Eustace concerned about international approval for airport
March 19, 2013

Eustace concerned about international approval for airport

Completion date and cost aside, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace says his biggest concern regarding the construction of the international airport at Argyle is that the project has not yet received international approval.{{more}}

At a town hall meeting in New York last Saturday, Eustace told those in attendance at the Friends of Crown Heights, that approval from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) are vital to the sustainability of the airport, when it is completed.

“The FAA of the United States, they have to approve, or their planes can’t land, and if they don’t approve, the plane companies can’t get any insurance, and I really want to see the approval given both by the ICAO and the FAA, about landing in St Vincent and the Grenadines. We haven’t heard that yet, and if we don’t get it, they wouldn’t be able to land.”

Eustace indicated that it would be disappointing if millions of dollars were to be spent, and approval for the international airlines to land at Argyle is not granted by these organizations.

He said that he has asked the question about approval on a number of occasions, but is yet to receive an answer on the issue.

“I will feel very happy if I know the ICAO has approved,” Eustace said.

“That approval is vital and we ain’t get it yet, and that to me is more critical than the $200 million. We need to get those approvals so that planes can in fact land at Argyle.

“A lot of money has been spent already and more to be spent and God forbid that they say no.”

The President of the New Democratic Party (NDP) told his audience that his concerns surrounding the airport also include the cost of constructing the airport, which he estimated would go to an additional $200 million.

He said that this increasing cost would delay the December 2013 completion of the airport, as proposed by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said earlier this year that an additional US$80 million is needed to complete the airport.

“He says that he wants to raise about $20 million from selling lands, the land ain’t sell yet, so you don’t have it to put in the airport. If you don’t have the money now to do those things, it have to take a much longer time to complete.

“So, at best, you could see that the airport will take a longer period to construct. It would not be ready at the end of 2013; we are now in 2013, so we will have to await developments on that,” Eustace said.

Attempts to contact officials of the International Airport Development Company yesterday evening for a response were futile.(JJ)