A $50 million expansion of Owen Roberts International Airport has been approved by the Central Planning Authority.
Phase one of the project, which is expected to be completed over three years, will break ground within the next six weeks, according to the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.
The overall plans, which involve almost tripling the size of the terminal, were reviewed by the Central Planning Authority at its July 8 meeting. Albert Anderson, CEO of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority, confirmed the plans had been approved.
“The Airports Authority is extremely excited about receiving this planning approval, and we are keen to get started as quickly as possible,” he said.
“In the interim we will do everything we can to make the travel experience at Owen Roberts International Airport as comfortable as possible for our passengers.”
Construction firms have until Friday to submit bids for the first phase of the project – a two-story baggage-sorting area, luggage screening room and mechanical room, along with external paved areas.
That relatively minor part of the development has been scheduled first to facilitate the smooth operation of the airport while more major works take place.
The design stage of phase two of the project – the much larger expansion of the terminal – will be completed in October, following a competitive bid process for that job. Construction on phase two is scheduled to begin early 2016.
A planning department analysis of the application, contained in the agenda for the July 8 meeting, indicates the plans consist of expanding the ticketing area, arrival and departure areas, baggage screening area, baggage claim, greeters hall, VIP area, security check-in and screening area, concession areas in the departure and main entrance area, administration offices and restaurant on the second floor, as well as the addition of new space for domestic and international bag claim areas, customer and immigration areas, nine departure gates and an in-transit area on the second floor.
It says the new design incorporates the existing “A” shape into a new glass dome architectural feature.
Solar panels are not part of the current design plan. CIAA officials expressed concern in the planning documents about the impact of glare from panels on incoming aircraft.