Grand opening ceremony planned for Barbuda airport


Plans are underway for the grand opening of the airport in Barbuda in the coming weeks -a move that will allow the arrival of international flights.

According to the Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ambassador Lionel Hurst, more than US$14 million had been used to build the 6,100 feet runway—with an extra 1,000 feet expected to be added in the near future.

“We are about two weeks off from having the new airport in Barbuda receive all the certification necessary for it to operate,” Hurst told reporters.

He however said, the government is still awaiting the approval from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).

“We have put in an application with the ECCAA, and we await their instructions because, you know, we’ve done everything we think that has to be done.

“I think there is a weather system that… may still yet need to be put in place, but I understand that a lot of that equipment is already in Antigua and that it will be installed in Barbuda,” he said.

The Barbuda airport has been under the spotlight from Barbudan activists who brought legal challenges to stop the construction of the runway.

The developers began work on the airstrip around September 2017, after the government evacuated the entire island of Barbuda following Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 storm that was the strongest hurricane ever observed in the open Atlantic.

The legal case made its way to the Privy Council where John Mussington and Jacklyn Frank, who brought the original case against the government, were found to have sufficient standing to challenge the government.

Much of the discussion by judges at the Privy Council centred around whether the government had consulted sufficiently with the Barbudan people, which the court held that the government failed to consult properly with the people of Barbuda, bypassing certain procedures including an environment impact assessment being sought and granted before construction started.

Adding to the controversy – several Barbudans were alerted to the development when they returned to the island following the passage of Hurricane Irma. -loop

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