Ogle airport expansion likely for completion by mid-2012

The Ogle Municipal Airport’s development works are likely to be completed by mid-2012.

“In all, everything will take six to ten months,” Anthony Mekdeci, CEO of Ogle Airport Inc (OAI), said yesterday during a tour.

He noted that the expansion works were designed to facilitate aircraft operated by LIAT. He said that a further 200 feet were added to the initial 4,000 feet plan, at the request of the airline.

Contractor BK International is currently adding the finishing touches to the runway, with works being undertaken to the northern end at the turn around point as well as along the runway shoulders.

Anthony Mekdeci

“It looks as if it will take another two months to complete works on the airside, they have to finish concrete works, works along the shoulders…. We have to close that smaller runway and start building small taxiways and aprons,” Mekdeci noted.

He said that that expansion works are also on-going at the airport’s main terminal, which is intended to house an animal health and plant quarantine unit, among other governmental agencies.

Work is also being undertaken on the airport’s perimeter fence, while a new security system is being installed at the airfield, including the addition of cameras at the airport.

As regards landing and navigation aids, Mekdeci noted that runway lights and a Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI), which aids the landing process along with runway lights, will be installed at Ogle within the next few months. “We are still searching for a main navigation aid, a VOR/DOME,” which will facilitate aircraft movements during the nights and bad weather, he said.

Adequate drainage, the erection of new wind socks, signage on taxiways, aprons and the new runway are among the works to be completed within the next few months.

To date, Mekdeci noted that some $1B has been spent on the works being undertaken at the airport, with some $4M being used to complete additional aspects of phase two of the expansion project.

As regards the regulatory requirements governing the project, Mekdeci noted that the airport’s management has been working with the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) in order to ensure that the additional works meet the relevant certifying requirements. He said that the GCAA facilitates the certification process through inspections with the airport’s management and the regional aviation body, the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASOS).

“Certification does not take long, we are in constant contact with the GCAA and we have asked them for a pre certification audit, to tell us what exactly we have to do,” he added, while noting that the airport is not waiting for the actual inspection to be done without making relevant preparations.

As regards the management’s vision of the airport’s future, Mekdeci stated that the development of the airport is seen as pivotal to Guyana, and in particular “extremely” beneficial to persons travelling regionally, whether for business, holiday or tourism. “The access and ease of travel is going to be phenomenal, we expect people to come here, check in half of an hour… very quickly and easy,” he added. “The reason Guyana has flights at six and seven in the mornings or later at nights is because we are at the end of a chain, flights commence here and end here… so when people can come and travel at two and three in the day, it gives the travelling public more options,” he also noted.

The development of the airport is seen as vital to regional and domestic travel.

OAI, under its lease agreement for the management, operation and development of Ogle aerodrome, completed the first phase of the aerodrome’s development into a regional Municipal airport in March 2007.

The first phase involved the construction of a new Class 1A runway of 800 metres to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) specifications approved by the GCAA and construction of a terminal building appropriate for passenger handling, customs and Immigration and security services and associated taxiways, aprons, ramps and fencing. The first phase was financed entirely by the investors of OAI.

The second phase of development of the airport into an international port of entry with a 4,000 feet runway was made possible with the assistance of a €1.5M grant, as part of a wider Caribbean Integrated Support Project (CISP) of the European Development Fund.

This phase is expected to provide a runway and enhanced Terminal Building capable of receiving Dash 8 Series 300 Turbo Prop aircraft, as operated by LIAT and Caribbean Airlines and other similar airlines flying out of Venezuela and Suriname and Brazil.

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