Suriname investing US$70M to modernize airport
…another runway, air bridges to be added
The Suriname Government has signaled intentions to invest an extra US$70 million in expanding and modernizing the J.A. Pengel airport.
The plan for this has already been prepared and potential financiers have been approached through the Central Bank of Suriname (CBvS).
“This is just the beginning. We have great plans to turn Suriname into a hub,” says Minister Falisi Pinas of Transport, Communication and Tourism (TCT), who spoke Thursday at the official handover of the airport’s arrival lounge and parking lot.
According to Suriname’s daily De Ware Tijd newspaper, so far US$28.5 million has been invested in the airport’s modernization.
For the time being, the arrival lounge, commercial centre and parking lot have been handed over, while the runway has been repaved, the platform for planes has been renovated, the runway lights on the arrival side have been replaced and a backup system for electricity has been installed as well.
Pinas says the project, which was prepared during the previous administration, is insufficient to actually turn the airport into an international hub. “It is still too small for our purposes,” says Timothy Mendonça, policy adviser of the Airport Management Authority.
“The plans cost much, but will yield much as well.”
He explained that the airport must be expanded to get more airlines with passengers from the Caribbean, South America and even Africa to Suriname.
The US$70 million will be used to construct a second runway on which planes can taxi. Then the airport need not depend on just one runway, but will be able to handle more flights a day. This is also in line with international safety regulations. The departure and arrival lounges are currently apart from each other, but plans are to connect them by 2014 with air bridges, so passengers need not walk in the rain or sun anymore, Mendonça says.
Lights will be placed on the departure side of the runway, and the apron will be expanded to accommodate more planes. The fire department barracks will be moved to a more central location.
Plans are to have the air bridges installed in 2014, when Suriname will host the next UNASUR heads-of-state meeting…the other works must be finished by 2015.
Guyana has signed a controversial contract with a Chinese firm to expand and modernize the Timehri airport to the tune of US$150M.
It will see the current runway being extended about 3,000 feet and the construction of an entire new terminal building.
It will also include eight air bridges and more check-in and arrival booths.