The Cayman Islands Airports Authority will be dismantling and removing the Owen Roberts International Airport’s non-directional beacon, situated off Walkers Road, this weekend.

The CIAA said the equipment is no longer relevant or in use for aircraft navigation purposes.

The 120-foot-tall beacon, which was commissioned in January 2005, has served as a navigational aid for aircraft landing at the airport, the CIAA said in a statement late Friday.

“It replaced the airport’s original beacon that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. In 2016, the Non-Directional Beacon was switched off and replaced by satellite-based navigation aids to navigate aircraft,” it said.

The CIAA explained that satellite-based navigation allows for a more efficient use of the airspace within the region, and aircraft can fly a more direct route, reducing flight times and fuel consumption.

The mast-lowering and dismantling of the beacon will take place on Sunday “to take advantage of minimal pedestrian and traffic levels on the road”.

The CIAA added that it is working with the Department of Environment to protect and relocate any birds that have built their nests on the high beams of the beacon.

The removal, the CIAA said, is the next phase of continued improvements in operations and safety standards at the airports.

At present, the repaving of the airport runway is under way as the CIAA takes advantage of the limited air traffic due to the closure of Cayman’s borders.

Earlier this month, the airports authority announced its decision to clear trees at the Airport Park near Foster’s and the clearing of land near the cricket field.

“The clearing of trees at the Airport Park has become necessary to provide Air Traffic Control with better visibility of aircraft maneuvering on the newly extended runway at the westerly section of the airfield on Grand Cayman. The clearing of land by the cricket field is necessary to remove the vegetation penetrating the flight path for landing and departing aircraft,” the CIAA said in its announcement.

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