CHARLESTOWN, Nevis - THE Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has kickstarted a series of consultations to better inform the public about the proposed expansion of the Vance Amory Airport, and the benefits it would bring to the island.
During Wednesday (Dec. 6) evening’s presentation at the Anglican Church Halls in Charlestown, Advisor in the NIA Alexis Jeffers reminded the audience that the Nevis Government has been working on upgrading the airport for the last seven years.
He told them that the main terminal facility and others within are currently in a state of “disrepair”.
Jeffers, a former government minister, noted that the facility is currently in a state where it is not performing the way it should because it lacks the proper length of a functional runway.
Lamenting the challenges of the facility, Jeffers reminded that if the island were to continue with its development, there must be an acknowledgement that: “1. Vance Amory Airport has outlived its time, and 2. it cannot provide for us in its current state what we would like to provide for our visitors, our nationals, or anyone who seeks to come to the island of Nevis.”
Upon completion of the project, the Government of Nevis is hopeful of seeing an increase in airlift to the island, increased employment, increased investments and also for the island to be showcased to the international community.
Work is expected to increase the current runway to 5,500 feet, with the final cost not expected until the final changes and inputs are received, with that being described “manageable cost”.
According to Jeffers, the runway is expected to be eastward and westward, along with upgrades to improve lighting, provide modern improvements to the apron and the construction of a new apron within the area.
There is also expected to be a new firehall with appropriate equipment, construction of a new hanger, and the construction of a fuel farm along with the upgrade and expansion of the parking area.
“All of that we believe will be part of this development when it is all said and done,” Jeffers said.
While questions remain over the purpose of expanding the airport as the RLB International Airport continues to maintain the lion’s share of the international flights to the Federation, Jeffers noted that they are not seeking to attract the huge 737 planes but rather to create a base on the island where they could attract aircraft Embraer 170 (60 passenger capacity) and the Embraer 175 (which carries 70-80 passengers).
The consultations are expected to last for several months before a final design is laid out to the public.