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Dec 15, 2017

Authority wants to get moving to minimize losses

The delay in commencing work on the Caye Caulker airstrip is having an impact on tourism on the island.  As the fifth most trafficked runway in the country, it is safe to say that a significant loss in arrivals is being recorded.  While Ruiz, admits that it may take some time to get the new aerodrome up and running, it is the first time that the problem of the undulating landing strip is being addressed at its core.


Nick Ruiz, General Manager, Belize Airports Authority

Nick Ruiz

“In all of this, it is not lost upon me that the people of Caye Caulker who have been very supportive really, and we’ve talking with them, are inconvenienced.  And not only them, Caye Caulker is our fifth most trafficked aerodromes in terms of landings and so we know it’s key to the development of the tourism and business sector, leisure sector.  And so we want to get this runway back online, operational.  Initially, with our civil engineer’s team of consultants, Anthony Thurton and Associates Ltd., we had been looking at a timeframe of six to eight months.  Because of where we have been with the SSB and the time it has taken, obviously we’re going to try to shorten that as much as possible, while also ensuring the quality of work, of course, so that it’s open as soon as possible.  If we can get it done in a shorter amount of time, rest assure that we will press for that because we know it’s important to the island and everybody that uses or flies into Caye Caulker and out of Caye Caulker.  So I’d have to say that the six to eight months is to play it safe, but of course the commitment is to try to get it done in a lesser amount of time. The BAA has really tried to stay out of the back and forth out there, there’s a lot of speculation about the project and whatnot.  I assure you that the BAA has been very committed to the project; we have a solid team of technical people that have been working on the project.  As I’ve mentioned to you, the last time Caye Caulker was looked at was in 2006 and the fundamental problem of the base and the sub-base was not looked at.  It was just a chip seal coat that was applied.  In 2009, IDB came and said, look chip seal is great but really, international standards are demanding that you graduate to hot mix asphalt surfaces.  And so from 2009 that recommendation had been made but it wasn’t really implemented at Caye Caulker and only recently have you seen that Sir Barry Bowen, as an example, has been, you know, elevated to

a hot-mix surface.”


The Board of Directors of the Social Security Board meets next Thursday, however, there is no certainty that a resubmission from the Belize Airports Authority will make it on the agenda for that meeting.


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