Workers are almost mid-way with the placement of the first layer of asphalt in the 2nd kilometer of the runway. (Photo: Friends of AIA/Facebook)

Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace has cast doubts on whether Argyle International Airport will not be completed before the end of this year or before 2020.

The EC$700 million airport has been under construction since 2008 and has missed several completion deadlines.

The government says it will become operational by October of this year.

“I am telling you, when this next election done, another one will come before the airport open,” Eustace told the launch of the New Democratic Party’s (NDP) campaign for the next general elections.

General elections are widely expected this year, ahead of the March 2016 constitutional deadline.

If Vincentians go to the poll this year, the next elections will be due in 2020.

Eustace said that the airport has been a matter of “grave concern” to the New Democratic Party.

“We are not opposed to building an airport. We want an airport built cost effectively, with proper contractors and so on to minimise the cost. Our airport will cost eventually more than one billion dollars,” Eustace said at the rally in Sion Hill.

The government, in its latest revision, said the airport will cost EC$700 million, but Eustace expressed doubt about the accuracy of that figure.

“We have had the studies done, it will cost more than one billion. All this talk about airport opening in 2015 is a lot of crap. We know it cannot happen; we know it cannot happen. The amount work that is left to be don there is unbelievable,” he said, adding that the fuel facility is yet to commence and will cost EC$32 million.

“The fencing ain’t build yet. If the runway is going to be 9,000 feet, the fencing has to be more than 9,000 feet, and you have to do both sides, … and the short sides. That can’t done in a year,” Eustace told party supporters.

Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace as he addressed the rally on Saturday. (Photo: Zavique Morris/IWN)
Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace as he addressed the rally on Saturday. (Photo: Zavique Morris/IWN)

“So, all this talk here is a lot of nonsense. The question here is not whether you support the airport. We will support an airport but we are not going to support the nonsense involved, because the cost becomes so expensive that in the end the airport can’t make any money, and you have to subsidise it, put tax payers money all the time to keep it alive,” the former prime minister said.

“We can’t afford that. We cannot afford that.”

Eustace said that in the early days of the construction of the airport, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had said a company from Malaysia to manage the airport, but has since said that it will be managed by a government company.

‘They can’t run nutten,” Eustace said of the Gonsalves administration.

“And it will be worse, because anybody who takes over the airport now, you have to keep the debt and give them the airport, or it can’t be profitable the way it is now,” he said.

Eustace said Gonsalves gave an example of such a situation when he borrowed EC$100 million to invest in the National Commercial Bank before selling the majority of the shares.

“We want the airport to be built, but built properly and within cost but the cost going up and the thing is being delayed, it can’t open.

Eustace has said that an NDP administration will complete the airport, saying that too much money had already been invested in the project for it not to be completed.

7 replies on “Eustace doubts Argyle airport will be finished by 2020”

  1. C. ben-David says:

    Truer words were never spoken … except that the airport will actually be finished — but not operational — long before 2020. 2017 is a more reasonable date, that is if all the additional 300-500 million EC funding is in place.

    As for being operational, that is the really hard part as many untelligent comments on this site by impartial observers indicate.

    I don’t believe it will be ever operational if this means seeing at least as many international flights as the least visited Caribean country. All we will ever see are regional flights by LIAT and Caribbean Airlines and a few non-scheduled charter flights, the definition of a white elephant airport that will bankrupt us just now.

  2. Luther Bonadie says:

    Could someone tell me what the helll does Eustace or this nut C-Ben knows about Airport.
    I could sell these two jokers the London Bridge, and tell them it’s the Broklyn Bridge.

      1. Luther Bonadie says:

        If that’s the case , then why is he power for 14 years, and will be there for 20 years.
        That means you and that LAZY Eustace who can’t even built a foul cub are as dumb as a FENCE POST.

  3. TeacherFang says:

    I don’t know why Mr Eustace is getting into this mess of guessing the completion date of this Airport…leave that sh!t alone.

    If the NDP is real smart, they will stop demonizing the airport and come up with some concrete ideas as to what they plan to do with this project if they win the next elections. I think the NDP IS UNDERESTIMATING THE LEVEL OF PATRIOTIC PRIDE THAT A LOT VINCENTIANS HAVE FOR THIS AIRPORT; REGARDLESS OF HOW MISPLACED ONE MAY THINK SUCH PRIDE MAY BE.

    Its one thing as a private citizen like myself and folks in social media to talk all manner of cloth about the airport but when you are looking to govern the country, you have to come with some ideas to get things done. Telling folks that the Airport is not going to make any money doesn’t cut it..I think most folks realized this a long time ago, that’s not a new revelation.

    Let me say this, if the ULP LAND A PAPER PLANE ON ARGYLE BEFORE THE ELECTIONS…ITS MUDDAHWUCK IN VINCYLAND..THAT IS THE PLAN OF GONSALVES…FORGET ABOUT COMPLETION DATE OR WHEN ITS GOING TO BE OPERATIONAL…OUR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SPOILING FOR AN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT FOR A LONG TIME…SEEING A PAPER PLANE LAND DOWN ON ARGYLE…AND IT COULD BE GAME OVER FOR THE NDP.

    The NDP for political expediency, should dial back on the negative rhetoric about the airport and show some appreciation for the difficulty of undertaking such a project. I know its hard for the NDP and their acolytes, to temper their vitriol directed at the AIA…but it may pay dividend in the long run. I don’t think anyone was more critical of this airport than myself, but I have come to accept and appreciate the feelings of many Vincentains where this airport is concern. Its too simplistic to dismiss this area of national pride and the Gonsalves Admin has tap into this psyche in a very astute and profound way, that has become problematic for the NDP.

    I think the NDP have to do a better job of convincing those in red shirts and those undecided, that the Airport will be completed under their stewardship. I am not entirely convinced that the NDP HAVE THIS AIRPORT AS TOP PRIORITY IF THEY GET INTO OFFICE. If as an objective bystander(no really, I am as objective as they come) I harbor such thinking, you can imagine what folks in the other camp is thinking. Its in the best interest of the NDP to embrace the feelings of Vincentians about the airport and not just look at the bottom line of the balance sheet.

    The NDP need one seat to gain power…in the windward side of the country the NDP is anathema to the electorate.Only time will tell if things change. The NDP have little to no wiggle room in the Leeward side,any slip and they gone off a cliff. A repeat of last election results IS ON THE CARDS. I think its crucial that the NDP win a couple seats on the Windward side to guarantee victory. I believe the Airport had a lot to do with influencing those voters in those respective constituencies on the Windward side of the country.

    How is the NDP going to appeal to those voters? Stop being condescending, is a good start.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      You make many excellent points about the politics of AIA. Good job!

      Where I disagree with you is the basis of the Vincentian national pride about AIA. My view is that it is a false pride based on a deeply rooted national inferiority complex.

      Also you have a red herring in assuming that most international airports anywhere in the world makes any money as a stand alone operation.

      I also disagree with your implicit suggestion that AIA could possibly be a success as an international airport whose spin off benefits will at least balance the building, maintenance, management costs plus all the other allied costs associated with attracting and servicing visitors.

      Ain’t never going to happen.

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