Barbados has partnered with Chilean logistics firm Agencias Universales S.A. and the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to upgrade its only port of entry by air: the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA).
A major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean, the airport will be upgraded with an investment of US$147 million, with construction plans comprising building of a new terminal and runway expansion.
GAIA Inc. Signs MOU For Public Private Partnership https://t.co/B3zAEXtPJQ
— gisbarbados (@gisbarbados) July 19, 2023
The government of Barbados intends to expand the runway to 12,000 feet, allowing bigger planes to land at the airport. Other enhancements will include improved parking facilities, an expansion of the cargo area and the installation of new security equipment.
The airport serves around 2.2 million people per year, and reports indicate that it is already capable of handling huge planes such as the Airbus A380.
The GAIA has long been a vital air-link for cruise ship passengers coming and departing from the Port of Bridgetown, as well as a base of operations for the Regional Security System (RSS) and the Regional (Caribbean) Police Training Centre.
The memorandum of understanding between Barbados and the UAE follows a previous agreement between both governments to pursue greater business ties, particularly in the transport and travel sectors.
The country’s Tourism Minister, Ian Gooding-Edghill, told reporters that the upgraded airport will boost tourism, providing jobs for locals. The project is expected to create 1,000 jobs during construction and 500 permanent jobs upon the completion of the upgrade.