas; 15 self-check-in kiosks; advanced technology baggage handling systems; state-of-the-art screening equipment; four passenger loading bridges; 13 retail and four food and beverage shops.
The airport is named for Antigua's first prime minister, Sir Vere Bird, who passed away in 1999.
"The Antigua Barbuda Airport Authority has waited three years for this historic moment," said chief executive officer of the Antigua Barbuda Airport Authority, Stanley Smith. "Finally, we can exhale."