Nation e-Edition

Call for new airport

Call for new airport Denis Kellman (FP)

By Marlon Madden | Sat, April 02, 2011 - 3:25 PM

TOURISM IS Barbados’ major foreign exchange earner and it is expected that this sector would lead in driving economic growth for the island.

And parliamentary representative for St Lucy Denis Kellman has maintained that building another airport in Barbados would be good for tourism and serve as an alternative in case of “an emergency”. Kellman has argued for years for an airport in the north.

When asked by BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY if it was necessary to build an airport at this time, given the current economic conditions and rising cost of living, Kellman said there was “no doubt” another airport was needed.

“There is land/air marked for an airstrip. It is when it will happen that is another matter. . . . All I would say is that if we continue to get the number of private jets and we continue to attract the business we are attracting at the major airport, there is no doubt. 

“But one of the things you must bear in mind that we are a tourism country and in life you should always have an alternative. If we have a serious matter at the Grantley Adams International Airport, what would we do?” questioned Kellman.

“That is why I always say that what is needed is not an airport like the Grantely Adams International but maybe one like Dominica, where you have the same type of infrastructure but an international runway. And that is the key, so that you can prepare for your private jets and in case you have an emergency you would not have to divert your business to another country,” argued Kellman.

However, former chief town planner Leonard St Hill said building a new airport would have no economic benefit to the island and there was no “established need” for it.“

In this day and age it would be much better to have helicopters rather than an airstrip. A service like that would be much better. A helicopter pad would require less land and it is just as efficient. Another airport is not economical because of the maintenance and operational cost [associated with it] . . . landing fees are a part of the things that cost a lot of money and that is a part of the reason our airfares are so high,” posited St Hill.

Kellman, who is also acting minister of the Environment, Water Resources and Drainage, said a proposal was made as far back as in the 1970s for an airstrip in the north and the land had also been identified which would run from Hope to Mount Poyer in St Lucy.

Efforts to get a comment from David Barrow, chief executive officer of the Grantley Adams International Airport, were unsuccessful.

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Posted by yogi Ni 3 years, 6 months ago
Why do people always dismiss what Minister Kellman has to say. Minister Kellman asked a very important question? What if there is a major emergency or disaster and GAIA have to be closed for any extended time?? What if? All I will say is, where there is no vision the people perish. I keep saying we need more people in Parliament with more common sense and less education. The so called TECHNOCRATS are the ones that have the world in the crisis it is now facing. Minister Kellman please keep bringing forth your ideas, maybe one day people will listen.

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Posted by En Dee 3 years, 6 months ago
Mr Kellman is absolutely correct. I missed an important engagement in Barbados because of the need to fly to St Lucia to avoid a plane stalled on the runway at GAIA. We were on the last leg of south coast descent when the captain announced the necessity to circle to allow the removal of a stalled plane from the runway. The circling continued until we headed for St Lucia to refuel. We sat on the tarmac in St Lucia for a while awaiting clearance to return. A St Lucy airport would have been ideal. Disaster planning and business continuity seems to be sadly lacking in Barbados. We have the same situation with our only full service hospital, among other single service entities. As a tourist destination which is totally dependent on those daily flights I encourage Mr St Hill and others to expand their minds on this one and to think of the spin-off business and additional employment which will offset the costs. An airport does not have to sit idly waiting for planes. There are many business which may be run from the airport. The north of Barbados needs it and it will cut traffic on the highway for tourists staying on the west coast.

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Posted by James Lynch 3 years, 6 months ago
This keeps cropping up... there was a call for this as far back as 1970, and the same immovable arguments against it prevail now that prevailed then - St. Lucy is too far (twice the distance, in both cases) from the major tourism centres of Barbados and from Bridgetown.

It is also too far from the established major centres of emergency - fire, ambulance, and security services - which are called upon in times of disaster and distress, and would inflict unacceptable delays on all of additional emergency services reaching St. Lucy and ambulances taking injured people to the QE Hospital. The extra distance would also mean increased costs for business - transporting fuel, for instance - which would inevitably be passed on to the government and the travelling public.

The practicality of a major airport in St. Lucy is solely a matter of available land - and quite a number of people would still have to be moved to accommodate it. St. Lucy is NOT practical for every other reason you can think of - the many services (and in quantities) are simply not there, and would cost a fortune to install and supply.

Adding a second airport in St. Lucy is a case of foolishness and hard-headedness in the extreme... were it to be built - despite the opposition - it would be the same as in Toronto... a huge expense to be borne by taxpayers and users alike for decades to come.

But don't listen to me... full understanding will come WHEN carriers take their intransit hub business to other islands such as Grenada or St. Lucia. Then Barbados will be lumbered with TWO white elephant airports - while the heavy traffic flies overhead, enroute to elsewhere.

The days of "build it and they will come" are long over... even in most developed countries nobody can afford such luxuries any more - not the least in the poverty-stricken Caribbean where the phrase "disposable income" has not yet entered the lexicon for the vast majority of its citizens.

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