Categorized | Business, National News

Public Private Partnerships Spawn Caribbean Airport Development

Public Private Partnerships (PPP) have been instrumental in the redevelopment of several airports in the Caribbean, contributing to the economic wellbeing and development of the region.

David Pratt, Managing Director, LeighFisher, a major international airport investor, noted at the conference on Thursday that work has been completed in the Caribbean on international airports in Jamaica, The Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, the Turks & Caicos Islands, Barbados and the Dominican Republic.

Speaking at the third Annual CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Infrastructure Conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Mr. Pratt said that plans were also on the way for the expansion and upgrading of airports in Bermuda, St. Lucia, Costa Rica, The Cayman Islands and the Family Islands in The Bahamas.

He noted that a $409.5 million development project completed in 2013, at the Lynden Pindling International Airport in The Bahamas was a boon for the local community and tourism. The airport now has the capacity to handle five million passengers annually.

At the Sangster International Airport, Montego Bay Jamaica, upgraded in 2001, commercial revenue has risen over 400 per cent over the last 10 years, Mr. Pratt said.

Weighing in on the importance of airports, Adam Stewart, CEO and deputy chairman, Sandals Resorts International, said “airports had a major impact on the tourist experience as it was the first and last thing that they saw.”

Declaring that he was speaking on behalf of the leisure industry, he pointed out that “the visitor does not separate the experience from the taxi driver and the hotel from the airport – it is the total experience.”

Mr. Stewart further called on the government of Jamaica to look at the development of airports in Boscobel, St Mary and in Portland. He said “if airports are the gateway to tourism, we need to unlock the eastern side of Jamaica.”

Michelle Ottey, head of advisory services in Public Private Partnerships for the Caribbean International Finance Corporation said “governments need to commit to these major projects or else they are doomed to fail. If governments consider the political risk too high and pull back, these types of projects will not get off the ground.”

Audley Deidrick, President and CEO (Ag.), Airports Authority of Jamaica, said that already $200 million was spent on the upgrade of the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and $100 million was to be spent on additional work. A contract was recently signed with the Chinese government for the expansion of the runway.

Marie-Liesse Marc, senior director, Business Development, Vantage Airport Group which has worked in development projects in Bermuda and the Turks & Caicos Islands said “there was tremendous potential for PPP collaboration in the region that would benefit all.”

Over 150 delegates attended the conference in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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