From 2000 to 2012, the passenger movement at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) has leaped from 384,000 to 544,000 - a 42 percent jump.
Realising the strain passengers influx was putting on the existing facility, steps were put in place to improve it – hence the birth of the airport expansion project.
The runway will be extended from 7,500 to 10,800 feet; while the terminal building, which got facelifts in the1960s, 1990s [Departures Terminal] and 2004 [Arrivals Terminal], will be transmogrified into a state-of-the-art facility.
While critics recognize the need for an extended runway, they are still unsure of the need for a new terminal building. But at the moment, the existing CJIA facility has reached the tipping point where airlines officials raised the alarm over the slow pace in which passengers are processed. Their biggest gripe is the inadequate space capacity to accommodate equipment and the necessary staffing to facilitate a seamless passenger experience.
An extended runway and new terminal building is twofold. With an extended runway, the country’s aviation pundits will be able to entice and attract larger transatlantic aircraft, which means the passenger flow will be significantly increased.
Against this backdrop, Government in 2011 inked a US$150M contract with China Harbour Engineering (CHEC), a renowned international contractor which now hands Guyana the golden opportunity to tap into its marketing tool and capitalize on its mission to be the gateway to South America.
Key components of the airport expansion are:
• The extension of the runway from 7,500 to 10,800 feet. This is to accommodate the BOEING 747-400 aircraft.
• Doubling of Aircraft Position from four to eight.- Eight (8) Passenger Boarding Bridges.
• CCTV system with approximately 300 cameras. The bridges will improve safety by eliminating the mixing of passengers and ground support vehicles as currently obtains on the apron.
• Elevators and escalators - two of each. Departure control system offers the conveniences for airline to manage their passengers at the terminal.