By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE official opening of the new multi-million dollar airport in Abaco has been further delayed as government tackles several structural deficiencies, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna-Martin revealed.
When the Ingraham administration broke ground on the Leonard M Thompson International Airport in Marsh Harbour on September 1, 2011, officials estimated a 10 month work schedule.
Since then, three project completion dates have come and gone, yet major flaws persist at the $27 million airport, Mrs Hanna-Martin said.
When The Tribune spoke to the minister yesterday, she said officials were still working to pin down a new completion date.
That information, she said, would be released today.
“Just for an example,” Mrs Hanna-Martin said, “the air traffic control tower has no electrical power and no facility was made for electrical power. Things of that nature have caused the opening of that airport to be set back.
“There are also some other aspects of design which we are disappointed by in terms of efficiency, energy conservation (and) whether or not the airport can sustain itself. These are the issues that we are now dealing with.”
The runway is also shorter than would be expected considering the size of aircraft officials originally said would be coming into Marsh Harbour, she said.
“It only accommodates a certain size aircraft. When you consider the size of the terminal, which anticipates a sort of increased market, the runway does not accommodate that. So we are looking at extending the runway and we are finding that that is going to be cost-prohibitive.
“We are trying to make a determination on whether or not it should be done.”
The ministry has yet to calculate the potential cost to taxpayers, but the minister predicted the price tag will not be small.
“For us this is a matter of major concern and one that the treasury cannot take on, which why this is an increased burden. Our aim is to see how we can best correct the airport and create a self-sustaining, economically sustaining airport,” Mrs Hanna-Martin said.