BVI News

Airport expansion will progress before my premiership ends

Premier Dr D Orlando Smith

Residents can expect progress on the airport expansion project before Premier Dr D Orlando Smith demits office next year.

Premier Smith gave that assurance during a conference with local media practitioners this month.

“I’m certain that we’ll have that kind of forward movement … by June 2019 because work is being done as we speak,” said Premier Smith, whose successor as NDP leader, Myron Walwyn, will usher the governing party into the upcoming general elections.

The airport project involves recruiting investors to develop the TB Lettsome International Airport but Dr Smith said government has not secured an investor yet.

He, however, assured that advancements have been happening to ensure their goal is realised.

“The airport authority has a group of experts working with them and they are having meetings with various groups and I am told that they’re making good progress. I cannot say that we’ve selected anyone at this point but they are working towards that,” Dr Smith said.

The successful investor will operate the Beef Island-based facility for roughly 20 years before returning control to the BVI government.

There have been mixed feelings about the timing of the expansion project which, according to governments proposed recovery plan, is projected to cost $250 million.

Roughly $153 million will be used to expand the airport runway from 4645 feet to about 7100 feet so larger aircraft can land in the territory.

The remainder of the funds will be directed toward developing the airport’s terminal.

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  1. Eagle eye says:

    This man clearly is hoping to ride out all his time since he’s done.

    Like 16
    • Truman says:

      Orlando has failed us. He has led our country for 16 years and what do we have to show for it? This is the third world man. Our schools are broken. Our roads are broken. Our power supply is unreliable. We lack running water in many parts of the island. Our internet is slow and expensive. Our dump is still pouring out toxic smoke.
      He didn’t do any due diligence with the $7.2m he gave to BVI Airways. His hospital sat empty for 10 years because of poor design and construction.
      We don’t need a $100m air terminal.

      Like 12
      • Rubber Duck says:

        If, a big if, they can get some outside investor to stump up all the cash then there is no problem with this project.

        But the government must not try to run this project themselves with taxpayers money, because there , disaster awaits.

  2. Hmmmm says:

    How can Orlando push a project that the record
    shows the current Chairman of NDP
    is against? Thing to tell the king.

    Like 19
  3. It's says:

    not about the man. It is about service, duty and progress for country.

    As Mr. Josh when you get to heaven, if you know of him, and if you get there.

    Dislike 14
  4. Hmmm says:

    The cat is just deaf to the people he represents! I get the big picture now but there is an old saying. ‘Be mindful of the future but never at the expense of the moment’! Right now the ‘moment’ calls for far more immediate matters to be resolved that create a foundation for future decisions!

    Like 26
    Dislike 1
  5. BS says:

    Yawn…..wake me up when it’s over.

  6. Reasoning says:

    This is so senseless. All we should be talking about at this time is getting us back to where we were b4 the hurricanes.
    Cool out dock. Its time for you to enjoy some of the cruises we have been promoting. This is not any time for you to be talking about airport expansion.
    As it is right now, most of the money generated in the rebuilding of the country is leaving the territory.
    A book titled “Why the Tourism Dollar matters” was commissioned and printed during the 1980s. In it the economist was concerned about the about of money that was being generated in the country; but was leaving the territory. We should be fine tuning what we do have at the moment. Hotel and villa rentals, chunks of that income does not even enter the BVi. Then we have since the 80, Moneygram, the lottery sellers, the Spanish lotteries. Dock, there’s no point in starting something you can’t finish. Cool out Doc.

    Like 13
    Dislike 2
  7. Windy says:

    So… It’s all about what you want and not what the people want. So selfish. What will your personal gain be ? Obviously $$$ in the end.

    Like 21
    Dislike 4
    • Hmm says:

      I am a ” people” and there are many thousands more in the VI who is in agreement with having an airport expansion ASAP.

      Like 5
      Dislike 24
  8. ndp heckler says:

    is he having another one of those senior moments?

    Like 13
    Dislike 4
  9. Tarzan says:

    For Christ sake. Just go into retirement!

    Like 25
    Dislike 3
  10. Hik says:

    The premier must first get back the seven plus millions he gave to a bogus airline company and place it in the treasury. If he cannot get it he must pay back from his pocket. That is the people’s money.

    Like 33
    Dislike 1
  11. Well? says:

    there you have it! Election will be in the Summer….why try to push through this major project in the waning days of your administration? One last major payday!

    Like 17
    Dislike 2
  12. Dman says:

    Tourists will turn around and leave on the next plane once they see the mess on the island. Please fix up the place first. The experience on the ferry is part of the fun. Soon the ferry will leave right from STT. Let the American taxpayer pay for a renovated regional airport.

    Like 19
    Dislike 1
    • Jane says:

      Well said! This is a white elephant being proposed by a lame duck.

      Like 16
      • What Time Is It? says:

        There is such a thing as priority. We still love you Doc even though our country is bruk, and we have no one else to blame but you, the million dollar wall minister and the pier park minister. But enough is enough. First he wants to go to Africa, (a 2 week Continental tour. Now he is talking about extending the airport. Maybe it will calm him down if we promise that the airport will be expanded and share the name with TB Lettsome. Why not TB Lettsome and D Orlando Airport?

        Like 3
        Dislike 1
      • White Elephant says:

        Lmao! Well said!!!

  13. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Ah wah mi ah hare here! Ah wah goh on mehson! Ok. Let’s get serious. Despite the lame duck status, government under performance, recovery struggles, current governmental dysfunction, continued residents stress…….etc, the NDP government is still obsessed come hell or high water with this boon doggle TBLIA extension legacy project. This is purely about personal interest, self interest and not a rat’s ass about the majority of people’s wants. It is a want and a legacy project. Clearly, the government seems out of touch with the current national reality.

    The territory is still struggling to recover from the massive destruction caused by monster Hurricanes Irma and Maria that resulted in approx $3.6B in damages. The priority should be on reconstructing/upgrading roads, reconstructing and modernizing schools, reconstructing fire stations, improving quality and reliability of water supply, bringing sewage collection, treatment and disposal up to 1st World standard, enhancing reliability of electricity supply, rebuilding tourism facilities and attractions, rebuilding police stations, rebuilding government facilities, strengthening the economic sectors, rebuilding marine ports, rebuilding residential housing……etc. A lengthy bucket list.

    Furthermore, given the lame duck status, the government should just take care of routine operations and emergencies and leave the major projects to the new incoming government. Is the Premier milking this ting to the end? Call election now and let the people vote. History will rate the government on its performance. By the way, what are the other parties view on the TBLIA extension? We need real talk and no spin.

    Like 16
    Dislike 2
  14. Reading is fundamental says:

    “The airport project involves recruiting investors to develop the TB Lettsome International Airport….”

  15. YingYang says:

    Who the hell is this guy helping? He’s making Donald Trump look like a genius. At least Donald Tryna keep America belonging to the Americans. At this rate the country is better off going independent since the he’s Tryna give everyone but the residents means to owning the country.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  16. Concerned says:

    There is absolute no reason to extend the terminal. St. Martin is operating right now with space smaller then our terminal and has international flights come in. And 97 million for that terminal are they going to have golden faucets?

    Like 13
  17. Truth says:

    Just look at St Vincent’s newly opened international airport. Do we see airlines other than LIAT rushing to go there? Why start something that is going to be a noose around the next administration’s neck? Its a bad idea. Fix the basics first – roads, schools, water, sewage, power etc and clean up the islands then decide whether this major capital project is worth it for these islands. It would also help if you redouble your efforts to recoup the 7.2 million you handed to those so called airplane investors before looking to waste more from the public purse. It is not a bottomless pit!

    Like 20
    • @ Truth .... Sense from Non Sense says:

      BVI has had a thriving tourist economy, with over
      475k overnght tourists, and closing in on 1mil. cruise visitors ea. year.
      St.Vincent is basically an agricultural economy, with less than 45k overnight tourists.

      St.Vincent is trying to stimulate a tourism economy, much as St.Kitts, Antigua, and Barbados have done successfully.

      Now that STT has seen our volumes first hand, they do not want to let go, and want continued revenues from those tourist arrivals destined for BVI.

      However, commercial travel to BVI will increase significantly, on account of new financial arrangements that are substantive and time sensitive as contrasted with leisure travel.

      • Say what says:

        What you talking bout? What new financial arrangements? What time sensitive travel are you referring to? What secrets do you know?

        • Say What.....Talking bout dis !!! says:

          BVI Financial Services Industry has to transition to a substance based industry, which means, that Real Activity and Decisions have to be undertaken by Real Decision Makers in Real Time in the jurisdiction.

          This means better and more convenient access to the Territory by Directors and CEOs, etc, who have
          severe time constraints. To attract and retain international commercial business, effectively
          from the Territory under the new regime, commercial clients will require seamless access.

          • Concerned says:

            I do understand where you are coming from, but that does not require a 97 million Airport Terminal. It is also very questionable that Directors and CEO’s from Hong Kong will take the long time consuming journey to be on the ground here. You are talking at least 20 hours each way even in perfect conditions. And how do you accomplish “Real Activity” are they going to open “Real Offices” in the BVI?

  18. Hah says:

    In honor of your many years of service and being our first Premier we will name our modernized garbage disposal plant after you.

  19. Jah Know says:

    I really need to see the plans for this expansion because when you look at the geograpical details on the map, I can’t see how they can extend that runway and build a bigger airport on Beef Island. I don’t see it. I think there’s some other hidden agenda behind this as usual.

  20. Lelah says:

    I support this lame duck effort. And Doc while you are at it what about a 4 lane bridge to St. John USVI and a 2 lane bridge to Anegada before June 2019?

  21. 3faczdvgnwreagr says:

    DUDE. WE DONT CARE ABOUT NO D*** AIRPORT EXPANSION!!! We have way more important things to prioritize. This starting to feel like a personal dream of yours that you’re forcing upon the people. False Prophets

  22. Virgin Islander says:

    The Airport Investors are living in the Virgin Islands. This is the last thing Orlando will build for Johnson. Remember the ONB agreement in Two Thousand Seven?

  23. Just Ice says:

    This t***f should not be alllowed to spend one more dollar of public Monet till he write a check for 7 million for his last aviation scam

  24. Tola says:

    Is this man for real we don’t have any school for our kids to learn our Internet is a mess the road in a state our electricity is a mess and the list goes on and you here talking about airport project Doc plz take a chill pill and relax we don’t ready for any airport project at this time the country not even can’t catch it self good from that massive hurricane last year’s that 7.6m would’ve dof our country real good right now at least that money could’ve get we on our foot

  25. Local says:

    Multiple things can be done at the same time! And if you read it states that money will come from investors ie not public funds! Investors that invest in airports are not the same as those that would invest in island infrastructure so to link the airport expansion to local island problems should not be mixed up. I completely understand the frustration with the island infrastructure as I live here too. But a little more positivity towards projects that would bring in tourists would help the economy rather than contribute further towards the massive negativity that is rife in this island at the moment (understandable but attitudes must change). Everyone hates getting a connecting flight, especially to a country that has no infrastructure and full of negativity and people voicing strong opinions with not much thought as to the long term prosperity of the island – it is a project worthy of investing time and procuring external funds from investors (not tax payers money of court). Think more positive and be more happy and supportive please people – were all in this together. Talk to peers and be informed before spreading further negativity, rowdiness and mayhem – which is massively counterproductive!

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