–Minister Edghill says
THE deadline for completion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project has been extended to June 20, 2022, to facilitate additional works which started last year after the government engaged the contracting firm, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).
In December 2020, after four months of resisting the government’s request to have the CJIA expansion project completed in accordance with the initial contract, CHEC agreed to foot a US$9 million bill for additional work at the airport.
And, based on the particulars of the agreement, there will be an extension of the airport’s boarding corridor to accommodate two more passenger boarding bridges, an extension of the terminal building to provide accommodation for additional commercial space, and a modern airport façade covering the full length of the airport’s departure terminal.
In October 2021, CHEC had requested more time to complete the project, which had a December 2021 deadline, due to a delay in freight and other miscellaneous issues caused by global supply chain issues. Based on this request, the Ministry of Public Works had granted an extension.
When the extension was initially requested, Project Manager of the CJIA Expansion Project Carissa Gooding had said that only 20 per cent of the additional works have been completed, with works on the new arrival terminal building being 62 per cent completed, and works on the existing terminal building being 73.5 per cent completed.
Gooding had said that CHEC could complete “a high percentage” of the work, and should be able to complete at least 60 per cent by the December 31 deadline.
Responding to a question from the Guyana Chronicle on the progress of works at the airport, CJIA Chief Executive Officer Ramesh Ghir said that the works being executed by CHEC are only 54 per cent completed to date.
Critical works on the airport are also being executed by CALCO Guyana, and those include the construction of a new building attached to CJIA’s terminal building, which will house a conference room, offices for the airlines and the other support agencies, as well as storage bonds for the duty-free shops and concessionaires. Those works, according to Ghir, are six per cent completed.
The CJIA expansion project was subjected to criticism from the new government when it was elected to office in August 2020. President Dr. Irfaan Ali and other officials of the government have said that Guyana will not be tolerant of unsatisfactory work, and made it clear that the project will only be accepted if it is done in accordance with the “original contract” that was signed in 2011.
“President Ali, when he came to office in August of 2020, led from the front on this matter of the CJIA. It’s no secret that the PPP/C, in opposition as well as in government, expressed its dissatisfaction with the contract, and the performance of the contractor in getting this airport completed,” Edghill said on Monday.
He added: “President Ali also led from the front in ensuring that the airport is not left in a manner that the APNU+AFC agreed to by way of a signed contract with the contractor, but renegotiated.”