Argyle International Airport in August 2015. (Photo: FAIA/Facebook)

The Argyle International Airport, which has missed completion deadlines annually since 2011, will be completed by the end of this year, the state firm responsible for its construction said last week.

Head of the International Airport Development Company (IADC), Rudolph “Rudy” Matthias told the media on Thursday that the government wants to have the management team for the airport in place by November, ahead of the year-end operationalization of the airport.

The government has begun to advertise for the top-level positions for two state companies that will manage the airport.

The senior staff will help to put systems in place in November to have the airport ready for operations before year-end, Matthias said at an event where U.S.-based Vincentian donated US$10,000 to the EC$700 million project.

In giving an update on the airport, Matthias said that workers are finishing the retrofitting of the terminal building.

The construction of the terminal building was completed in December 2013.

The retrofitting includes the installation, which has been completed.

The conveyor belts are being installed and the Venezuelan supplier has trained airport staff on their use.

In the next week or two, the airport will receive the airline and Customs and other counters and desks, which will be installed in September.

Towards the end of September it will receive the public seating, Matthias said.

Workers have done the retrofitting of the administrative offices and have ordered the equipment that the administrative staff will need.

The cargo terminal is being constructed and is expected to be complete by year-end, he said.

The cargo terminal, seen here this month, is scheduled to be completed by year-end. (Photo: FAIA/Facebook)
The cargo terminal, seen here this month, is scheduled to be completed by year-end. (Photo: FAIA/Facebook)

“The weather, I am sure, is affecting the construction company there. But they assured us that they are trying their very best to get the job done by year end,” Matthias told reporters.

Regarding the earthworks, Matthias said the team has made significant progress so far and expects to complete the earthworks by the end of September.

“At least the earthworks within the fenced area,” he added.

The culverts that will channel the Yambou River under the runway have ben installed and the backfilling has started.

The strategy is to start in the centre and work outwards, so that once the work in the first 45 metres is completed, staff can continue to build the runway in that area while the back filling continues toward the two ends of the river channels, Matthias said.

The company will install gabion baskets on the Yambou River to ensure it flows though the river channels they have installed.

“The paving works are on-going. We are fighting the adverse weather conditions that we have in Argyle right now. We are trying our best to have the pavement works completed by the end of October, early November,” he said.

“The internal circulation roads are under construction but these are not on our critical path. It is not a lot of work to be done,” he told reporters.

“We are doing them but we do not see them as a problem in terms of completion by the operational date.”

The fuel farm under construction, as photographed on Aug. 27. (Photo: FAIA/Facebook)
The fuel farm under construction, as photographed on Aug. 27. (Photo: FAIA/Facebook)

Fencing work was started and as areas of the airport become available, they are fenced.

“The fencing work is very fast; not the two years that I heard someone say it will take to fence. I don’t know why in heavens fencing an airport will take two years. But it gives you an insight though into how some people think…” Matthias said.

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He, however, said that all works at the airport will not be complete even when it becomes operational.

“But even as the airport is completed, though, and we begin operations, there will be some things that we will be doing outside of the airport fence. Things like rebuilding the segment of the Windward Highway where we had the road slippages … We have de-emphasised the work on that at this time and have scheduled that to be done after we have done the work to make the airport operational.”

He said the IADC will rebuild the old Argyle Bridge, which collapsed some years ago and will also construct an access road to Rawacou at the southern end of the runway, overlooking Stubbs bay.

Beautification of the slopes and embankment will happen after the airport becomes operational.

“So there will be some things going on out there. As everybody knows, there is no project that is ever finished. There is always something to be done after,” he said.

Matthias said that while the construction work is being done, the IADC is working on establishing the business side of the airport.

Vincentians will be invited again to enter into contracts with the IADC for shops and other businesses at their airport, he said.

8 replies on “IADC maintains that Argyle airport will be operational by year-end”

  1. “Operational” — having functioning potential — and “operating” — actually receiving and sending planes and passengers from remote (i.e., extra-Caribbean) destinations — are not the same thing.

  2. David, this is an international airport to facilitate aircraft up to 400 seats each, will it be finished and functional for large international aircraft? Or will it have a limited function for regional aircraft? Because we already have a perfectly good regional airport at Arnos Vale, we do not need another one of those.

    As regards the fence, I have inspected what they have installed, it is about 1% of the total fencing required.

    I will not be at all satisfied with an airport that cannot facilitate international aircraft of the sizes it’s built for.

    1. Well Peter, guess it is still a “fence.” He did not specify what portion of the fence.
      Will be open and operational, but not quite finished. No project is ever complete. Ha ha
      By the way, why are they “retrofitting” in a brand new airport with what we would expect to be all new eequipment?
      Did they have new equipment sitting there since the planned opening in 2011?
      Did they get old equipment in a fire sale and now have to retrofit to bring up to standard?
      What are they retrofitting anyway?
      So many questions, so few answers.

      The whole thing sounds like an April fools joke.

      One fine day in the middle of the night
      Two dead men got up to fight …

      And so on, and so on.

  3. Luther Bonadie says:

    C-Ben,
    You are getting worst day by day, I wonder what you’ll do when Ralph win a fourth term.
    Perhaps you’ll join the band to Mr. Cuffie’s house.
    It’s called paranoia.

  4. I think that there is little doubt now that the airport will be operational by the end of the year.

    As the election is due this year (according to the Prime Minister) we can all be sure that there will be an opening ceremony before the election date. And I believe that this is the real reason why the election date is not being announced – there needs to be a guarantee that the opening ceremony can take place before the election.

    What should have been made clear however is whether the airport will be receiving international flights by the end of the year. If an international airport is built, the benchmark of completion is the ability to be receiving and sending out international flights. Otherwise, we might as well have stuck with the E T Joshua Airport. There will be no point in spending millions of dollars to build an airport to do something that another airport was already doing – we have a regional airport at Arnos Vale and don’t need another one in Argyle.

    So the question someone needs to ask Mr Matthias is whether or not the Argyle International Airport will be receiving and sending out International flights at the end of the year.

  5. I am really surprised by the fact that many here are ignorant of the main problem with the E.T. Joshua Airport . In order for Aeroplanes to get ” Lift ” off the Ground , they should be taking off
    against the Wind . This is precisely why Amerijet , goes to the bottom end of the Runway , at the
    Sea ; and takes off climbing somewhat steeply over the Hills .

    Essentially the Winds are blowing from the End where the Hills Are . Now , it must be noted
    that when The Amerijet takes off , it is much lighter than when it lands at the E.T. Joshua Airport . What apparently some people fail to recognize , Having Passenger Jets taking off
    towards the Hills , fully loaded can never get the approval of the Regional Aviation Authorities .

    So that the E.T.Joshua Airport aint a viable option . Interestingly , those who are opposed
    to the Argyle Airport , seem to be suffering from memory loss . The fact is as I have pointed out on several occasions in this Newspaper , and none has responded to to what I stated is this .

    The NDP was the Government of SVG for 17 years , not 17 day or 17 months , but 17 YEARS . It therefore had an opportunity to build an International Airport . Unfortunately it
    did not think that was a priority in its Agenda .

    Obviously , the ULP made an International Airport one of its priorities , and it started building
    the Argyle International Airport . The Good News is that the Argyle International Airport
    when completed , is going to be used by ALL VINCENTIANS , regardless of their Political Stripe . Therefore those who are opposed to the Argyle International Airport need to stop Whining , and making Silly Comments , like Dr. Friday , who has toured the Argyle International Airport .

    VERIDICAL
    It had an opportunity

    1. People hungry and sick and you think an international airport is high priority? When you get an injury you can’t get care that meets any reasonable standard. Yes, i have the expertise to speak with authority on that. I have been sick and injured and there for care that was virtually non existent. Talk about having to go out to buy supplies. My husband had to leave me there while he went to the drug store to get equipment. I have been in the medical field for many years, I have worked at that hospital. It is a miracle people survive. But we are going to have an international airport. We can’t even care for somebody falling down and breaking a leg. No crutches, the physical therapy department falliing apart. The XRay equipment older than dirt, and we have an internal airport. Is it stupidity or is it craziness? It’s a toss up on that one I think.

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