A big new airport for the region
By Alexander Britell
It isn’t just a major new airport for Antigua and Barbuda.
It’s a major new airport for the wider Caribbean region.
Antigua and Barbuda is slated to open the brand-new VC Bird International Airport on Thursday, marking the culmination of one of the region’s most ambitious infrastructure projects.
That’s the biggest takeaway — that it feels like the kind of airport you might find somewhere in continental Europe — and that’s a very good thing.
LIAT will have the first flight on Thursday, and American Airlines will operate the first international flight to the terminal, with the official ceremony on Monday.
In a region where too many airports are neglected, this one, built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, is a state-of-the-art facility.
The nearly $100 million project, which first broke ground in 2011, includes two floors, with four jet bridges, 14 departure gates, a mini food court, full baggage screening and a VIP lounge.
It also includes 15 self-service check-in kiosks and more than a dozen retail outlets, among other features.
Indeed, the airport says it can handle as many as 1,777 passengers per hour, with a shopping area, food court and a VIP lounge.
It all adds up to what Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said could be the “most advanced” in the region.
Here’s hoping the rest of the region takes note.