Airport upgrade nears final stages

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.

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“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.

The beam, decorated with signatures and sporting Cayman flags, is dropped into place.
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  1. Would it not have been more cost effective to instal jet bridges rather than these cosmetic arches which serve only vanity rather than utility. A “world class airport” does not require all it’s passengers to disembark down stairs in the pouring rain As for the cost overrun it is obvious Mr Anderson has no idea what the final cost will be, as for some strange reason he seems to have agreed a number of changes without agreeing the cost beforehand.
    Mr Kirkconnell says we will have a ribbon cutting in December, but what I really want to know is exactly when I can purchase my duty free again, and have a choice of restaurants in the departure lounge having suffered the limited and price gouging service we now get from the sole franchisee.