The ground has been broken at the site of Antigua’s major terminal, an expansion to the VC Bird International Airport, located north of Saint John’s.
It is hoped that the $45 Million investment will bring jobs, economic growth and even greater tourist numbers to the islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
The new terminal will cover 165,814 square feet, feature 26 check-in counters, 20 immigration desks and three jet bridges.
There will also be an extensive retail space and food court, as well as the standard complimentary facilities of any enhanced terminal space – including wi-fi.
“When the VC Bird International Airport was originally constructed, Antigua and Barbuda proved they were trendsetters in the Caribbean travel industry,” observed a representative from UK travel operator Kenwood Travel.
“By expanding and modernising the airport, they will be able to stay ahead and more easily cope with the healthy demand we have always seen for Kenwood Travel Antigua Holidays.”
Antiguan tourism minister, John Maginley, definitely feels the industry has outgrown the present terminal, citing “six to seven jumbo jets on the tarmac at any given time” as a key blocker to future growth.
And tourism is certainly growing: arrivals from the UK were up 11 per cent this year and in the coming year, British Airways is set to increase flights out of Gatwick to Antigua to seven per week.
Talks with Virgin Atlantic about a future plan for UK travel to Antigua were similarly enthusiastic.
With the terminal set for completion by December 2013, Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry has some particularly bright days ahead.
Tourism is a hugely important industry for Antigua and Barbuda, with around sixty percent of the island’s GDP and 50 per cent of employment being linked to the industry.
Even among a wealth of fantastic destinations in the Caribbean, Antigua and Barbuda have many unique gifts to offer.