Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Ian Gooding Edghill, has resolutely reiterated that the Grantley Adams International Airport is not for sale and the name will not change under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
He made the statement at a town hall meeting held last Friday evening at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre that aimed to bring awareness to the public about the PPP.
“I would like to make it clear as I’ve indicated before, the Grantley International Airport is not for sale and will not be sold…. The other area of concern is that we will still have a board known as the Grantley Adams International Airport Inc. who will continue to oversee the operations,” Minister Gooding-Edghill stated.
Adding that the investment in the airport is needed at this time, he said: “As I travel and we are promoting Barbados and we’re getting increased airlift into Barbados, it is absolutely necessary that we do what we have to do in order to improve the operations at the Grantley Adams International Airport, as well as to build out the capital asset that we have at Grantley Adams International Airport.”
Mr. Gooding-Edghill also shared that meetings had been held with trade unions, operators and concessionaires at the airport regarding the PPP, and management of the airport had also been meeting with its workers to update them on the plans.
Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on Investment and Financial Services, Professor Avinash Persaud, who is the Chairman of the Government’s Negotiating Committee, pointed out that the PPP type of agreement was not unique to Barbados and had been made in other airports across the world, including the Caribbean.
“Under the concessionaire model, someone comes in [and] invests a lot of money … and in return, it’s no debt for us. We haven’t sold the airport! We give them a share of future revenues; so they invest and the way they get paid back for their investment is they take a share of future revenues.
“And the size of that share will depend on how big is the airport, how much revenue do you have? How much investment is needed [and] how much work needs to be done? And of course, because they’re getting a share of the revenues they want to look after their investment,” the Chairman of the Government’s Negotiating Committee explained.
He further explained that the GAIA PPP contract with the Dubai-based consortium was for approximately $300 million. Under the contract, the investor would receive 60 per cent of future revenue earnings, while Barbados would receive 40 per cent rising to 50 per cent in the last 10 years of the 30-year contract. He also mentioned that the staff of the airport would receive a share of future revenue earned as part of the deal.
Professor Persaud noted that once all the details have been finalised the PPP would assist the airport and by extension, the Government of Barbados in realising its goal of expanding and developing the airport facility; bringing increasing airlift capacity to the island; becoming a hemispheric hub for cargo, as well as having a hotel located at the airport.
On February 14th, 2023 authorities were forced to briefly suspend flight operations at Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI) late Feb. 14 due to faulty lights on BGI’s only runway.
Social media reviews suggest that passengers are generally happy with the service in arrivals and departures at BGI, although sometimes there may be waits when the airport is handling unusually large numbers of passengers associated with cruise ships, or major cricket events.
Some also commented that lack of jet bridges was problematical when there was heavy rain and that the airport was inconvenient for wheelchair-bound passengers. According to Wikipedia the airport currently has 22 departure gates, all at ground level.
Sources: Barbados Information Service, TripAdvisor.Wikipedia.