As the tourism-dependent Virgin Islands continues to focus on critical airports development, a delegation from the BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) recently travelled to Florida, USA to attend the Airport Expansion summit for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The delegation to the summit held from February 7 to 10, 2023, was led by Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr Theodore E. Burke and included Managing Director Mr Kurt A.G. Menal and Director of Finance Mr Elvis J. Harrigan.
The summit saw attendance and participation of Government Officials,
Investors, Airport Management and Aviation Professionals, Architects,
Engineers and Consultants who engaged in discussions on the most
effective ways to approach airport expansion and development projects in
Latin America and the Caribbean through varied financing and management
Network of experts
Mr Burke in a press release on February 20, 2023, said the Authority is keen to continue the groundwork for the proposed airport expansion and development project and its participation in the summit did not only provide the team with the requisite tools to make better-informed decisions but also connected it to a network of experts who would provide assistance through the process.
Mr Burke added, “During the summit, we were able to interact with other airports who underwent expansion projects using various models as we seek to determine the best possible option for our own development project. These included Public/Private Partnerships (PPPs/P3’s), Government funded and self-funded, who were able to share their reality of each method.”
The Authority’s delegation also engaged in informative sessions on the Miami International Airport expansion project, expansion of airports in the Caribbean region, airports of the future and airport expansion through P3’s with the experts directly involved in these projects.
The team also participated in sessions on aeronautical infrastructure, airport design, financing and project management, sustainable development, implementation of PPPs, budgeting best practices and PPP strategies and PPP Policy and regulatory frameworks.
Various studies being revisited- Menal
Managing Director, Mr Menal shared that the team is revisiting the various studies and plans that were developed over the years for the proposed expansion project.
He added, “We will be utilising all the resources already available to us while simultaneously enhancing our service offering through the optimisation of our current infrastructure. The intention is to develop the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport based on a road map for efficiently meeting aviation demand through the foreseeable future while preserving the flexibility necessary to respond to changing industry conditions.”
Following the summit, some members of the delegation also attended a session with the Airports Council International (ACI) on Legal Considerations for Airport Construction Projects.
This session discussed the main aspects of each stage of the project life cycle, from project definition to planning, design, construction and handover.
Minister for Communications and Works
Honourable Kye M. Rymer (R5) said his ministry stands ready and
committed to support every effort to enhance the system of airports in
Information gleaned will better equip VI- Hon Rymer
Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Kye M. Rymer (R5) said his ministry stands ready and committed to supporting every effort to enhance the system of airports in the Territory.
“I am indeed thrilled that the VI was represented at this summit where the information gleaned will better equip the Territory with the necessary tools to make sound decisions on the way forward as we take the necessary, measured steps to develop and enhance the system of airports in our Territory.”
The expansion of the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport has been the subject of discussion for several years and various studies and assessments have been undertaken to support the proposed project.
According to the press release, the Ministry of Communications and Works and the BVI Airports Authority have shifted the focus from airport expansion to holistic airport development based on a master plan, which is a long-term guide to development that supports an airport's business and infrastructure development strategy.