Minister Henry Welcomes Loan Agreement for Upgrading of Sangster Airport
Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Mike Henry, has hailed the signing of a J$5 billion (US$40 million) loan agreement between MBJ Airports and Scotiabank Jamaica for the upgrading of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.
He said that in addition to providing world-class travel facilities, the improvements to be undertaken will ensure the airport’s continued compliance with international aviation standards.
“Jamaica can boast that we have been named one of the most improved areas in safety having reached 83 per cent by international aviation standards. As we embark on transforming the airport into a world-class facility, we will also ensure the airport’s continued compliance with local and international standards for safety and aviation security,” he added.
Minister Henry was speaking at the official signing ceremony held on Tuesday (January 9) at the airport. He commended Scotiabank for its support in financing the loan.
“I am comforted that we have [a] strong partner in this initiative. The partnership provides a refreshing view of the positive impact that Scotiabank has made on the Jamaican economy but more importantly, as a partner with MBJ and with all of those who are going to be involved in the aerospace industry,” he pointed out.
For his part, Chief Executive Officer for MBJ Airports Limited, Dr. Rafael Echevarne, informed that the airport has seen significant growth, with an 8.4 per cent increase in passenger traffic last year. “We never imagined we would achieve that figure,” he said.
He noted that the upgrading work aims to put the necessary infrastructure in place to accommodate the expected continued growth.
The seven-year loan will be used to resurface the taxiways and aprons; complete renovation of the ticketing area to include new air conditioning system; renovation of the restrooms in the ticketing and departure areas; implementation of new security systems; among other projects.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, in welcoming the development, said the loan agreement will go a far way in improving access to destination Jamaica.
“Without access, there can be no movement and movement requires seamlessness, and to improve on the physical facilities is to enable seamlessness. Destinations are recognised today not because they exist but because they are accessible and [because of] their processes,” he pointed out.
The Sangster International Airport is the third largest airport in the region, facilitating 74 per cent of traffic to Jamaica. Arrivals in 2017 surpassed 4 million passengers, the highest number ever recorded on the island for any one year.