Airport parking lots upgraded

A new upgraded parking lot system should be operational at Owen Roberts International Airport next month.

The new system will include an automated parking pay system and a re-design of the parking lots to aid traffic flow.

Meanwhile the plans for the airport expansion went before the Planning Board a week ago, CEO of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority David Frederick confirmed.

This involves a renovation and expansion of the airport at a cost of $25 million to $30 million and is to provide a state-of-the-art facility that supports improved airline service to the rest of the world. The plans also provide space for passenger and aviation activity projected through the next 20 years, along with further expansion possibilities thereafter.

The new upgraded parking system will remove the human factor of fee collection and will afford parking lot users the convenience of doing all transactions automatically.

However, the ground transportation attendants, who were responsible for taking money at the collection booth will still be a part of the Ground Transportation Unit at the airport and will be needed to serve different functions, explained CIAA Operations Manager Bianca Moore.

The human factor will still be very much needed in order to carry out other functions such as managing the money in the automated machines, controlling traffic and locking wheels, monitoring the taxi and tour bus dispatch area, she said.

A press release from the Cayman Islands Airports Authority explains that after damage to its airport parking systems, sustained as a result of Hurricane Ivan, the CIAA was faced with the task of replacing all of its revenue parking equipment.

‘After a period of evaluating various systems and manufacturers, the CIAA selected and ordered an automated parking (pay-on-foot) system from Federal APD, a world leader in revenue parking systems.’

The release goes on to say that in mid 2005 the equipment arrived and the CIAA expected to have it installed and operational by September 2005, however, due to difficulties outside the control of the CIAA the project was delayed. These difficulties have now been resolved and the project is back on track.

During this delay, the CIAA Management decided to take the opportunity to re-design the parking lots and the traffic flow in order to better accommodate the growth in airport parking usage since the opening of the present terminal in 1985.

The new system represents the current technology in revenue parking, the main feature of which will be two automated SST Automatic Pay Stations conveniently located in order to accommodate users of both lots.

Upon entering either of the lots, the user will pull a ticket at the ticket spitter, as is standard. When the user is ready to pay, they will present the ticket at the APS, which will calculate the time used, assess the charge, accept the payment and provide change, if necessary. The APS will imprint an exit code onto the ticket and return the ticket to the user. This code will allow the user a reasonable amount of time to get to their vehicle, present the ticket at the exit verifiers and exit the lot.

Relevant instructional signage will be placed on the machines and strategically located around the parking lots and terminal building to assist users. Without the human fee collection needs, the familiar parking attendant booth will be redundant and will be removed.

‘The CIAA appreciates that the public has experienced inconveniences over the past year, for which it apologizes but it is confident that the new system will prove to be convenient and user friendly and well worth the wait.

‘The CIAA asks for public’s continued patience for the next few weeks as the system is installed and tested. The system is expected to be fully operational in February 2006,’ the release ended.