The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA), which owns and operates the Owen Roberts International Airport (ORIA) and the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport (CKIA), announced today the ORIA Airfield Upgrade Project continues at an accelerated pace due to the current travel restrictions and reduced air traffic as a result.
The Airfield Upgrade Project works commenced in early November 2019 and consists of six sub-projects, including the rehabilitation of the existing runway surface to increase its strength and durability, a runway extension, a new parallel taxiway, the filling of the ponds within the airfield perimeter, establishing an airfield perimeter road and expanding the aircraft parking ramp in an easterly direction to provide additional aircraft parking. The apron expansion work was the first of the sub-projects to begin late last year, followed by the runway rehabilitation, additional taxiway and extension in February 2020.
“We are very pleased with the progress we have made in bringing big improvements to service, operations and safety standards at our airports and remain committed to enhancing the services and amenities we provide to our traveling public,” said CIAA CEO Albert Anderson.
“As a result of the Cayman Islands Government’s temporary suspension of international flights to and from Owen Roberts International Airport, announced on 16 March 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), some aspects the Airfield Upgrade Project works are moving ahead of schedule due to the increased availability of the airfield to perform the works,” he added.
The runway strengthening consists of three layers of new asphalt, and the paving of the second layer was completed in mid-April 2020. The third and final layer, which will include paved runway shoulders, will take approximately three weeks and is scheduled to be completed by mid-May 2020. The runway extension and blast deflector is ongoing and is scheduled to be completed by late June 2020, and the new taxiway is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed by mid-July 2020.
The Apron Expansion works continue, but could potentially reach a temporary halt due to the current travel restrictions, which could prevent a specialist concrete crew from being able to enter the Cayman Islands from the United Kingdom until the Island’s borders reopen.
The filling of the airfield ponds work is completed on the west end of the runway with the remaining two ponds expected to be filled by mid-May 2020, and the perimeter road is expected to be completed by the end of May.
“During these challenging times, we are more proud than ever of our dedicated teams working behind the scenes to provide our customers with professional, innovative airport services and facilities in a safe, efficient manner, and we look forward to being able to share in this airfield transformation with the community going forward as we all work together to bring normalcy back to our daily lives,” said Mr. Anderson.
The Airfield Upgrade Project works’ final completion date remains at mid-September 2020 due to the unknown completion date of the Apron Expansion works.