MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica (Monday, April 3, 2023) — An additional US$70 million of investment has been earmarked for the upgrading and modernisation of the Sangster International Airport (SIA) in Montego Bay, St. James.
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, made the announcement, after touring the ongoing runway extension and civil infrastructure project, being undertaken at the airport at a cost of US$70 million, last Saturday.
Holness told journalists that the airport’s current physical infrastructure and mechanisms are “outdated”.
As such, he said this “great investment” in the airport is intended to update the facilities and improve the capacity of its services for locals and foreigners.
Approximately 70 percent of visitors to Jamaica come through the Sangster Airport.
Prime Minister Holness said renditions for the airport’s upgrade and design have already been made, noting that they depict a “world class” feel.
“This is what I would call a strategic nation-building investment. This US$140 million in total, will transform the experience here. It will make Jamaica more attractive and make Jamaica more competitive with other countries in the region, which have also invested heavily in improving their infrastructure,” he pointed out.
“Jamaicans will also see the benefits, because this [airport] is a major doorway into Jamaica. Right now, we are seeing significant bottlenecks in receiving passengers, because there are some unique issues to do with the narrow windows for travel time,” the Prime Minister added.
Holness further indicated that these new and existing investments in the airport, bode well for Jamaica’s tourism product.
Jamaica will be able to open up to other destinations, thereby increasing the prospect of more visitors and foreign earnings for the local economy, he reasoned.
“This increases our revenues, which means the government can spend more on the things that matter to you, such as education, health, the road in your community and your water supply.”
He revealed that additional investments are being made in advancing the technology platform for the immigration process where, soon, it will be a paperless system for a seamless experience, travelling through the airport.
“Jamaica has a very well-recognised, strong and robust brand, and we need to take advantage of it for economic and social development; and part of that strategy is to improve the infrastructure,” Prime Minister Holness maintained.
The Sangster International Airport runway extension project — which entails extending the airstrip from 2,662 to 3,060 metres — is slated for completion during the second quarter of 2023.