Cayman Islands reveals development plans for airports

i By June 5, 2023 No Comments

The government of the Cayman Islands has approved a series of planned enhancements to the country’s airport infrastructure to improve the safety, comfort and efficiency of the Islands airport operations.

The four projects greenlighted by the country’s Cabinet were revealed by the Honourable Kenneth Bryan, Cayman Islands Minister for Tourism and Ports, at a press conference held on Tuesday, May 30th.

He explained that the projects, which will have a combined cost of CI$76M, either provided a solid foundation to support continued growth in the tourism sector, or were necessary to address safety and regulatory concerns.

“Creating the right conditions for a successful and sustainable future for our tourism industry is an important priority for this government and this is why we are committed to investing in our tourism infrastructure,” Bryan commented. “On completion, these enhancements are expected to deliver significant economic benefits, including increased visitor spending, increased revenues for Government, increased airlift into Grand Cayman and improved safety and efficiencies for the Cayman Islands Airports Authority,” he said.

The projects are:

  • Extension of the runway at the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA), the country’s main international air gateway in Grand Cayman;
  • Runway End Safety Area (RESA) works to be carried out at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac;
  • Construction of a new General Aviation Airport;
  • Installation of an Air Traffic Control Surveillance system at ORIA.

“With up to 25 percent of the Cayman Islands GDP derived from tourism, extending the runway at ORIA is expected to be a gamechanger for the Islands tourism industry. Direct service from ‘long haul’ destinations in Europe and South America will become a more convenient reality for travelers by eliminating the need for additional connections enroute,” said Bryan.

Cayman Islands Director of Tourism, Rosa Harris, who joined the Minister on the panel alongside the Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) CEO Albert Anderson and CIAA Board Chairman, Johann Moxam, stated that a new General Aviation Airport would enable a more luxurious experience to be provided to private jet passengers. “The Cayman Islands are recognized and marketed as a top-tier destination synonymous with quality, style and luxury, and the new General Aviation Airport will be more in keeping with our Islands premium brand positioning,” she said.

Expounding on how the projects would be funded, Minister Bryan explained that the passenger terminal fee would increase to CI$5.00 and a CI$15 airport development fee would be introduced only during the construction period, which is estimated to be from 2024 to 2029.