BVI News

Fahie details $158M improvement plan for Beef Island Airport

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The BVI Airports Authority (BVIAA) is presently working on a $158 million Capital Improvement Programme (CIP) that will completely transform the Terrance B Lettsome International Airport into a modern facility by 2025.

Delivering his address in the House of Assembly on Thursday, Premier Andrew Fahie said the programme will include improvements to the runway, taxiway, aircraft parking, terminal, car park and roadway. He said the designs for the project is expected to commence by October 2021.

He said the project would “permit tourists and investors to fly non-stop to the BVI not just from San Juan, but from anywhere in North America or western Europe such as New York, Toronto and London, just to name a few cities”. 

“This programme must be our top priority for the territory and your government aims to ensure this,” Fahie stated.

Investment in airport projected to quickly payoff

Premier Fahie also said the CIP will require financial support from the central government but added that a preliminary Economic Impact Study showed that government’s investment into the project will quickly pay off.

He said: “The estimated number of jobs created by the airport directly and indirectly across the Virgin Islands is expected to multiply fivefold, from approximately 2,700 in 2019 to over 14,000 jobs in 2030. Correspondingly, as a result of the new airport improvements, the BVI tax revenues driven by the airport’s existence is forecast to rise from an estimated $12.6 million in 2019 to $61.7 million by 2030.”

“Looking to the future because of these airports and increased traffic, the British Virgin Islands Airports Authority is forecast to be operating at a surplus by 2028, no longer having to be subsidised by the central government as it has been over the many years. But first we must make the investment in the Capital Improvement Programme,” he added.

Additional $5 million injection needed annually

Fahie who is also the Minister of Finance further said the government will now have to pump millions of dollars of additional funds into BVIAA’s normal budget due to losses suffered by the organisation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s important to point out that even without the new airport improvements, the loss of passenger and air cargo traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic will require your government to infuse about $5 million a year in the airport Authority’s operating budget beginning next year,” he said.

“This does not include further government assistance for capital expenditures and technology and service innovations that must be made even as we await the opening of the new airport in 2026. The above $5 million annual infusion to the airport’s operating budget also does not include our commitment to Virgin Gorda to pave the runway there,” Fahie further stated.

More initiatives to come

Premier Fahie also revealed other plans the BVIAA has to further boost future revenues at the airport. He said the initiatives have so far included the issuance of two Request for Proposals (RFPs).

“One for the development of a new world-class fixed based operation to handle the many private and business jets that fly into Terrence B Lettsome and another for the development and operation of a commercial aircraft fueling operation for that airport,” the Premier said.

The two projects are anticipated to be operational by the end of 2021.

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37 Comments

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  1. Heads UP says:

    Sounds wonderful but this means the Govt is currently in the process of buying the whole of Beef Island…That includes the Beef Island Estate, SurfSong and the surrounding land…Anyone going to ask about the runway plans? How we are building or affording this?
    Beef Island is about to become all airport, thats it, nothing else.

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
    • @Heads up says:

      The Govt are buying land at an inflated price from family/friends who recently bought the land

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
      • Yup says:

        And no tax. Isn’t the BVI wonderful. If you have the right family members and connections. When will this madness end?

        Like 7
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        • Hmmm says:

          Ignoring all the corruption issues, I wonder whether the changes will mean that passengers from more than one plane can go through immigration at a time. At the moment (well when the airport was operating), passengers from a later landing flight are not allowed to see an immigration officer until all the passengers from the earlier flight have cleared. If there are multiple flights, the later passengers have to stand outside. It is very very third world – easy jet land, unload 150 passengers and their luggage, load another 150 passengers and their luggage, and take off again – in less time than it takes for the BVI airport to deal with a flight of 8 persons on Cape Air. We need to stop giving the impression that we are third world.

          Like 7
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  2. Pandora's Box says:

    My God – just can’t see the forest for the trees! Invest in our people, education, health, social services, infrastructure (water, sewer, electric, roads), there is so much that needs to be done but the leadership is so blind.

    We as a people just sit by and let Government after Government destroy our future with narrow minded poor planning! This statistics here mentioned in this article are pie in the sky lunacy!

    I weep for my Country!

    Like 33
    Dislike 1
    • Reply says:

      I have no more tears left. My days of weeping are over. Yours tears will dry out soon if you keep bawling. Stop weeping and start organizing and fighting.

      I see the situation for what it is. It’s time to fight back, and stop electing people who are taking us and our futures down this road.

      You are absolutely right in your thinking.

      People need to become educated voters and stop being emotional voters.

      Election has consequences, and voters need to think of the consequences of electing some individuals before they do.

      Check their history and evaluate their proposals before they vote. Hold their feet to the fire before they vote, and not after.

      Like 8
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    • Don't worry says:

      BVI won’t be paying for this. The Chinese will, you think Dr Smith pumped so much money through the BVI without b*** ha*****? Trust me watch the Chinese pay for this and slowly take over. BVI is broke, can’t afford this without outside help.

      Like 6
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  3. Heckler says:

    How much porky fat can be expected in this 158m expansion and who will be the beneficiaries?

    Like 23
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  4. Styles says:

    Hi Andy Foi

    Great news. Glad you are investing to better the territory.

    However, your projections sound rather bullish. Did you to probability and impact studies over good/moderate/bad scenarios?

    Like 9
    Dislike 4
  5. Anybody Know says:

    Anybody know where the 7 Million the NDP take for airline gone yet?

    Like 7
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  6. Tourism says:

    By way of the Foy’s reopening plan he has single handed destroyed the tourism sector. The damage will continue for years to come as tourists find new locations to visit and continue to go back. The BVI has enjoyed repeat vacationers year after year. One of the biggest knowns in business is that it’s easier to retain a customer than to find a new one. The problem with Foy is that he and his cronies no nothing of business and the real world. As far as expanding the airport, where exactly does this fit in a budget that has a $62 million dollar deficit. Does he even understand anything that he reads or says? I think a dirt runway will be fine for the future with the number of tourists that will be coming.

    Like 21
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  7. Facts says:

    This is a much needed and long overdue improvement for the country.

    Like 4
    Dislike 19
  8. This is long overdue says:

    This can’t be put off anymore. You will not improve you tourism product and attract decent four/five star hotels without this. Also we are losing millions annually to the USVI from the travels of our people alone. Let’s get it done properly and get moving!

    Like 7
    Dislike 18
  9. LG says:

    Make a deal with USVI , Share flights, have BVI ferry service that does 3 round trips Tortola , VG St thomas AIRPORT a day.
    this can be done for pennies not the hundreds of millions proposed.
    there are no airlines that will fly direct from Europe. we dont have hotel capacity.
    use the St Thomas airport and try to get overseas airlines to do that.

    Like 21
    Dislike 3
    • Tola says:

      I agree. Let the hustle and bustle be in St. Thomas …let them make the money from the landing fees for the aircrafts and we make the money from the arrival tax and departure tax. Easy money while not being polluted.

      Like 1
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      • OK So... says:

        What happens to our economy if there’s shuts down? That means you are leaving your well being in someone else’s hands. We have to control our own destiny.

  10. FORTHEYOUTHS says:

    When yall done just build a race track on the old road next the airport

    Like 4
    Dislike 4
  11. Reply says:

    Premier Andrew Fahie said the programme will include improvements to the runway, taxiway, aircraft parking, terminal, car park and roadway. He said the designs for the project is expected to commence by October 2021.

    He said the project would “permit tourists and investors to fly non-stop to the BVI not just from San Juan, but from anywhere in North America or western Europe such as New York, Toronto and London, just to name a few cities”.
    ————————————————–
    So let me get this straight. Is the Premier suggesting that the airport will be extended? Unbelievable.

    I cannot fathom how tourist can fly non-stop to the BVI safely from all these far away places without an airport expansion.

    I say unbelievable because I recall the hot debates surrounding the expansion of the airport when the NDP government was attempting to do so.

    If memory serves me right, the Premier while as Opposition Leader was not in support of that effort. Now all of a sudden that he is running the country, he is now for expansion?

    Hypocrites and parasites.

    Expansion was not a good thing under the NDP, but suddenly its a good thing under the VIP.

    This is a prime example of why my trust in politicians is at an all time low. They say one thing when it’s politically expedient, then turn around and do another again when it’s politically expedient as well.

    We shall see how the debate goes this time around.

    Like 21
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  12. Question says:

    I couldn’t take in all the stuff he was saying so did little bathroom trips here and there. Did he say anything about schools and education?

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  13. What says:

    Was anyone consulted on this?

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  14. Hone boy says:

    This is needed long time ago
    If h laxity stout was alive this would have already been built. Both governments vip and ndp just all tall mi action.waste a time

    Like 2
    Dislike 4
  15. LG says:

    IT IS MENTIONED THAT THE AIRPORT WILL BRING IN MONEY IN FUTURE AND IS PREDICTED TO BRING 14000 JOBS
    DO WE EVEN THINK AIRPLANES OR THE TECHNOLOGY THAT REQUIRES LONG RUNWAYS WILL BE AROUND MORE THAN 10 YEARS FROM NOW?
    I PREDICT DIFFERENT MODES OF TRANSPORTATION LIKE VERTICAL TAKE OFF PLANES WILL BE IN USE BY THEN

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  16. Lodger says:

    14000 people working for the airport in 2030. That is equivalent to the so called indigenous population. What are the rest of us going to be doing?

    Like 4
    Dislike 3
  17. 14000 new people says:

    BVI better get procreating to fill all those positions (with five year olds) if the work permits aren’t wanted … Silly idea to expand the runway always has been cart way in front of the horse… Look at our garbage dump and sewage free flow now.. whats gonna happen with that many more people , plus all the tourists that would support.. stupidness

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  18. Rubber Duck says:

    Where did this $158 million come from.? The lowest estimate last time out was over $250 million. And the realists said $400 million.

    It should be done yes, but put some competents in complete charge and keep government snouts out of the trough.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  19. Right Sed Fred says:

    Gotta build something big to get that big slice of pork. Never mind that our sea ports are just begging for upgrades. Sharp boi King Andrew!

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  20. Fahie needs m****l help says:

    And you told you ppl will travel true beef island when flights from st thomas cheaper and it way cheaper to take to ferry to st thomas

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  21. The Judge says:

    The Good Lord above is looking down. Time longer than twine… Barry say you will hear….

  22. SMI says:

    What happen to the multilevel parking by the waterfront area that you promise on your campaign trail?
    Premier Andrew Fahie you are all talk, work on the important things first like Internet, water, Roads, the roads needs repair, Education, and sewage. You have a CHAMPAGNE TASE ON A BEER BUGET.

  23. Heckler says:

    Who remembers Mr. 10%? whats the going percent now?

  24. We need to do something says:

    Not all Virgin Islanders have bad memory we remember the shambles of the last airport project and the sad thing is that this proposal has some telling components. Andrew seems hell bent on doing things that are dangerous for this Territory. Something is wrong somewhere or maybe someone is telling him lies. How else can you explain this man attempting to start a major project that he knows is under priced when he knows how that constrained the previous government he was in. I remember Andrew complaining how the NDP underestimated the hospital and how VIP was saddled to pumped needed funds into completing it. So why do this again.

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