St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), a collection of 32 islands and cays in the Southern Caribbean, expects its new, $240 million Argyle International Airport to become operational in early 2013.
The opening of Argyle International Airport, located on the eastern side of the island of St. Vincent, will allow direct international jet service to SVG for the first time and will offer a five-fold increase in passenger capacity over the 32 Caribbean islands’ existing airport, says Glen Beache, chief executive officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority.
Beache detailed SVG’s plans for the new airport at the 4th Routes Americas event on February 14 at Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, which he attended to meet with airlines and other development partners. It is the first time the Routes Americas conference has been held in the Caribbean.
The progress of Argyle International Airport, which is expected to attract direct flights from key North American and European gateways, “has sparked the interest of major carriers from the U.S., Canada and Europe along with leading hotel and resort companies who are taking a closer look at investment opportunities in St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” says Beache.
“On St. Vincent itself, the new Buccament Bay Resort, about half an hour’s drive from the new airport, is set to open with 100 rooms in April 2011, with top amenities and facilities to eventually accommodate 1,600 guests,” notes Beach. “In the Grenadines, CRD Group, an investor in Sandy Lane, Barbados, has agreed to invest over $100 million in the Canouan Resort at Carenage Bay. In Bequia, the Bequia Beach Hotel is expanding from 30 to 65 rooms before year’s end. We see this trend continuing over the next two to three years as a result of the new airport.”
The new Argyle International Airport will replace the existing E.T. Joshua Airport (IATA code SVD) when it is slated to open in early 2013. As the largest development project ever undertaken in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it will be critical to the evolution of the multi-island destination’s growing hospitality sector, according to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority.
Runway and other construction are progressing, with 65 per cent of the project’s earthworks components completed by the end of 2010.
The new terminal building, which will break ground soon, will have three floors with 129,870 square feet of floor space. It is designed to handle about 1.4 million passengers per year, more than five times the number of passengers currently passing through E.T. Joshua Airport.
“The Argyle International Airport Terminal has been carefully sized to accommodate our expected growth in passenger traffic over both the medium and long terms,” says Beach. “Tourism is and is likely to remain our main foreign exchange earner and this investment in major infrastructure development will allow us to attract direct flights from major U.S., Canadian and European cities.”
Argyle International Airport will sit on roughly 175 acres of land and will have a paved runway 9,000 feet long and 150 feet wide. The airport is designed to accommodate jets as large as Boeing 747-400s.
The project broke ground on August 13, 2008, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2012. The airport is being developed by the International Airport Development Company (IADC), a private limited liability company wholly owned by the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
For more information about the airport and updates on its progress from the St. Vincent and the Grenadines International Airport Development Company, visit www.svgiadc.com.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a collection of 32 unspoiled islands and cays in the secluded Southern Caribbean. The Grenadines stretch for 45 miles south from the main island of St. Vincent and include eight inhabited islands: Young Island, Bequia, Union, Mayreau, Mustique, Canouan, Palm Island and Petit St. Vincent. Tobago Cays is a horseshoe-shaped reef that shields five deserted islets and is renowned as a sailing and snorkeling mecca.
For more information on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, visit www.discoversvg.com.
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