Discussions are underway to add a new terminal at the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA), so said Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA) CEO, Albert Anderson Friday (16 August). He said it comes as the airport continues to face challenges with handling increased passengers. “The next step in our master plan was to build a new terminal next-door to this one on the same site. So the question is, do we start that now, or do we do something to the existing building to deal with the problem. So that’s an ongoing discussion right now,” said Mr. Anderson.
Mr. Anderson said since 2013 they have seen a 40 percent increase in passengers, that is just over 1.4 million passengers annually. “It was driven primarily because of the damage that was done to the Eastern Caribbean islands. That’s where we got some of that which is good, not good for them but good for us. The question is will that be sustained.”
The multi-million dollar airport was re-opened in March by Prince Charles with increased spacing.
“It’s hard to say that we didn’t build it large enough because this is growth that we didn’t expect,” said Mr. Anderson.
Wednesday (14 August) the Authority announced that its airport runway expansion project was delayed due to contract negotiations. Mr. Anderson said those discussions are still ongoing. “We expect it would be possible to do it in November, but because of Christmas coming up, and the normal breaks that contractors take, it will probably be January before we start that work,” said Mr. Anderson.
Once the runway expansion contract is signed Mr. Anderson said there will be a set time for construction.
“We will be doing the work at night, outside our normal operating hours of the airport, so it won’t affect normal operations at all, but it will be a hard shut down at 10 p.m. and ramp back up operations at 6 a.m. each morning. As for any aircafts running behind schedule. We will have to work with the airlines, but we have to make it a hard stop at 10 p.m., so we can work with airlines on alternatives if they have a delay,” said Mr. Anderson.
The initial start date for the runway upgrade was in September.