September 6, 2013

Airports – From whence we came!

by McGregor Brisbane Fri Sep 6, 2013


The Argyle International Airport: was launched in August 2005, not only a brainchild of Prime Minister Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, but after five years of consultations (2001-2005) and sound advice, we saw the formation of a well needed commodity to see this country move forward. Consultations were held with several friendly countries to form what has been called the “Coalition of the Willing”{{more}}

The list of countries are as follows: Austria-Cuba-Iran-Libya-Mexico-Taiwan-Turkey-Trinidad & Tobago-Venezuela, and some seven years since this launch, with ground breaking taking place in 2007, we see a development that will ring in the ears and shine in the eyes of our present as well as future generations to come, as a well thought-out development for this country’s future.

Many persons still speak ill of this project, not to mention the false statements that are quite often placed in our print media, which are so far from the facts.

As with everything else, some setbacks must be expected with a project of this magnitude,..to note for example that every time excavation was conducted and any artifacts were unearthed, quality time had to be spent carrying out very specific evaluations and documentation by the archeologists, who had been invited to our shores by the IADC, and our National Trust, to determine the historical facts about those findings, placing this quality time into lost time, and this happens around the globe with any such projects large or small, once it involves any national heritage discoveries, so let us not for one moment think that the Government in stating any new completion date would have had it wrong from the beginning, as some persons have stated.

The argyle international airport is being built to all the norms and specifications required by the regulated, regional and international bodies. Argyle will prove itself to be one of the better/safer airports within the region.

The specifications at Argyle are as follows;

Paved runway length 9000 feet; paved runway width 150 feet; grassed verges on either side 100 feet wide, giving an overall width of 350 feet; elevation above mean sea level (AMSL) is approximately 80 feet at the lowest point.

Argyle is being built to take long haul jets of the type Boeing 747-400 and Airbus A380, plus all small to medium size aircraft, that are desirable of using SVG.

Argyle will have all the modern facilities in place to aid in a full visual or instrument approach and landing, which several airports in the region do not have. The issue of the wind direction, (this needs to be put to rest once and for all) after several years of wind studies (first wind station out of three was erected in 2006) see the IADC reports, Argyle would not see the need for any crosswind runway, as the studies definitely show that the prevailing winds are very constant, not gusting, and at times 1-2 degrees east off your take-off heading, this lends for modern day aircraft no problem whatsoever.

In reference to the salt air and what can it pose to operations of aircraft, well you tell me which airport in the entire Caribbean sits more than ? mile from any coastal (salty) area where the air is less salty than that at Argyle; maybe Trinidad or Guyana. Also on the subject of salinity, more salt is applied at airports in the northern region (USA – Canada – Europe) for the de-icing of the runways in winter as you would want to think, are those planes rusting?? “I would think not”!!

The terminal building at Argyle is of a very modern design, with all the up-to-date conveniences of a first class structure, which several of our sister countries in the Caribbean cannot boast of. It is anticipated that this terminal will be able to accommodate up to 1.5 million passengers yearly, as opposed to the current numbers between 200-300 thousand being catered for at E.T. Joshua annually, and which will see us through for the next 30 plus years.

In conclusion, and as we all anxiously await the completion of our own international airport at Argyle, that would see a greater and more improved air access to and from this country, we hesitate and ponder as to what name should we give this new-born at birth. My suggestion, as I place it at our nation’s feet, is it should be named after our first national hero- “The Joseph Chatoyer International Airport”.


My experience and knowledge about airports stems from twelve years serving in the British Armed Forces. I enlisted in 1966 and served six years on active duty, with six years on reserve. During my first period I served in the Royal Artillery, 24th. Missile Regiment; after two years I was transferred to the Army Air Corps, and trained as an Air-Gunner/Air-Observer, with my latter service period in the field of Air Traffic Control, having been trained in both Approach and Ground Control Systems; also having trained/worked for a short period at the then largest air traffic control centre in Europe, “Euro-Control” in Maastricht-Belgium and Karlsruhe-Germany, (with headquarters now located in Brussels), we operated and maintained the distinct separation between all military and civilian air traffic throughout central Europe.

I, therefore, consider myself suitable enough to speak on the above subject, applying absolutely no bias whatsoever.