Govt backpedals on 2017 deadline for CJIA expansion
…requests additional $5B in 2018 Budget for completionAfter reassurance was given that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project would be completed by the end of 2017, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson has announced that the end date for this project has been pushed over to next year.The Minister made the announcement during his presentation during the Budget 2018 debates.Public Infrastructure Minister David PattersonIn providing an update on the expansion project, Minister Patterson told the House that the final completion and commissioning of the enhanced facility will take place in 2018. He added that the overall expansion works is 77 per cent complete with “the departure terminal is 50 per cent, the new arrival terminal is 70 per cent, the North-East runway is 95 per cent and the South-West runway is 60 per cent completed.”Moreover, the Minister went on to outline that the arrivals terminal is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2018, while the rehabilitated of the existing departure building is slated for completion shortly after.Patterson added that challenges arose in the expansion of the South-western runway, explaining there has been slippage during the efforts to wrap up the construction. As such, works to this section will have to return to the foundation level, which is expected to last for over a year.He assured that the deadline for the completion of the North-eastern expanded runway will be this month.Meanwhile, in order to see the CJIA expansion project through to next year, the Public Infrastructure Minister revealed that Government is requesting an addition $5 billion in Budget 2018.This is in addition to the US$150 million which will initially allocated to this project.Back in August of this year, the Infrastructure Ministry had organised a site tour for media operatives to be updated on their progress at the CJIA. At that event, Patterson confidently expressed the expansion works are in its “final lap.”It was at that occasion that the Minister reassured the public that the December 2017 deadline will be maintained. He had said that as of Augustm 80 per cent completion was achieved at the North East end of the runway, while the South West holds a 60 per cent completion.Regarding the financing of the project, the Minister told the media that they are almost at the monetary limit catered for in the 2017 Budget. While the initial overhead cost of the project remains at US$150 million, they have already exhausted US$85 million at that time. However, he had explained that the additional monies necessary for the completion will be coming from foreign loans and not through allocations in the local budget.The restoration and expansion of the country’s main port of entry, CJIA, commenced in 2013 under the People’s Progress Party Government. When the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change Government took office in 2015, the project was modified when a number of areas were downgraded from the original plan.