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Speaking with intimate knowledge of process of construction of the GBIA , the dates being thrown out appear to be wildly optimistic at best.
If the 12/18 date is real, then a lot of parts need to be in motion as we speak.
Here are a few points to note:-
The GBIA will need extensive temporary buildings to open any time soon. They need to be purchased/ leased and shipped to the island and then installed. These would need to the suitable to last 18- 24 months use and the climatic conditions (ie hurricanes). Unless they are already being shipped now, then a 12/18 opening will not happen. Also it would be doubtful if the US would allow pre-clearance to recommence from the temporary facilities, not the end of the world but an inconvenience. This has been their past practice.
Security equipment (baggage scanners, personnel scanners etc.), baggage handling, ticket terminals, IT infrastructure, ground handling equipment, vehicles needs to be borrowed/ purchased/ leased and shipped to the island. What is the state of the crash Rescue vehicles, are are a must have to open. What is the state of the Control tower and its infrastructure?
Assuming that the decision is made to rebuild the Pre-clearance terminal in the present location/ elevations, then it is at-least a 12- 18 month minimum construction period from signing of contracts would be realistic.
The Pre-clearance terminal design was the first pre-clearance after 9/11. No doubt the US DHS will use this as an opportunity to redesign of their facilities to meet current standards. This redesign and their approvals will take minimum 6 months.
It would be a complete waste of money to rebuild the Domestic/ Non preclearance Terminal in the existing location. This was always intended as a stop gap measure after the hurricanes of 2004-5, it is a converted hanger. The 2002 Pre-clearance Terminal was designed with a future multi bay extension to include the Non-preclearance and international/ Domestic flights. Assuming the decision is made to rebuild the existing then this would make a lot of sense.
The bottom line is that to restore the GBIA to a fully function pre Dorian condition, you are looking at least 2- 2.5 years i.e. 2022-3. And this is separate to the owner ship/ funding issue being resolved.
Also it would make sense to seek expert advice on how to flood proof the GBIA. A suggest, the Dutch have been living and building airports under sea level since the 1950’s, an expert opinion would be money well spent.
Bottom line, media speculation/ vague promises from government and deafening silence from the shareholders does not bode well for the future. The shareholders/ government need to be holding detail discussion/ planning sessions now if the airport is to open any time soon. Maybe they are but who knows?
Last login: Monday, January 6, 2020
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