Quarter Billion Dollars in Philip Goldson International Airport Upgrade
Quarter billion dollars will be invested in the upgrade of the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). The significant investment will be used to upgrade the airport’s facilities, which will then accommodate more passengers that can then generate more flights. The strategy to modernize the airport was put together on behalf of the Belize Airports Concession Company by INFRATA Airport Consultants. According to the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations, Anthony Mahler, with the tourism industry expanding, Belize will have to upgrade all aspects related to tourism arrivals.
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “The vast majority of people who come for overnight purposes come through the PGIA so that’s the first thing that they experience and the last thing. The other day I was flying out and it was raining and so everybody had to scamper to the plane by the time you get to the plane you’re already wet, the AC is on you feel cold but we have advocated, we have had fruitful discussions with the board for the management group that manages the airport and they are going to invest close to $250 million dollars over a ten-fifteen year period to upgrade the airport. If you can see there’s now a new entrance driving into the airport, they’re looking at new terminals, a taxiway, jetbridges, new shops and stuff like that so a total modernization of the airport. The’ve contracted a group called ENFATA that is high level and I believe that with the players involved with the airport and with the agitation and the discussions that we’ve had with them they’re going do.”
The large scale- investment program also intends to assist with the demand for flights in the airport. Minister Mahler spoke about his advocacy with regards to a 24-hour operation basis for the airport.
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “It’s not just opening the airport at night right ? You have to have flights and the flights depend on slots in connecting airports, the connections that will happen from that specific flight from Europe or wherever and demand but there have been discussions.”
Troy Gabb, Host, The Business Hour: But the airport does have night capabilities doesn’t it ?
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “I told somebody who is close to the airport group that man an airport should be opened 24/7, I’ve been advocating for the borders to be opened on the weekends as well for cargo to come in I think commerce should happen 24/7 365 no ? That is how the world operates only we still shut down on a specific time that is crazy. A lot of money is there to be made out there. But I told the gentleman that you can’t complain that the airlines want to come in a peak period when it’s more expensive to come in off peak because you charge over time. I don’t think that is good practice. If you want to spread out the flights and -“
Troy Gabb, Host, The Business Hour: You manage your personnel accordingly that is management.
Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism: “I don’t think an international airport should be charging overtime to operate.”
The Philip Goldson International Airport is the largest and busiest in the country and the fifth busiest airport in Central America. It has shown stable passenger growth over the years. The Belize Airport Concession Company Limited alongside the Government hope to deliver a fresh start with a new vision of what the PGIA can become.