The Cayman Islands have begun expanding its Owen Roberts International Airport, as the Caribbean country has experienced a sudden surge in tourists in recent years. According to the local government, the airport will be enlarged to three times its size by the end of 2018.
The original airport is designed to handle just 500,000 passengers annually, but thanks to the sudden increase in tourist arrivals, more than a million travelers used the airport last year. The roll out of the project will take place in two phases, with the preparation project and new baggage terminal starting in less than two weeks, then the main phase beginning next March.
This is the second expansion for the airport built more than 60 years ago. In 2007, the government expanded the check-in area of the airport and installed a few X-ray and baggage-screening machines. Then it also expanded the airport’s car parks and pick-up and drop-off locations.
The government has set aside $55 for the expansion, with $3.7 million already released for the first phase of construction.
Additional ticketing, arrival and departure areas will be constructed in the first phase of the project. Over the coming months, the greeting hall, VIP area, security checking and screening areas will also be expanded.
After breaking ground for the construction, Prime Minister Alden McLaughlin assured the public that travelers will not be disturbed during the construction process. According to reports, the authority is also planning to allow construction only at night.
Caymanians have the highest standard of living in the Caribbean. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Cayman Islands GDP per capita is the 14th highest in the world.