Above: the terminal at the new Argyle International Airport (all photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
ST VINCENT — Getting to St Vincent and the Grenadines could be a whole lot easier by the end of next year.
The government said this week that the Argyle International Airport project remains on schedule toward a completion date at the end of 2014.
St Vincent is a particularly mountainous island, something that required the demolition of three large hills to make room for the runways.
Today, runway earth works are 85 percent complete, while the passenger terminal is 91 percent complete, the government said.
The airport is being built on a 275-acre site, with the finished runway planned for 9,000 feet in length and 150 feet in width — long enough to receive Boeing 747s.
The largely Taiwan-backed project needed $80 million for completion; Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the funding had been procured through a combination of “land sales and bank loans.”
Above: the runway
Total project costs exceed $200 million, according to reports.
It seems that the major air carriers are waiting until the airport is complete to officially sign on for new routes to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
When that does happen, however, it could be a transformational event for the country’s tourism industry.
Today, the main island of St Vincent is served by the ET Joshua Airport, which largely hosts intra-island service within the Grenadines chain and regional service to islands including Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad and St Lucia on carriers like LIAT and SVG Air.