New airport for Great Harbour Cay
The dilapidated airport terminal in Great Harbour Cay, Berry Islands, will see significant reconstruction over the next 12 months, according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar.
Speaking to reporters following the opening ceremony of Perfect Day at CocoCay on Friday, D’Aguilar said the government will replace that airport.
“The government is very close to executing that contract and we are going to rebuild that terminal, and also do some enhancements to the airside,” he told reporters.
“But yes this is a well visited growing destination in our country and it really does need a new terminal from the one it has now, so the government has committed those funds to build that terminal, so that will be happening in short order, certainly over the next 12 months.”
The decades old building, located in the island’s capital, is in desperate need of repairs and upgrades as mold and decay shrouds it.
The island’s economy is on the uptick as it caters to the nearby Royal Caribbean CocoCay and Norwegian Cruise Line Great Stirrup Cay.
However, the first sight for passengers as they land leave much to be desired and paints a different first impression from the breathtaking beaches and bays that line the island’s coast.
Upon landing on a near deserted airstrip lined with rocks and gravel, passengers disembark to what seems like a deserted building.
There is little to no signage around the terminal and no baggage claim, as is the case in many family island airports.
Upon leaving, guests are directed to a lone ticket agent for check in, in a room too small to fit the passengers on a 19-seater propeller plane.
Even that room has its shortcomings, with nothing but a stand fan to keep it cool and the ceiling littered with what looks like mold and water stains.
When passengers are ready to depart they must walk around the building and file one by one into the security checkpoint where one officer search bags and another does body pat downs.
They spend their remaining time standing behind a chest-high chain link fence or sitting beneath a cabana, waiting to board their aircraft.
Chief Councilor of the island Lawrence Rolle, who has lived on the island for over 45 years, insisted that the airport gives visitors a bad impression and just “needs to go.”
“It’s been here too long and it’s just dilapidated,” Rolle said.
“…The structure is just bad. [It’s] termite infested. The roof is falling apart. It just needs to go.
“We have materials on the ground now, a new terminal is in the pipeline. So hopefully by maybe next year or so we will have a new terminal.”