CJIA expansion will not meet December deadline

--Edghill optimistic of new Easter 2022 deadline

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By Isanella Patoir

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The ongoing expansion works at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) will not meet its December 31, 2021, deadline, Minister of Public Works Juan Edghill told reporters on Sunday.

The delay is due largely to the shipping problems caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The minister assured that this is not an excuse but it is the reality of the situation. He noted that a number of works at the airport are awaiting materials to be shipped from China.

“We had a little delay and we may not get everything in place for December 31, 2021, and that’s largely due to shipping and the challenges of shipping as it relates to COVID and this is not only the airport but several projects.

“Realistically with all of the delays, early 2022 – I will say optimistically and I am working towards that and I am pushing towards that – the latest Easter 2022, we should be able to conclude everything done here at the airport,” Minister Edghill stated.

The US$150 million expansion project is being executed by China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC). The company came under fire last year after an assessment found a number of inefficiencies with the works being carried out.

The expansion project started in January 2013 but over the past few years the project was delayed due to the remodeling and reviewing by the previous APNU+AFC government. The project was subsequently suspended during the period January 2013 to May 2015, since no budget allocations were approved by Parliament. CHECH further claimed that in 2019, the project was yet again affected by the General and Regional Elections of 2020; this was followed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which significantly reduced the company’s workforce.

Once completed, the airport should have an extended runway, taxiways, and aprons with a capacity for eight standing aircraft with facilities for eight air bridges.

Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill

Edghill stated on Sunday that the China International Marine Containers Ltd (CIMC) will be supplying the air bridges through its local agent, Total Solutions.

“We went directly to the supplier for the purchase of the air bridges, CIMC has supplied more than 7000 air bridges to more than 300 airports including to the USA, Canada, Chile, and other parts of Latin America and our region,” Edghill said.

According to the Works Minister, safety at CJIA and the country’s airspace have been boosted significantly, but much more needs to be done in the industry in order to sustain it.

“A skilled workforce with competencies to match emerging technologies, a progressive regulatory environment, and partnerships for safety are requisite enablers,” Edghill explained.

The Public Works Minister also stated that the Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) project which was rolled out in 2014 is now being utilised in the domestic aviation sector.

So far, 29 air traffic controllers were trained and enhanced their skills to expand Air Traffic Surveillance Service using ADS-B. Guyana now has six ADS-B ground stations located at Timehri, Annai, Kaieteur, Port Kaituma, Kamarang and recently, the Liza Destiny FPSO.

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