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Abaco airport terminal set for January opening

  • Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin in the House of Assembly, Wednesday, October 23, 2013. AHVIA J. CAMPBELL

Guardian Staff Reporter

Published: Oct 24, 2013

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The delayed Marsh Harbour International Airport terminal on Abaco will open in January, Minister of Transport and Aviation Glenys Hanna-Martin said yesterday.

The airport was slated to open in July and then delayed to December.

Hanna-Martin said it was delayed due to design problems at the facility, among other issues.

“Mr. Speaker, the government has not been able to meet that date as is now obvious,” she said during debate on a bill to amend the Airport Authority Act.

“The problems in design continue to pose vexing problems.

“I will say, however, that there continue to be concerns.  However, the government has determined to complete all aspects of construction and do what is necessary to open the facility while seeking to mitigate the challenges posed by certain design features.

“The urgent need to open this new terminal is compounded by the profound inadequacy of the current terminal and the gross inconvenience to passengers using that terminal.”

North Abaco MP Renardo Curry said the airport will create new jobs and business for the people of Abaco.

“There [are] some men that sow and there are others that reap. So we are the reapers. The harvest is ours,” Curry said.

Many residents on Abaco have expressed frustration over delays in the opening of a new airport terminal.

The Ingraham administration broke ground on the Leonard M. Thompson International Airport in September 2011. The airport had an original budget of $27 million and was scheduled to open in October 2012.

Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis said in the House of Assembly yesterday that one of the issues was the lack of toilets in the VIP section.

He said the Airport Authority will outsource the management of the airport to a private sector entity.

“It should be made abundantly clear that this plan to transfer management to a private sector company does not mean that the government is divesting the property, but only transferring,” Davis said.

The amendment to the act seeks to empower the Airport Authority, which owns Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA), to “incorporate into its remit other airports in the country, and specially in this instance, the Marsh Harbour International Airport as well as a much larger reform of the aviation sector”.

Hanna-Martin said: “Ultimately, it is the intent of the government that every government owned airport will come under the umbrella of the Airport Authority.

“Today, however, we are speaking only of the transfer of the Marsh Harbour Airport from the remit of the Civil Aviation Department to that of the Airport Authority.”

Regarding LPIA, she said, “The icing on the cake, so to speak, will be the unveiling of a statue of Sir Lynden [Pindling] in January 2014 [at LPIA].

“A sculptor has been selected, and the committee formed to oversee the selection process according to established criteria is currently in negotiations with the selected artist with a view to completing the contract for the work.”

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