KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Dec. 29, CMC – The long delayed Argyle International Airport, will open on February 14, five years behind schedule.
This was announcement was made on radio on Thursday morning by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
“I called in just to announce formally that Argyle International Airport would be opened on February 14th, on Valentine’s Day, the day of love,” he said on his Unity Labour Party’s radio station, Star FM.
“All of us in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it’s a day which we’ve been looking forward to. So I thought that I should mention it to you. I will call around a couple other stations and say to them — give them this good news,” Gonsalves said.
He noted that date of February 14 had been hinted at on social media.
“Yesterday, I had a meeting with all the relevant stakeholders to make sure that February 14 was a go. And , a journalist called me this morning telling me social media is abuzz that it is February 14,” he said, adding that the journalist wanted confirmation.
Gonsalves said he was going to make the announcement in the New Year but decided to do so after the inquiry by the journalist.
There have been speculations that the first commercial flight into the airport would be a chartered flight and Gonsalves confirmed this when he made the announcement.
“Head of the Tourism Authority, Glen Beache, he is the point man dealing with the charters coming in for that day …but I am hoping that Vincentians overseas, businesspeople, etc. they can organise charters.
“We are in for business,” Gonsalves said, but did disclose the airlines that will make scheduled flights to the airport.
It is understood that regional carrier LIAT and Amerijet, an American cargo airline, will service the new airport while the government works out kinks and continues to woo other carriers.
The EC$729 million (One EC dollar =US$0.37 cents) airport has missed construction deadlines annually since 2011 and has been a major plank of the 2005, 2010 and 2015 general elections.
After missing the deadlines , last year, Gonsalves said that he had been advised against making further announcements about completion targets until he was certain that they would be met.