National Democratic Party (NDP) Chairman Myron Walwyn has promised to kick-start the airport expansion project if his party is re-elected into office at the upcoming polls.
Walwyn made the promise on Saturday during the official launch of the NDP’s At-Large candidates in Road Town.
He said air access continues to be the biggest issue plaguing the territory’s tourism industry.
He further said the territory cannot afford to have visitors using two days out of their vacation time just to travel to and from the British Virgin Islands.
“We need to get them here quicker … I love our neighbours in the USVI but they are eating our lunch because our tourists have to pass through St Thomas to get here,” he said.
“We need to extend the runway at TB Lettsome International Airport – it needs to be done. It can be done and under a new NDP government. It will be done.”
Walwyn said he believes the best way to do this is through the right public/private partnership that “eases the financial burden on the government and the people of the Virgin Islands and have the least environmental impact as possible.”
He said the territory must be made to be more attractive to other countries.
The airport project
Last October, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith said there would be progress on the project before he demits office.
Fast forward to this month during a public discussion on the project, it was revealed that the project is still at the infancy stage.
The project is estimated to cost some $250 million, out of which at least $153 million will be used to expand the runway from 4645 feet to about 7100 feet so larger aircraft can land in the territory.
The balance of the funds is projected to go towards the development of the airport’s terminal building.