Introducing the Future of Cayman Islands Aviation: Unveiling the $76M Airport Master Plan
We are thrilled to share exciting news that will shape the future of aviation in the Cayman Islands. The government has confirmed its commitment to an extensive Airport Master Plan, aiming to meet the demands of a rapidly growing industry. As a premier land developer in the Cayman Islands, we are delighted to keep you informed about these developments.
Expansion of Owen Roberts International Airport Runway
One of the pivotal projects included in the master plan is the expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport runway. At a cost of $28 million, the runway will be extended by an impressive 1,900 feet into the North Sound. This expansion will enable larger aircraft to operate on long-haul routes, ushering in a new era of connectivity and opportunities for the Cayman Islands.
This image shows the planned expansion of the Owen Roberts International Airport runway into the North Sound. – Image: Courtesy of Ministry of Tourism
Enhanced Air Traffic Control Surveillance and Safety Measures
To ensure the highest standards of safety and efficiency, the government will invest $4.7 million in upgrading the air traffic control surveillance system at Owen Roberts International Airport. This technological advancement will streamline operations and enhance the overall travel experience for passengers. Additionally, runway end safety area works will be carried out at the Charles Kirkconnell International Airport on Cayman Brac, with an investment of $1.15 million, further strengthening safety measures across all airports in the Cayman Islands.
Revolutionising Air Travel: New General Aviation Terminal
In addition to the runway expansion, the government plans to construct a state-of-the-art general aviation terminal, with an estimated investment of $42 million. This terminal will enhance the travel experience for private aircraft passengers, offering modern facilities and exceptional services. The Cayman Islands will become a preferred destination for private jet owners and operators, solidifying its status as a world-class aviation hub.
A rendering of the planned General Aviation Terminal. – Image: Ministry of Tourism
Responsible Development and Environmental Considerations
We recognise the importance of preserving the natural beauty of the Cayman Islands. As part of the Airport Master Plan, comprehensive environmental impact assessments will be conducted for both the runway extension on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. These assessments will ensure that the development takes place while safeguarding the delicate ecosystems of our islands. We are committed to minimising any potential environmental impacts and protecting our cherished natural resources.
Financing the Future: Passenger Fees and Economic Viability
Rest assured, the implementation of these visionary projects will not burden the government or the taxpayers. Instead, a $20 increase in air passenger fees will cover the costs. This includes a $5 increase in the terminal fee and a new airport development fee of $15. The airport development fee will be applied only during the construction period, estimated to span from 2024 to 2029. By implementing these reasonable fees, we can secure the necessary funds without compromising the affordability and competitiveness of the Cayman Islands as a destination.
Elevating the Cayman Islands’ Position in the Global Market
With the completion of these transformational projects, the Cayman Islands will emerge as a leading player in the regional aviation landscape. Our expanded runway will accommodate “Code E” aircraft, including the Boeing 777 and 787, as well as the A350 Airbus. This means that fully loaded long-haul flights will be possible, opening up opportunities for new airline partnerships and routes. With increased connectivity, we anticipate an influx of tourists and businesses, fuelling economic growth and cementing our status as a premier Caribbean destination.
Staying Ahead of Regional Competition
To remain at the forefront of the tourism industry, it is imperative to match the pace of progress demonstrated by our neighbouring islands. Countries such as Jamaica, the Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands have made substantial investments in their airport infrastructure, enhancing their appeal to traveler’s. The Cayman Islands cannot afford to lag behind. The Airport Master Plan is a strategic imperative, ensuring that we can compete effectively and maintain our position as a sought-after destination.
We invite you to stay tuned for further updates and the release of the comprehensive Airport Master Plan later this week. As the Cayman Islands continue to evolve and flourish, we are committed to keeping you informed and engaged in the journey towards a brighter future.