When government unveiled the first glimpse of the Owen Roberts International Airport upgrade in December, Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said that the project was on target to meet its $55-million budget.
That is no longer the case, however.
Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson has confirmed that changes have been made to the project that will increase its cost to more than $55 million. Mr. Anderson declined to provide specifics on the changes or the development’s new projected cost.
“We know there have been change orders, we know the project will cost more than $55 million, but negotiations are ongoing and that’s pretty much all I can say at this point,” he said.
Mr. Kirkconnell did not respond to requests for comment on the matter, and the project’s contractor, McAlpine Ltd., declined to comment.
The Cayman Compass is pursuing freedom of information requests to ascertain exactly how much the cost and the scope of the airport project has increased.
Government signed its deal with McAlpine in May 2016 to undertake the project, which will triple the airport’s capacity. In December, officials opened the first element of the project, a new wing to the check-in area. About a month later, the facility had its arrival wing opened, which includes customs, baggage and immigration areas.
Once finished, the upgraded airport will have a maximum annual passenger capacity of around 2.5 million. The airport was originally built to handle about 500,000 passengers annually but currently accommodates more than twice that many.
With exploding tourism numbers – a record 2.1 million people visited here in 2017, with 418,403 coming by air – some have questioned whether the project goes far enough.
Mr. Kirkconnell, for his part, said that the new airport will be equipped to handle the influx.
“When the airport is complete, you will see that it is well sized to handle a lot more than 500,000 [tourists] a year,” he told the Compass last month.
Government has said the terminal overhaul will be completed by around Christmas.