July 21, 2015
Jet bridges acquired for Argyle international airport

The International Airport Development Company (IADC) has received three jet bridges for the Argyle airport.

The jet bridges arrived at Port Kingstown last week and during a press briefing at the port on July 16, Manuel Torres, project manager at ThyssenKrupp, the company that manufactured{{more}} the equipment, said the bridges are roughly 18 metres in length and weigh approximately 15,000 to 17,000 kilos.

Torres said the jet bridges are outfitted with glass, which allows passengers the visibility of the beach front and a view of Argyle as they walk between the aircraft and the terminal. He also stated that the bridges allow passengers to walk in a controlled environment, which is adapted to suit all weather conditions. Additionally, Torres mentioned that the machines are operated using a hydraulic system that allows for them to be adapted to different ranges of aircraft.

Installation of the bridges should have begun yesterday and is estimated to take approximately three weeks, with another week for commissioning and training of personnel. The installation will be done by a special team of installers from the United States.

Dr Rudy Mathias, CEO of the IADC, who was also in attendance at the press briefing, reiterated that the airport will be completed by the end of 2015 and offered an update of the work being done on the airport.

He stated that the terminal building was being outfitted with conveyor belts by a firm from New Zealand, a process which should be completed by the end of this month. He said the installation of scanners will begin in the latter half of this month and by end of the month, all the scanners and conveyor belts should be installed.

Matthias said additionally, the Overseas Engineering and Construction Company Limited (OECC) is currently working on the partitions and administrative offices and is outfitting them with office furniture, a process which is expected to be completed within a week.

He said the work that is still left to be done includes public seating, check-in counters and the sound system.

According to Matthias, however, these systems and fittings have been ordered and are on their way. He said the seats have been ordered from China and because of the distance, he expects them to arrive by September; the counters, on the other hand, should arrive in early August. Matthias stated that by September, the terminal building should be “substantially retro-fitted.”

He, however, said that because July has been a very wet month, paving of the runway has been held up a bit, but he still believes that it should be most likely completed by the end of September.

He stated that the Argyle international airport should be in a position for planes to land by the end of the year.

“The goal is to get the airport ready and operational by the end of the year,” Matthias said.

Jet bridges are enclosed, movable connectors which extend from an airport terminal gate to an airplane, allowing passengers to board and disembark without going outside.

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, at the press briefing, stated that the Argyle international airport is one the few international airports in the Caribbean that is equipped with jet bridges.(CM)