The final beam on the distinctive arch of Cayman’s new airport was lowered into place Tuesday, marking another milestone in the project.
Politicians, airport bosses, construction workers and tourism business leaders signed the beam as part of a “topping out” ceremony.
Airports CEO Albert Anderson said the event was a “time-honored tradition” in the construction industry. He paid tribute to the workers and others who had helped steer the project toward a December opening.
He acknowledged there had been some “growing pains” along the way but said the end product would be a “world-class airport” that tripled capacity from its current size. Both Mr. Anderson and Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell have acknowledged the project will exceed its initial $55 million budget. Asked about potential overruns Tuesday, Mr. Anderson said the final cost of the airport would not be revealed until negotiations with contractors were concluded. Mr. Kirkconnell told the Cayman Compass that some of the additional costs were associated with extra features added to the design as more funds became available.
Mr. Kirkconnell, speaking earlier to a gallery of well-wishers amid the sound of arriving planes and construction work continuing in the background, congratulated the airports authority on delivering the revamped airport without the need for government to borrow money. The renovation has been largely funded through airport revenues. Mr. Kirkconnell introduced some of the key players in the project and said the opening of the airport in December would be the perfect response to critics.
“A lot of people criticize every day and talk about the airport is not big enough, it needs jet bridges, it will never be finished, it is going to cost too much. That is what they do, they talk. The people I just introduced work and that is the reason we are going to have a ribbon cutting for this airport in December,” he said.
Next month will see the expansion of the Immigration Hall and the opening of the final section of the departure lounge. The completion of the meet-and-greet area in the Arrivals Hall, including a tourism booth, is expected in October.
The distinctive arch for the grand entry hall will be completed in November, with the southern arch, on the air side, likely to be completed in December.