Placencia residents are out for a treat this week as the recently refurbished airstrip will be officially opened on Friday. It is an accomplishment for the Belize Airport Authority (BAA) and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. We spoke with Nicholas Ruiz of the BAA who gave a breakdown on the money and efforts placed in this project.
Chief Engineer Dervin Fortnard was contracted to oversee the expansion of the airstrip. In our interview with him today he explained the dimensions of the facility and its improvements.
Dervin Fortnard, Chief Engineer: “The original length of the runway before was two thousand one hundred feet by twenty five feet wide and we had to extend that runway several hundred feet west of existing which meant we had to fill into the area but before you fill we had to do digging to remove all the unsuitable material there put approved material in there along with shore protection. Also we had to do a slight realignment of the runway because if we continued on the same original trajectory it would have been too close to the buildings so we had to tilt the runway a bit, less than a degree, so that was tilted. The new runway basically was upgraded to about forty feet wide asphalt and the actual length is about two thousand seven hundred and seventy five feet and with that also we had to install edge markings and center line markings also the lighting system as well on there and also on the apron as well. So from twenty five feet original to a forty foot wide runway that’s a big difference and we went from twenty one hundred feet to twenty eight hundred feet so that’s a big improvement there.”
Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Civil Aviation Kennedy Carrillo explained that the works began well before she took office and that she is proud to being around for its completion.
Kennedy Carrillo, Chief Executive Officer, Ministry of Civil Aviation: “Definitely this was something in the making that we have very happily welcomed upon our arrival at this ministry. There’s a lot of work that took place before we came here and we’re happy to join in the celebration of this accomplishment with the Belize Airport Authorities as well as Civil Aviation and the Placencia community and all other partners that have been involved in this. We recognize as a ministry that this is a major accomplishment, it really is a good start for us because we are keen on taking aviation to a whole other level and we understand the important link as well with the tourism sector and so for us to be able to participate in this accomplishment and to actually cut the ribbon as the minister will be doing it’s very important.”
The official opening will be streamed live on Friday.