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Groundbreaking ceremony at Cayman Islands ORIA

26543999The groundbreaking ceremony for the Owen Roberts International Airport on Grand Cayman took place last Thursday (10).

The persons present included:
• Her Excellency the Governor, Mrs. Helen Kilpatrick,
• Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Premier of the Cayman Islands,
• Hon. Juliana O’Connor Conolly, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly
• Hon. Franz Manderson, Deputy Governor
• Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and Minister for District Administration, Tourism & Transport,
• Hon. Ministers of Cabinet and Members of the Legislative Assembly
• Mr. Albert Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, Cayman Islands Airports Authority,
• Mr. Kirkland Nixon, Chairman of the Airports Authority Board of Directors and Board Members,
• Mr. Richard Smith, Director-General of Civil Aviation and Members of the Authority,
• Mr. Stran Bodden, Chairman of the Airport Re-development Steering Committee and Committee Members,
• Mr. Heber Arch, Chairman and members of Arch and Godfrey ,
• Chief Officers and Senior Members of Government,


Hon. Moses Kirkconnell, JP Deputy Premier
Minister of District Administration, Tourism & Transport

Groundbreaking Ceremony

10 September, 2015
Owen Roberts International Airport

With protocol having been established, good morning

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank you for taking the time to join us this morning and I am very pleased to see such a tremendous showing of support for today’s groundbreaking.

We are here In the distinguished company of Her Excellency the Governor, Mrs. Helen Kilpatrick, the Hon. Premier, Cabinet colleagues, members of the Legislative Assembly and industry partners to celebrate the start of Phase 1 of the redevelopment and expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport.

I use the word ‘celebrate’ because arriving at this point has been a long and challenging journey. If memory serves me correctly, it has spanned several administrations over at least 15 years.

During that time, we have seen Ministers come and go; we have rebuilt our Islands after Ivan and Paloma; we have endured a global recession and watched air arrivals slump and soar to record breaking levels, just to name a few events.

Today, having promised the people of the Cayman Islands in our election manifesto that we would deliver both of the major tourism infrastructure projects, I am very proud to be a part of this Progressives-led government, that is accomplishing our pledge to provide the Cayman Islands with a world class airport, in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

One of our responsibilities as the Government is to strategically manage the tourism industry for today and for the future. Our people are depending on us to bring about solutions that will boost this Country’s ability to grow our market share as a leading tourism destination. Accomplishing this goal has called for flexibility, innovation and responsiveness.

As gratifying as it is to be delivering on an election pledge, it is even more gratifying that the policies, processes and procedures to secure the contracts and services for this project have followed best practice principles, to deliver best value and achieve optimal outcomes. There have been no short cuts or sidestepping.

Considering that the Outline Business Case (OBC)
was completed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in May
2014, and subsequently approved by Cabinet in July of that year, the fact that we have reached this juncture in a little more than a year is impressive to say the least.

During this timeframe:

� Industry stakeholders as well as the wider public were consulted for input and feedback on the proposals.
� Under the watchful eyes of the Central Tenders Committee, four architectural and engineering firms were successfully prequalified to submit applications for the design of the terminal building.
� These companies then engaged in the RFP process and the proposal that best aligned with the needs of this country was selected.

These few examples serve to illustrate that the CIAA and Airport Redevelopment Steering Committee Chaired by my Chief Officer, Stran Bodden, have managed the procurement process in accordance with International Best Practice and in compliance with the standards established under the FFR. The airport redevelopment project is the first to successfully go through the entire process and on to implementation.

I am often quoted for saying the process has been open and transparent. I repeat that fact because it represents an achievement of which we should all be justly proud.

When this Owen Roberts Airport first began commercial operations in 1952, it consisted of a modest terminal and a 5,000 ft runway. Over the years it has evolved into the familiar A-Framed structure we see today with a maximum handling capacity of 500,000 passengers per year.

Back in the 1950’s it is estimated a mere 25 million tourists had the means to travel internationally. Fast forward to today and ORIA now handles more than a million passenger movements per year, and the number of tourists that travel the world on an annual basis has grown to one billion. In a little over a decade from now (by 2030) that number is expected to surpass 1.8 billion. (Source World Trade Organsation)

These are big numbers, but it is the impact of tourism on the ground, in our communities and to the man and woman on the street that is far more relevant to us here at home. As a strategic pillar to our economy, we are reliant on tourism to create jobs and bring business opportunities, which in turn leads to investment in our Islands and the development of more of the infrastructure required to support our continual growth.

The overcrowding at the airport has in some respects been a good problem because it shows how much our stayover tourism is growing. But we have reached the point where we have no choice but to expand this facility so that we can truly reap the benefits of providing a first rate travel experience, that is comfortable, convenient and on par with expectations.

When people are satisfied and have had a good experience they come back, and this is where we need to focus our energy – on encouraging our family, friends and visitors to return.

My Ministry, CIAA and many, many others have worked hard and fast to bring us the right airport, to fit our needs, within the budget that we have. While we may not have every option we would have liked, that should not stop us from differentiating this airport from all others, by ensuring the highest standards of quality and service are front and centre in everything we do.

In recent years our tourism industry has welcomed record breaking arrivals and further growth is projected down the line. As a country, we need to continually generate more tourism related business to keep the industry vibrant and profitable; and this is why the expansion of this international gateway – our window to the world – is so critical to the long term future of our tourism industry.

For growth to be sustainable it must go hand-in-hand with the infrastructure to support it.

This is also why an aggressive timeline for completion is being followed so that we can look forward to having a modern airport facility in early 2018 that welcomes all travelers by conveying “You are important to us and we are happy to have you here.” When completed, our new airport will not only serve as a tremendous asset for our Islands, but will also provide a welcoming atmosphere and make a positive, visual statement about our local lifestyle and culture.

I would like to take this opportunity to personally and publically thank my colleagues in Caucus and Cabinet, as well as the Airports Authority Board of Directors, the Steering Committee and the Management team that has worked extremely hard to provide an attractive, competitive and customer- focused airport that we can all be proud of.

That has been our shared objective. And by working together, I am confident that it will become our shared achievement.

I would like to end my remarks with a familiar quote by an unknown author who said,

“We may not be there yet, but we are closer than we were yesterday.”

On this note, I extend my warmest congratulations to Arch & Godfrey for winning the bid for construction of phase 1, and to all who have been involved in bringing us to this very important milestone.

I look forward to the completion of the new and improved Owen Roberts International Airport and wish the team every success as construction begins.

Thank you.

Hon. Moses Kirkconnell

CEO’s remarks for ORIA Groundbreaking Ceremony

Thursday 10 September

Protocol having already been established.
Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

Today is the day that the CIAA board, my staff and i have all been anxiously waiting for. A day when we can join together to celebrate the next step in our journey towards a world class airport facility.

I am happy to report that we are right on track for our terminal renovation and expansion project, and we have met all of our key milestones to date. Let me just outline the high level plan for the roll-out of this project.

The project will be done in two main phases and will include full renovation of the existing facility, new east and west expansions, plus adding some additional space in the front (North).

Phase one, which will start shortly, represents a relatively small piece of the overall project works.

The phase one contract covers the construction of a new outgoing checked baggage preparation area, checked baggage screening room, office space and second floor mechanical room. We expect that this phase will be complete by March 2016

Phase Two, which is expected to begin in march 2016, will include all of the remaining expansion and renovation works. It will be carried out in several sub-phases to enable the terminal to remain fully functional, safe and secure throughout the construction period.

The Phase Two works will commence with the expansion of the departure lounge and check-in lobby followed closely by renovation of the existing departure lounge and check-in lobby.

The next sub-phase will be the expansion of the arrivals area to the east, to be followed by the construction of the new arches and remaining internal renovations to complete the project.

During this time, we will do our best to minimize the impact on our passengers and maintain the safety and security of the airport. This will inevitably call for us to zone off construction areas with temporary walls so that the public is separated from the construction activities.

in addition, as far as is reasonably possible, work will be carried out during quiet periods and during the night. Noisy or disruptive construction activities will also be carried out during the times when the terminal is not occupied.

We expect that the entire project will be completed early summer of 2018.

Most likely there will be times when it will be challenging for our passengers to navigate through the busy airport, when the construction work inside the terminal begins.

However, I would like to take this opportunity now to ask you for your understanding and patience as the airports authority continues to strive towards our ultimate vision, “to bring excellence to your airport experience.”

Indeed, our service excellence goal is now enshrined in the CIAA strategic plan. This building, while a key part of that strategy, provides only the bricks and mortar. The service we provide will be supported by strategic goals that will deliver safety and security, business performance, development of talent, and excellence in customer service. The Oria Terminal Building therefore, while a critical part of the plan, will be the catalyst for moving our airport from good to great.

Today, is indeed a very important day for the Ministry Of Tourism, The Cayman Islands Airports Authority, The CIAA Board, CIAA staff, our airport partners and the people of the Cayman Islands. And I would like thank you all for your support for this important project. In particular I thank the board for their unwavering support for this project and guidance in getting to this point.

Our staff and airport partners have been finding ways to make the current situation work for several years now, effectively making two go into one…and the mathematicians among us know that is impossible, but they made it work. I thank them for their patience and understanding and for their commitment to making the best of a bad situation. The day will soon come when we can do our jobs in a pleasant environment and impact our passengers in the manner they deserve.

I look forward to seeing you all again when we gather for the official grand opening of our newly expanded and redeveloped airport. Thank You.



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