CJIA expansion on course for completion by year end – Min Edghill

− says contractor operating according to addendum for new works

The Cheddi Jagan International Airport

The completion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion along the lines of the original contract remains on course for completion by this year end. This is according to Public Works Minister Juan Edghill.
In an exclusive interview with this publication, Edghill confirmed that from all indications he has had, Chinese contractor China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) is adhering to the construction schedules for the ongoing work.

Public Works Minister
Juan Edghill

“Works are continuing and based upon agreements so far, we should be on schedule… that includes the new works that need to be done, based upon the addendum,” Minister Edghill informed this publication.
Back in March of this year, Minister Edghill and team had toured the airport, where he had assessed the ongoing works before holding a meeting with airport and Ministry officials and the contractor. CHEC has a record of missing deadlines. However, Edghill had made it clear at the time that slippages would not be tolerated.
The Public Works Ministry had entered into an agreement with CHEC back in December, that would see the contractor doing US$9 million in additional works to further extend the airport, at no cost to the State.
The new works involve an extension of the airport’s boarding corridor in order to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, providing the airport with a total of six boarding bridges capable of servicing aircraft such as the Boeing 777, Dreamliner, the AirBus and similar trans-Atlantic aircraft.
It would also see the terminal building being extended to provide accommodation for additional commercial space such as food courts and duty-free shops. The extended building will feature a modern airport façade covering the full length of the departure terminal.
In the agreement, CHEC further agreed to rectify and complete all outstanding remedial works within prescribed timelines. It was also agreed that all works will be completed by December 31, 2021.
The project was supposed to have been completed since December 31, 2018 under the former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, but has now been taken over by the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Government in an incomplete and downgraded state. In fact, the Granger-led APNU/AFC Administration had settled for a denigrated design while paying more than the allocated US$150 million.
When the coalition Government came into power in 2015, the project was put on hold, but after discussions between former Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and CHEC, it was later announced that the project would be continued, but a number of downgrades were done to the design.
Some US$138 million of the allocated costs was funded by the EXIM (Export-Import) Bank of China, while US$12 million was spent by the Guyana Government. It was not expected to surpass that sum, but Guyana had to stand additional expenses.
The CJIA, in its downgraded design expansion, has four less air passenger boarding bridges for arrivals and departures than the initial eight; a 450-seat departure area; escalators and elevators in addition to an incomplete extended runway, which was supposed to measure 400 and 690 metres at the respective ends.
An old terminal building that was marked for cargo was revamped, and only one of the new sections was built. Meanwhile, a new apron that was supposed to support the additional four air bridges is non-existent. There is also no space for enough duty-free shops, restaurants, car rentals, and other facilities.