Brac airport expansion grows

The expansion of Cayman Brac’s airport has expanded. 

Records from the Sister Islands’ planning board meetings indicate that the Cayman Islands Airports Authority increased the square footage of the expansion project by nearly 75 per cent from its initial application. 

In May, the Development Control Board approved the authority’s application for two additions to the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac. The first phase of the project included a 6,816-square-foot addition to the east end of the existing building, with a check-in area, restrooms, security room, baggage screening, enlarged departure lounge and relocated cafe/bar. The second phase included a 4,670-square-foot addition to the west end of the existing building, for a new baggage claim area. 

On 15 October, the board convened for a special meeting, and approved a modification to those two additions, resulting in a further increase of 8,422 square feet. 

According to the October meeting minutes, the extra square footage includes a “VIP lounge” that will be accessible from the arrivals immigration area and the departure lounges. 

Additionally, the extra space will include the following: “The departure area has expanded eastward”; “The departure drop-off canopy has increased in length”; “The number of check-in desks has been increased from 7 to 9”; “The retail units have been increased in size”; “The [Cayman Airways Limited] office has been relocated”; “The bathrooms have been relocated”; “The baggage handling area has been enlarged and reconfigured and the covered baggage handling area moved to the southeast corner of the building”; “A location has been identified for a future external staircase up to the second floor”. 

When it was approved in May, the project had an estimated price tag of $2.5 million. The estimated cost remained at $2.5 million despite the additions, according to the October minutes. 

The authority has not officially stated what the project will cost. The authority’s 2012/13 ownership agreement with government does not list any projected expenses for the expansion or other major capital projects. 

In a 1 October news release, the authority’s project manager Nicholas Johnson said, “The project will accommodate a larger ticketing hall, enhanced passenger screening and hold baggage screening facilities and the addition of outgoing immigration counters. 

“The departure lounge will also be expanded to create additional retail space and a larger restaurant. Office space is also being created for Cayman Airways, as well as the airport’s security unit and a VIP lounge.” 

In July, Cayman Islands Premier McKeeva Bush delivered the keynote address during a ground-breaking ceremony at the airport, where he also announced the renaming of the facility from Gerrard-Smith International Airport to Charles Kirkconnell International Airport. 

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In May, the Development Control Board approved the authority’s application for two additions to the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac. – Photo: Jeff Brammer
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1 COMMENT

  1. This expansion of the Gerrard Smith International Airport, now named Charles Kirkconnell International airport, is wonder-full and to be commended! We, on this small island in the back of beyond, can only hope that when this dream airport becomes reality (some years hence), there will be more jets from other countries and airlines than Grand Cayman (i.e. Cayman Airways is the octopus monopoly on inter-island air-traffic to the detriment of real economic development on both Sister Islands). A new crowd of planes and visitors/tourists from faraway places is desperately needed to re-invigorate the moribund and sad economy of this island. The Brac deserves to shine now that Grand Cayman has become an overdeveloped island with megahotels, condos, plans for more shopping and spending places, restaurants and the like popping up like Duppy Caps (mushrooms, in local-speak)from East End to 7 Mile Beach, from Northside to Southside.

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