Ogle may be ready for CWC -- officials project
By Chamanlall Naipaul
February 2, 2007
OFFICIALS are optimistic that Guyana’s first municipal airport will be ready in time for Cricket World Cup 2007 as work to upgrade the Ogle Aerodrome, East Coast Demerara is moving apace.
Officials of Ogle Airport Incorporated (OAI), the consortium spearheading the project, told Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and Police Commissioner Henry Greene during a site yesterday that all the facilities and equipment required for International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards are being installed.
The visitors were taken on a conducted tour of the aerodrome by veteran pilot Captain Paul Chan-A-Sue and briefed on all aspects of the ongoing work and areas in which governmental support is needed.
Mr. Rohee said he is impressed with what is taking place at the site and work is “moving by leaps and bounds in an efficient manner”.
However, he said much more needs to be done in terms of security arrangements.
This, he noted, is an issue which cannot be underestimated and upgrading the facilities and equipment of the Guyana Fire Service (GFS) at the airport is needed as well.
On this score, OAI Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Anthony Mekdeci stressed that fire-fighting personnel stationed at an airport must have specialised training as fighting fires emanating from aircraft is much different to buildings on fire.
In this regard, he said, OAI is prepared to provide training as it conducted a training programme in October last year.
Rohee stressed that fire-fighting capabilities should not lag behind the other facilities being installed at the airport and assured that the government is prepared to examine ways of providing support to bolster these vital areas.
He also endorsed a call for the Ministry of Home Affairs to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with OAI for a clear understanding of the responsibilities of both parties, recalling that such an MOU was entered into with the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), Timehri.
Mekdeci said a security plan has been submitted to the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) for its review after which it will be sent to the Police Commissioner.
Installing scanning machines and metal detectors in the terminal building which will house all the relevant government agencies, such as immigration and customs, should be completed by the end of this month, Mekdeci reported.
In addition, he said, the 35-foot control tower should be up and running in three to four weeks, pointing out that it could not have been higher as it would have encroached on the safety area at the airport.
When completed, the Ogle Municipal Airport will be able to handle two 50-seat aircraft at a time, Mekdeci said, explaining that the project is a modest one.
He also recalled that phase one of the scheme, in which some $400M was spent to primarily construct a new lengthened runway, 600 metres long and 18 metres wide, was completed last year and commissioned by Minister of Transport and Hydraulics, Mr. Robeson Benn in November.
Phase two is in progress and estimated to cost another $600M, he said.