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Airport expansion is not an ego trip – Hon. Pickering

- Gov’t examining two options
The options available to Government: option four (top) and option six (bottom). Photo: Aneka Edwards/VINO
Hon. Pickering making a point at the meeting. Photo: VINO
Hon. Pickering making a point at the meeting. Photo: VINO
The reaction was mixed for the airport's expansion. Photo: VINO
The reaction was mixed for the airport's expansion. Photo: VINO
EAST END, Tortola, VI – The reaction to the expansion of the Territory’s main airport was mixed at a town hall meeting held last evening, March 27, 2012 at the East End/Long Look Community centre but Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Dr. Kedrick Pickering assured residents that the project is not an ego boosting one.

He was responding to a resident who indicated a longer runway did not necessarily mean larger aircrafts will bring in more tourists, but what was instead needed were more airlifts not “an ego boosting 7,000 feet runway that is going to cost us a lot of money and is going to be underutilized.”

The resident suggested that the local airlines should be assisted and seaplanes could be encouraged in the Virgin Islands. “We have reached saturation point and I suggest what we should be spending our money on increasing the quality of tourism rather than trying to bring in more people.”

However, Hon. Pickering respectfully disagreed. “…[the expansion] is not just about bringing in bigger aircrafts, it’s about accessibility. The airport is also a sovereignty issue. We are building a nation and must have certain characteristics that must determine its sovereignty. Let us understand that, so building the airport is not an ego trip…..if our country is going to grow we have to have access to the wider world, not depending on St. Thomas and St. Croix which are US Territories.”

Although a decision has been made to expand the airport, the Minister divulged that no other decision has been made beyond that. He added, “We have to do other research on how we are going to do it. Kraus-Manning, the firm hired to execute the environmental impact, is scheduled to give its report which will submitted to the BVIAA by the end of April.”

Government’s options for airport’s expansion

Managing Director (MD) of the BVI Airport Authority (BVIAA) Denniston Frazer in a PowerPoint presentation told residents that Louis Berger, a US company that carried out the feasibility study, submitted several options. Now it is down to two – options four and six.

Painting the picture of the pros and cons of option four, the MD stated that the runway will be lengthened to 6,068 feet with two runways in operation. He noted that they will be able to facilitate direct flights from Miami and Atlanta on Boeing 747 and 700.

“This will be the best option for Beef Island. In particular the consultant looked at the capacity of aircraft movement, environmental impact, and financial feasibility,” Frazer added.

As for the advantages, option four will offer a direct approach from the sea, there will be potential for expansion, and Trellis Bay will be hardly affected, while the disadvantages include crosswind landings, there will be an environmental impact, and increased wind shear which could be a bit unsafe for landing.

Additionally, the noise pollution at Scrub Island and Great Camanoe are concerns and any lengthening would infringe water traffic.

Meanwhile, option six will see the runway extended to some 7,000 feet and would be able to accommodate AB 390, 320 and the Embrea 190. This option, Frazer told residents, will reduce the environmental impact which would save the pond and beach, reduced crosswinds, and accommodate code C and D aircrafts.

However, the disadvantages include higher weather minimums meaning jets would have to use a height of about 1,290 feet and the runway must be visual and the circling approach while the concerns include future widening will have an environmental impact on Trellis Bay and salt ponds.

According to the BVIAA’s Managing Director, option four would cost Government $70M, and option six $38M. The project will be done in several phases.

Although a timeline was not given when the expansion will commence, Hon. Pickering revealed the airport development will more than likely be funded by the airport’s revenue. He added that there is no shortage of interest in financing the airport. When the project starts it will take between 18 to 24 months to be completed.

59 Responses to “Airport expansion is not an ego trip – Hon. Pickering ”

  • confused (28/03/2012, 08:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Scrub Island is trying hard to be an upscale addition to the BVI Tourist market. They have utilized a nice marina to attract high end clients in private yachts....none of the clients will want to be in the flight takeoff pattern for an airport...
    • Easy Come.. (28/03/2012, 21:32) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Scrub Island is already in the flight path. What is your point?
      • You are Slow (29/03/2012, 00:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Flight path of an ATR-72 is one thing, the flight path of a 737 is another. You got it now?
        • Well Sah (30/03/2012, 13:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          What flight path you talking about planes and land anywhere anytime as long as the demand is there for passengers.
      • Nikhil (04/08/2012, 15:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        I really enyojed doing your walk before, and was hoping to be on your waiting list, but they will not let you be on one waiting list and registered for another walk at the same time Hope to get on your walk next year!
    • Jqak (04/08/2012, 04:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Maybe a little. It would seem that he's faliry open to the fact that it's not his real name, and there is plenty of space in the world for two of you. Even if it is just a stage name.
  • whatIthink (28/03/2012, 08:19) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    On the one hand, we want to build a bigger runway and terminal (nobody is saying it now but the present one won't be able to sustain any great increase in traffic), a bigger cruise ship pier and a bigger ferry terminal. Then on the other hand we're worried about the fact that BVIslanders are a minority in the country and that our culture and way of life are dying. It doesn't compute! Those three projects alone will required at least a thousand or more workers to be brought in, figure in families and eventually sending for children and next thing the population has grown by a couple thousand. The impact on the physical and social infrastructure will be massive seeing as how they are already overburdened. And if you tell me, they'll be building bigger schools, more and better roads, etc. then I just have to ask - where is the money coming from? As far as I see it, the BVI has always put an emphasis on bigger and bigger projects and not on the schools, the clinics, etc so if we have funds to build - they'll go towards the fancy projects. What kind of society are we really trying to go for here?
    • wongchichi (28/03/2012, 11:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your argument is flawed in many aspect 1. There are thousands of skilled and unskilled workers in the VI who are not working all the time so the necessity for thousands of workers is an exaggeration at best. 2. When an individual comes to work it is not and should not be a guarantee that their families and children come to live with them and it is high time our labor dept starts to assess that information when granting permits for obvious reasons and if it is monitored your concerns will never come to fruition. Many countries have migrant workers that come and then leave after their contractual obligations are up. once gov't puts certain stipulations in place for those that come to work on these projects we will have no problem.
  • Not Sure (28/03/2012, 08:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Were are all the people for these big planes they can't even fill A/E planes now!!!!
    • dog fight (28/03/2012, 15:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      we will always have the naysayers towards everything that is good for the BVI. Mr. Pickering keep your focus and go full speed ahead. We need the expansion and we need it now!
  • Guts (28/03/2012, 08:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Something is wrong with this picture. How is it that Option 4 (top), which is clearly the option providing the greater opportunity for expansion is listed as only 6,068 feet, and option 6 (bottom) which is clearly restricted by Trellis Bay is listed as affording 7,000 feet? Option 6 clearly renders Trellis Bay obsolete, and no government can conceivably be expected to do such a dastardly act to its people, the environment, or its country. If government is serious, it will stop playing around, come clean with the people and tell them what the realities are, whether they want to hear it or not. Option 6 is a total waste of money, it offers no possibility for expansion, and aircrafts are requiring more and more runway, not less and less. This means that as new aircrafts enters the market, there will be need for longer, not shorter runways. So consider option 6, it kills Trellis Bay, with no possibility for expansion in the future. Where is the Vision? Option 4 however, does harm to the Pond (which by the way, can be recreated), but offers the possibility for expansion down the road. If option 6 is used, some government 10 years from now will be back arguing for option 4, and you know what, things will be so bad with airlift that we won't have a choice. The bad news then will be, that Trellis Bay would have been lost, and the Pond we saved by choosing option 6 in the first case, would then be lost. Government needs to come clean with this one.
    • ??? (28/03/2012, 09:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      • bat man (30/03/2012, 16:02) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        the whole thing tis much do do about nothing...just a few people trying to cause confusion.
    • Well Sah (29/03/2012, 11:24) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Guts: I disagree with you regarding the lenght of the runways. The types of aircrafts operated today are so technically advance that they are able to take off from short runways. Now if there are obstructions to the approach or departure to the runway, there is lies another problems. Aircrafts such as the 757s, A319, A320 and 737-300 are capable of utilizing short runways. Why stop of 7000 ft we should go for 10000ft then we can accomodate direct flights from london with Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. Additionally we will trump St Thomas with a longer runway as we always try to do. fill in all of the bays that are need and get the project on the way.
      • Guts (29/03/2012, 14:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        What did I say about the Runway length that is not factual, fou you to disagree with. To just say you disagree with me with what I say, after saying so much, is just to be talkiing. Be specific. And when you say aircrafts such as the A320 and 757 (which are different size aircrafts) can land on short runways. Explain what you mean by short. As for going for 10,000 feet, I'm all for that, but you sure can't get it using Option 6
        • Well Sah (29/03/2012, 20:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          @ Guts::: A disagreed with your statement that aircrafts are requiring "more and more runways not shorter runways" Well Aircrafts such as the 757 and A319 can perform safely on runways at the length of about 5,000 ft because with todays advance technology these aircraft where designed to perform on short runways. Especially the 757 aircraft have you ever flown on one of these planes and see how quickly they are capable of departing any runway. Aircrafts such as the 747 and A380 which requires long runways wouldn't be coming to Tola anytime in the near future.
          • Guts (30/03/2012, 09:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            Wiell Sah". It's funny you we are here talking about extending a runway for accommodation of bigger aircrafts in the future, and you are planning for the 757 ( an Aircraft that is no longer in production). Further, the preeminent single aisle aircrafts, Boeing's 737 which is slated for upgrade to the 737 MAX with bigger engines ( meaning more runway, not less), and Air Bus's A320 Neo, same thing. Which future are you looking at. Let us stop fooling people, it is ok to fool yourself, but don't foo the poor people. Please, 5 years and $38 million later, we are going to be right where we are today, but worst off because we would have ran out of options. There is absolutely no demand out there for the production of new aircrafts requiring short runways, because the overwhelming majority of countries with airports has adequate flat land to accommodate these aircrafts, and the few ( few) countries like ours without flat land, are doing extraordinary things (land reclamation ) to accommodate the jets being manufactured. Such is the case in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
          • Rebecca (04/08/2012, 14:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
            This event is not the first time 76079 has appeared in the guise of 76084. Some years ago ex-Lower Darwen enmgenian and shareholder in 76084 arranged a Lower Darwen Reunion which took place on the East Lancashire Railway. 76079 was renumbered to '84 and a 4F was renumbered to a member of the class shedded at 24D. Sadly, the day I went to view the spectacle it was a typical Lancashire day in terms of weather and it was before I found the joy of digital SLRs with lense hoods. The resulting images on my point-and-shoot were blurred through rain-drops.If anyone has been to the Gala and got images of '76084 they don't mind sharing please email them to THANKS
        • Well Sah (30/03/2012, 12:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          See Guts: Performance you can count on with the 757. Even in the most difficult or dangerous airports the 757 is a top performer
    • Well Sah (30/03/2012, 11:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Guts Making planes with bigger engines don't equate to needing longer runways as you are assuming. Larger engine simply means more power, therefore aircrafts would be able to take off from shorter runways. No aicraft is being built with the type of limitations that you are trying to put forth in your analysis. Every aircraft that are now in production are so more technological advance enable them to operate out of any runway. Because the 757 is no longer in production does that mean that airlines will stop flying them. The 757 is the work horse of the industry therefore they will be around for qiute sometime. How long has the 727 been out of production and they are still be utilized by some airlines. I am not against the airport expansion as you may assuming. The could extend it to kingdom come if they so choose to.
  • go pic (28/03/2012, 08:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No foreign people should come here and tell we what to do with our airport. GO DOC DO NOT STOP!
    • mdk (28/03/2012, 11:33) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Your own government spent your tax money hiring foreigners to come in and tell them what to do with the airport. What a ridiculous comment (me son).
  • need (28/03/2012, 08:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need the airport expansion
  • book boy (28/03/2012, 09:26) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So why is the airport under Pickering in the first place? Mark not good enough to handle it???
    • Man Down (28/03/2012, 10:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      It would involve Picko's Ministry either way so it made sense to have him deal with it. Even if Mark dealt with it, Picko and his department would have to be involved as it will affect the environment. So rather than wasting the time of two Ministries doing the same damn thing, they put it under Picko.
      • me tired (28/03/2012, 11:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        as well its in his district....
        • Crap (28/03/2012, 13:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          It is not his District. Know your Civics before running off your mouth
      • ooooo (28/03/2012, 14:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        stop tell lie...its under him for his rich friends and crabbe reasons
        • Letty (04/08/2012, 01:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
          Kalispera kai xronia polla! Proti fora eftkkepiisa tin selida sas, sugxaritiria gia osa kanete! Latreuo tis gates alla distixos den exo xoro gia na mporeso na paro ena zoaki. Tha ithela na mou steilete leptomeries gia eikoniki uiothesia gatas, einai aksiolatreuta kai anamesa tous me endiaferei o gatoulis AIRPORT. Pos tha mporo na to voithiso?Efxaristo polu!
  • Music (28/03/2012, 09:27) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Thursday meeting should be interesting! See you there!
  • Consultant (28/03/2012, 09:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please note that an impact assessment is currently being carried out to better understand the effect of expanding the runway - any queires or comments that the public feel should be addressed in this assessment should be sent in confidence to all questions will be addressed in the forthcoming impact assessment.
  • Village Girl (28/03/2012, 11:52) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wow that place last night was filled with white people…has the invaders arrived????
    • Albion (28/03/2012, 13:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      You know, not all white people are from somewhere else. But good to see how you think...
    • I don't get it (28/03/2012, 13:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Actually, some of the "white people" you see in that photo are Belongers, not "invaders". Instead of posting crap on here why don't you go and attend the meeting tomorrow.
      • big move (28/03/2012, 23:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        wow they are belongers???? the BVI in trouble I better off moving to south Africa
  • Consultant (28/03/2012, 12:36) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please note that an impact assessment is currently being carried out to better understand the effect of expanding the runway – any queires or comments that the public feel should be addressed in this assessment should be sent in confidence to all questions will be addressed in the forthcoming impact assessment
  • Not2Sure (28/03/2012, 12:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I don't understand. How could the Government make a decision to do this in principle without any kind of cost-benefit analysis? This is going to be a hugely expensive endeavour. Are they just going to spend the money and *hope* that benefits materialise, or are they actually going to have some detailed consultations and analysis by people with experience in the field? St Kitts has an extended runway, and it doesn't seem to make a blind bit of difference to the number of visitors that they get.
    • Well Sah (29/03/2012, 11:31) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      @Not2sure I don't know where you have been but St Kitts now receives direct flights from London. In addition, most US carriers now operate to and from St. Kitts. Where are you getting your misinformation from. More visitors to St. Kitts is not just a result from extending their runway but from having a toruist product that people want to enjoy.
  • so so (28/03/2012, 15:29) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    i am not hearing anyone talking about the cost of this airport expansion???NO ONE
    • Man Down (28/03/2012, 16:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If your lazy self was there you would hear it! It's $70mil for plan number 4 and $38 mil for plan 6. The government is leaning toward plan 6 because of less disadvantages, including cost and environmental impact.
      • Weird (28/03/2012, 19:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        How could Option 6 which is literally closing down Trellis Bay have less environmental impact? Are you for real? Option 6 is a foolish choice, all that would do is make the runway fully compliant for the current ATR-72 that flies now at less than full capacity because the current runway is non compliant. It will be the same thing with the 737 if option 6 is chosen as the preferred option. 737's will be leaving from Beef Island with empty seats and a full tank of fuel to get to the US direct, or they will leave with an empty tank and stop either in St. Thomas or St. Croix to refuel in order to get to the US. You all need to stop jerking people around. Not too many people know that the runway that was extended to accommodate ATR-72's is still inadequate for the plain's full operation.
  • free at last (28/03/2012, 15:40) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    it is common knodlage that the runway is to short. We want direct fligths from Atlanta, Miami, England ect. it has to be able to carry the 747, 737, or A320, A319 ect. We are no longer in the dark bird cave we are free now
  • FlyBoy (28/03/2012, 16:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    No Boeing 747 can fly from here to Atlanta or Miami on almost empty fuel tanks which is what would have to happen for it to take off from a 6,000ft runway (also very lightly loaded). This means it will have to stop somewhere else close by with a longer runway to refuel before going on to the USA.
  • Show me da money (28/03/2012, 17:42) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    You can realistically triple the cost estimates, as that's just how it works in the BVI. And the airport revenue will pay the debt service? How many planes a day they expecting, 100? This will spend the people into a hole so deep, it won't matter anymore. Lets get the hospital FINISHED and open, then look at other projects.
    • Jack (04/08/2012, 12:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
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  • Strups (28/03/2012, 18:22) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    makes no sense to put the airport here... put it in Anegada which has more space... and it improves the economy there... i agree with the Scrub Island comment
    • Plain (28/03/2012, 20:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If you put the airport Anegada you still have the issue of Ferry to the mainland. When the weather gets rough over there, do you think anybody want to be on a Ferry to Tortola late at night after the last flight arrives? Not going to happen! It will also mean Government spending well over $100million as everything must be done from scratch! Tower, runway, terminal, fire services, fuel services etc. Just pie in the sky!
    • Maicon (03/07/2012, 23:11) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      cupcake8million Posted on congrats- your liivng my dream since you won't see your family/ friends for a long tie you could go cheesy- wish you were here or on the trail again or Where in the world is (your name)? Best of luck!
  • Right Sed Fred (28/03/2012, 19:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Picko dress up this project as a sovereignty issue. He sharp misson. What I want to know is In the interest of sovereignty why can't we have electricity provided to us at a reasonable cost; why do we have to shop in St Thomas to save money; and why is our education system so poor. And why do roads dem so damn bad. BVI rich but I feel poor sometimes, and now gov't want to add more debt.
  • go home and speak there (28/03/2012, 23:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    how the hell we allow these people to live and stay in my BVI and now they get a little status and now wants to dictate what goes on here...half of them does not have a say up North or in the EU...dem better scatter dem self....
  • Foolishness (29/03/2012, 23:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why do you have to be black to come from the BVI? You can be any color any where else in the world. Stop arguing about who lives here and worry about the government you voted in making decisions about your future without consultation. Shouldn't it be up to the people to decide if they want the airport expanded with the damage it causes?
    • Sensible (30/03/2012, 09:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Excelent point, I don't remember the NDP saying that if they won the Government they were going to extend the Runway, in which case, there would be no surprises if they did. I was shocked to hear the Minister saying that the Government had already taken the decision to extend the Runway, because I didn't see them discussing it with the people.
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    @ Gut:::::: see it here performance you can count on/
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