Owen Roberts International Airport celebrates yet another milestone in its $55-million renovation.
What was once an employee parking area just to the east of the old terminal is now the brand new customs, immigration, and baggage claim wing of the airport. That area opened to the public Wednesday, and Thursday (25 January), Cayman Islands Airports Authority CEO Albert Anderson took Cayman 27 on a guided tour.
“Clearly as you can see we have a lot more space in baggage claim where we are now,” said Mr. Anderson.
If Mr. Anderson had to pick a country song to describe the newly opened baggage claim, Customs, and Immigration area, he might go with this 1998 Dixie Chicks hit ‘Wide Open Spaces.’
“Space and the quality of the space that we have now is way beyond what we had before,” said Mr. Anderson.
Passengers arriving on Thursday morning’s flight from Jamaica appeared to have no issues clearing Customs.
Over in the new Immigration area, new kiosks for officers, and the promise of more space to come.
“Eventually I think it will be more than double the size,” said Mr. Anderson.
Mr. Anderson told Cayman 27 passengers will see the biggest changes in baggage claim, where the first of five new carousels are already in operation.
“In the next 2 to 3 weeks we will have the other four online, so for me that is the biggest change, just the whole flow through of passengers from immigration to customs is a lot different from what it used to be before,” said Mr. Anderson.
He said the work will continue in the old terminal, where the pains of progress may be most evident for travelers.
“Things are going to get really tight inside the old terminal now, as we start working on that,” said Mr. Anderson.
While he said it was premature to say the project is in the home stretch, he told Cayman 27 it’s still on track for completion by the end of 2018.
The next major milestones are scheduled to come in short succession.
First, Mr. Anderson said the temporary wall in the new immigration area should be out of the way in the next two to three months, almost doubling the available space. After that, he said the new departures hall is scheduled to be ready for traffic in July, with a goal of opening in December 2018.