Ogle Airport expansion project study
Some families would have to move, job opportunities seen
Comments invited
Stabroek News
August 10, 2002

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The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Ogle Airport expansion project has concluded that 23 households would have to be resettled but it also highlights benefits to the area including jobs.

The 23 Industry and Ogle households would have to be relocated because they either fall within the airport’s boundaries or at unsafe points along the flight path.

The EIA noted that this involves the disruption of a family’s way of life and, therefore, must be well planned and involve discussions with the affected parties very early in the process.

With the granting of a lease from the government to Ogle Airport Inc (OAI), the size of the facility increased from approximately 30 hectares to 178.8 hectares.

OAI is a group of private aircraft owners who operate out of Ogle. The project coordinator is Anthony Mekdeci and the other members of the group are Michael Correia of Trans Guyana Airways, Mazahar Ally of Air Services Ltd, Gerry Gouveia of Roraima Airways Ltd, and Beni Sankar of Kayman Sankar Aviation Ltd.

OAI, according to the EIA, will continue to collaborate with the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) so that residents would be involved in the discussions with the agency in respect to options for resettlement and/or compensation.

The EIA stated that the CH&PA has already begun to identify alternative lands for the affected families, including those who began residing at their current locations within the past two to five years.

The EIA found that flights volumes would be increased to 686 flights per month during the first three years, 866 for the second three years and by the end of the third three-year period to 926 flights monthly.

An environmental management plan (EMP) has been designed to ensure the project development proceeds and is managed in a manner committed to the safety and well-being of all the persons employed there, living in the surrounding communities, and utilising the services of the Ogle Airport.

Specifically the EMP has been designed to protect the physical, biological and socio-economic aspects of the environment at Ogle Airport, the EIA stated.

OAI has budgeted the sum of US$659,945 for the first five years for the maintenance of the runways, taxiways and will allow for the monitoring of the environment.

A total of US$3 million will be used to develop the first phase of the project.

A designated Occupational Safety and Health Officer or Environmental Officer will be assigned responsibility for the development and implementation of the EMP for Ogle Airport.

In formulating the terms of reference for the EIA, attention was paid to the types of impacts that could be associated with a project of this nature, and to issues identified by stakeholders at a public scoping meeting and in written submissions to the EPA.

The main objectives of the EIA are (a) To identify positive and negative impacts of the proposal to expand the runway and increase passenger traffic at the Ogle Aerodrome.

(b) To make recommendations for the mitigation of adverse impacts. Such recommendations will include strategies that allow for avoidance or reduction of adverse impacts.

(c) To prepare an EMP that identifies the human and other resources required for the implementation of mitigation measures.

The EIA was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on July 16 and the EPA has 60 days to review it with the Environmental Assessment Board, after which the public would be invited to examine it and to make comments.

The EIA found that there would be positive impacts in area of employment.

For the short-term, during the 18-month construction period, there would be employment opportunities for skilled and unskilled persons.

In the long-term, following the expansion of the airport, just under 300 jobs in five categories—operations, accounting, caterers/vendors, concessionaires of OAI and transportation services—will become available over a five-year period.

The EIA said with the installation of runway lights, medi-vac nighttime services will be made safer for residents, patients, other passengers and crew of the aircraft.

Nighttime flights to regional destinations will also be possible.

The EIA found that noise associated with landings and take-offs at Ogle will continue to extend beyond the boundaries of the airport to the communities of Ogle, Industry, Goedverwagting and Sparendaam.

Persons living to the east and north-eastern sections of the airport are also likely to experience varying levels of noise.

The runway will be utilised by small aircraft and the larger aircraft to be acquired are generally quieter.

The EIA said the planting of fruit trees and ornamental shrubs by residents would serve not only to beautify their surroundings but also as a buffer for aircraft noise.

The runway will be designed so that the approach and take-off are configured to maximise the height of aircraft flying above housing areas, and to reduce noise generation during take-off and landing.

Noisier types of aircraft will be prohibited and noisier models of crop dusters will be phased out.

The upgraded airport will continue to provide scheduled and charter services to locations in Guyana, especially to the hinterland, but will also serve regional destinations such as Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Barbados, Brazil and Venezuela.

It is proposed that Dash-8 or similar type aircraft will be allowed to use the runway to service non-domestic destinations.

In addition, the provision of runway lighting and an expanded runway will facilitate the operation of nighttime flights to and from Ogle.

The expansion of the Ogle Aerodrome consists of two faces.

For Phase One, the following will be done:

1. Construction of a new 1199 metres x 30 metres runway.

2. Construction of 25-metre wide steel reinforced concrete taxiways to join the new runway to the parking apron.

3. Construction of a 40-metre side steel reinforced parking apron to facilitate the operation of refuelling points.

4. Construction of a terminal building capable of handling 150 passengers at any given time.

5. Installation of runway edge lighting for the new runway.

6. Construction of a perimeter fence for the leased area. This would be except for the southern boundary of the area which contains a vital transportation conduit for the Guyana Sugar Corporation’s East Demerara Estates.

7. Provision of airport signage.

8. Construction of an air traffic control tower.

9. Provision of a new access road to the new airport. This would be off of the current main access road.

Flights from Ogle are primarily to mining, forestry and agricultural communities in several parts of Guyana’s hinterland and a few locations along the Berbice and Essequibo Coasts.

In addition to the transport of passengers and cargo, crop dusters are used for aerial application of agricultural chemicals to sugar cane and paddy cultivations along the coastal area.

An ad hoc medi-vac service allowing for the evacuation of persons with medical emergencies from the hinterland communities is also provided from Ogle.

Currently, the Ogle Aerodrome has two concrete taxiways; a weather station; a fire station; a control tower; four aircraft hangars; a small passenger centre with offices and cafeteria; some small areas for aircraft loading and washing; diesel and aviation fuel tanks; an aeronautical engineering training school; and a maintenance facility.

The development of the Ogle Airport and the transfer of the airport to private operation and ownership is part of a US$30 million Air Transport Reform Programme for Guyana funded by the Inter-American Development Bank.