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#450710 - 11/09/12 01:13 PM San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade
Marty Offline
You might not know that the San Pedro airstrip is regarded as the busiest in all of Central America.

And since mid year, it has been getting an upgrade worthy of the level of traffic that it gets.

Today it was officially opened and Monica Bodden was there:..

Monica Bodden reporting
Inauguration ceremonies of the new San Pedro airport were held this afternoon on the island. Construction began in January of 2011 and after 20 months of work; the new airport will be providing both locals and tourists with a much safer and more efficient air navigation service.

More than 2.3 million dollars have been invested in the project with the Central American Cooperation for air navigation services being one of the main contributors.

Louis Ake - Regional Manager
"In honor of our commitment towards providing a safer and a more efficient air navigation service the Central American Cooperation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA) is honored to be able to contribute towards the betterment of civil aviation, tourism and the economics of our region specifically Belize, our beautiful country. After 20 months of constant work we now can see that teh project is a reality. With the firm commitment and support from COCESNA and the constant cooperation from the Belize Airport Authority more than 2.3 million US dollars have been invested. This project is comprise of the following; construction of 2,175 meters of perimeter fencing, the rehabilitation and resurfacing of the runway and taxiway, the construction of a new airport parking apron, the installation of a runway and taxiway lights and the installation of a precision approach pathway indicator lighting system which will provide visual aid for landing aircrafts."

"The project was financed and managed by COCESNA with the cooperation of the Belize Airport Authority on behalf of the Government of Belize. The design/construction and the supervision was done by Belizean companies and the Department of Civil Aviation provided technical oversight."

"The construction and operation of this newly refurbish airport has generated direct and indirect benefits to the San Pedro Town through employment, services and supplies of construction materials. It will provide better efficient and operational safety conditions for the San Pedro Airport which will guarantee adequate flow of air traffic for local and international tourists that will visit this beautiful island especially a little bit after dark."

The newly upgraded and rehabilitated airport was renamed the John Greif the second airport. Grief started the airline industry in San Pedro.

Celi McCorkle - Wife of John Grief II
"I would like to take a little time to tell you a few facts about John Edward Grief II, the man we are honoring today. Jon was born on November 11, 1921 to John and May Grief of Paducah Kentucky in the USA. As a young man he joined the United States Airforce during World War 2 and became a pilot and instructor. After the war he continued his career in aviation. He loved flying and he would always say that he could fly the boxes those airplanes were shipped in. On July 1st, 1957 John Grief visited San Pedro for the first time landing in a sea plane in the back lagoon accompanied by a pilot that he had trained in Florida and who was working at time for the same company I was working for in Belize City."

"They walked through the sandy streets of San Pedro to deliver a letter to my mother that lived on the beach where the San Pedro Holiday Hotel is now located. When John saw the beautiful blue water of the Caribbean ocean and the white sandy beaches and the swaying coconut trees he fell in love instantly with San Pedro. He use to tell me that he landed in heaven. Since John second love after his family was flying we started lobbying government for an airstrip and through the efforts of the then Minister Louis Sylvester who also loved San Pedro, government decided to let us use the land where the airport is now located. So John and I with the help of a few San Pedranos with machetes and axes clear a short runway. John bought a super cup airplane that could carry the pilot and a passenger and started flying injured and critically ill San Pedranos and new born babies and anyone that needed to get to Belize City urgently. He did all of this free of charge, eventually government granted us an airline licensed and we started the Central American Transport Airline known then as Cat Airline. John bought a four seater cessna and so the airline industry in San Pedro was born and now we have Tropic Air with John Grief 111 and the helm and we won't be running out of John Griefs - there is a John Grief IV and there is a John Grief V."

Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia and Airports Authority Chairwoman Barbara Miller along with Minister Rene Montero and Minister Edmund Castro formally cut the ribbon. Heredia says today they have accomplished what they had set out to do 2 years ago.

The upgrade cost 3.7 million dollars.

Channel 7


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#450715 - 11/09/12 01:25 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Upgrading the airstrip on La Isla Bonita

The overhaul of the San Pedro airport is complete; the multimillion dollar project was launched this afternoon just in time for the beginning of the high tourism season. The event pulled out numerous ministers and key players in the tourism and aviation industries. The expanded and modernized facility was named after John Greif the second, one of the stalwarts in the island. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports. 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Commuters, arriving at or leaving from La Isla Bonita, may have, over the past few months, noticed considerable changes taking place at the John Greif II Municipal Airport.  Those renovations, which included the asphalting and lighting of the landing strip, as well as the complete enclosure of the perimeter, were part of a collaborative effort between government and the private sector.  The Belize Airports Authority, through the Ministry of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, spearheaded the undertaking by partnering with Maya Island Air and Tropic Air.

Manuel Heredia Jr.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation & Culture

“Two years ago, as the minister also responsible for civil aviation, I had announced the government’s plan to install new features at the airstrip, including the upgrade of the runway, expansion of the parking area for the aircraft, installation of adequate lighting for emergency night landings and other general enhancements of the safety and security features of the compound, including fortification of the perimeter fence.”

The unveiling of a bust in honor of John Greif II, who founded Tropic Air on the island decades ago, was the highlight of today’s inauguration.  Greif was instrumental in establishing the first airstrip, after relocating with his family to San Pedro in the early sixties.

Seli McCorkle

Seli McCorkle, Wife of John Greif II

“Since John’s second love after his family was flying, we started lobbying government for an airstrip and through the efforts of the then minister Lewis Sylvester, who also loves San Pedro, government decided to let us use the land where the airport is now located.  So John and I, with the help of a few San Pedranos, with machetes and axes, cleared a short runway.  John bought a Super Cup airplane that could carry the pilot and a passenger and so we started flying injured and critically ill San Pedranos and newborn babies and anyone that needed to get to Belize City urgently.  He did all of this free of charge.  Eventually government granted us an airline license and we started the Central American Transport Airline, known then as the CAT Airline.  John bought a four-seater CESSNA and so the airline industry in San Pedro was born.”

The multimillion dollar project, says COCESSNA’s regional manager Luis Ake, fulfills part of the organization’s responsibility to the improvement of civil aviation in Belize.

Luis Ake

Luis Ake, Regional Manager, COCESSNA in Belize

“The Central American Corporation for Air Navigation Services, COCESSNA by its Spanish acronym, is honored to be able to contribute towards the betterment of civil aviation, tourism and the economy of our region, specifically Belize, our beautiful country.  After twenty months of constant work we now can see that the project is a reality.  With the firm commitment and support from COCESSNA and the constant cooperation from the Belize Airports Authority more than two point three million U.S. dollars have been invested.”

That investment, according to Heredia, is vital to the tourism industry since thousands of overnight visitors pass through the island’s airport annually.

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“The John Greif II Airstrip is Belize’s most and one of the region’s busiest aerodromes.  It is the major gateway for our tourism industry here in San Pedro, as well as a key transport hub for local travel, emergency medical services for the island, daily freight services and conduit to other services for the Belizean public.  For tourism in Belize it represents one of the most important transportation assets for the country as air connections are a critical factor for the development of a tourism destination like Ambergris Caye.”

Work on the improvement of the existing facilities in San Pedro commenced in early 2011 and was completed within a period of twenty months.  A similar project is set to begin in Belize City in the months ahead. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

Channel 5


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#450770 - 11/09/12 10:19 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Inauguration of The John Greif II San Pedro Airport

The number one tourist destination in the country of Belize now boasts a newly renovated and safety enhanced airport, the John Greif II Airport. The official inauguration took place on Thursday, November 8, 2012, where officials of the Belize Airports Authority, COCESNA, distinguished guests and media gathered at the airport to witness such important event. The project included rehabilitation and resurfacing of the runway, parking space for aircrafts, runway and taxi way lights to name a few.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the Ambergris Today



Concerns at public meeting on crime yields positive results

When speaking to The San Pedro Sun, Mayor Daniel Guerrero explained that after the public meeting on Tuesday October 30th, many people expressed willingness to assist both the SPTC and the Police Department on the island to address the crime situation that has spiked out of control. One of the first persons to reach out was John McAfee, renowned businessman and part-time resident of northern Ambergris Caye. “Due to concerns of the people in the last meeting we promised to go into first gear. Mr. John McAfee called me immediately after hearing about the concerns as it related to crime…he came very generously and said he will equip the police force in San Pedro with anything that he could at the time and is willing to give even more. He has promised the Council that his boat is available anytime for the Police Department if they need it. He is also willing to host all five police officers in five air-conditioned rooms at his establishment and transportation for them will be free of cost via Coastal Express,” said the Mayor.


As part of equipping the police department, McAfee made a very substantial equipment donation. 40 assorted Vipertek Stun guns, 7 SCHRADE SWAT batons, 3 SCHRADE Professional SWAT batons, 2 Security Pro batons, 60 assorted brands and types of pepper spray, 46 assorted heavy duty metal handcuffs, 12 Lumen Premium Led flashlights, 7 streetwise metal detectors, 5 High Sierra brand hydration backpacks and a battery charger were amongst the arsenal of equipment donated. According to Mayor Guerrero, the donation is only the beginning, with more to come as promised by McAfee in a private meeting hosted at the SPTC building. McAfee said that “A society without law is not a society… laws are necessary to curb the negative aspect of the ‘human animal.’ Law however is useless without the ability to enforce them… much of the donation is based on the psychological aspect of the weaponry,” said McAfee. A small vessel complete with engine was also handed to the SP Police Department by McAfee for the use of the department as they see it fit.

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos in the San Pedro Sun


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#450809 - 11/10/12 02:10 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Pedro municipal airstrip renovation is completed and renamed

San Pedro municipal airstrip renovation is completed and renamed. Yesterday official ceremonies were held to publicize the latest renovations to the San Pedro Municipal airstrip. The multimillion dollar project included expansion to the landing strip, asphalting and lighting to facilitate night flights especially in the case of emergencies. The project which was collaboration between the public and private sector was started under the past and present leadership of Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Culture, Hon. Manuel Heredia Junior. 

Minister of Civil Aviation, MANUEL HEREDIA JR
Today we're gathered here to celebrate another great milestone, not only for San Pedro, but for the country. Three years ago, as the Minister also responsible for Civil aviation, I had announced the Government's plan to install new features at the airstrip, including the upgrade of the runway, expansion of the parking area for aircraft, installation of adequate lighting for emergency night landing, and other general enhancements for the safety and security features of the compound, including fortification of the perimeter fence. The need for these improvements were highlighted on the Belize Airports Development Strategy. With funding support from Central American Cooperation for Air Navigation Services, COCESSNA, we have accomplished what we set out to do two years ago with 3 million dollars invested on the ground.

The airport was rename after John Greif 2nd a former pilot and the first man who landed the first plane in San Pedro – his wife Celi McCorkle said that John’s second love after his family was flying. 

CELI McCORKLE
Since John's second love after his family was flying, we started lobbying Government for an airstrip.  And through the efforts of the then Minister Louis Sylvester, who also loves San Pedro, Government decided to let us use the land where the airport is now located. So John and I, with the help of a few [people] with machetes and axes, cleared a short run.  John bought a supercup airplane that could carry the pilot and a passenger, and started flying injured and critically ill people, and new-born babies, and anyone that needed to get to Belize City urgently. He did all of this free of charge.  Eventually government granted us an airline licence, and we started the Central American Transport Airline. 

COCESSNA’s regional manager Luis Ake, commented that the completion of this project fulfills part of the organization’s responsibility to the improvement of civil aviation in Belize. 

COCESSNA’s regional manager, LUKE AKE: 
In order of our commitment towards providing a safer and more efficient air navigation service, the Central American Cooperation for Air Navigation Services, COCESSNA by it's Spanish acronym, is honoured to be able to contribute to the betterment of Civil Aviation, tourism, and the economy of out region, specifically Belize, out beautiful country. With the firm commitment and support from COCESSNA, and the constant cooperation from Belize Airports Authority, more that two point three million U.S dollars have been invested.

Hon. Manuel Heredia stated that, “The John Greif II Airstrip is Belize’s most and one of the region’s busiest aerodromes.  It is the major gateway for our tourism industry here in San Pedro, as well as a key transport hub for local travel, emergency medical services for the island.”

HON. MANUEL HEREDIA:
The John Greif 2nd Airstrip is Belize's most, and one of the region's best aerodromes. It is the major gateway for our tourism industry here in San Pedro, as well as a key transport hub for local travel, and emergency medical services for the island, freight services, and other services for the Belizean public. For tourism in Belize, it represents one of the most important transportation  assets for the country, as air connections are a critical factor for the development of a tourism destination like Ambergris Caye. This makes the island much more accessible to its source tourism markets, and offers the growth level of convenience being demanded by today's global;  tourism market.

The project will continue with similar enhancement works targeting the Belize City Municipal Airstrip.

PlusTV


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#450912 - 11/12/12 02:50 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

New and upgraded airport for San Pedro town


John Grief II airport

The upgraded San Pedro municipal airport was inaugurated on Thursday. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

LOVETV


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#451027 - 11/13/12 02:42 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

San Pedro ‘s new and improved airstrip


San Pedro

The newly rehabilitated airstrip in San Pedro is being renamed. Love TV’s Natalie Novelo reports.

LOVETV


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#451326 - 11/16/12 02:40 PM Re: San Pedro Airstrip Gets Major Upgrade [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Love Story paved Way for Busiest Airstrip in Central America


Official ribbon cutting ceremony

On December 16th, 2010 the Belize Airport Authority broke ground on a $3.7 million project to rehabilitate and modernize the San Pedro Airstrip. The project was made possible through the support of the Central American Cooperation for Air Navigation Services (COCESNA). COCESNA has the exclusive rights to provide air traffic services, aeronautical telecommunications and radio navigation aids for international civil aviation in the territories of member states: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Almost two years later, on November 8th, 2012, the new and improved airstrip reopened as the John Grief II Airport.

The rehabilitation project included the upgrading of the landing strip, security fencing, larger parking area for private aircrafts, adequate lighting for emergency night-landings and a general enhancement of the safety and security features on the compound. The landing strip was elevated by about four to five inches; it was widened by thirty feet and paved with hot mix for greater durability. At the time of the project launch, pedestrians from outside the airstrip, and even motorists, could have easily accessed the compound and move across the runway at will. It was an extremely dangerous situation however, the new security fencing has put an end to that. The new lighting guarantees that the busiest airstrip in Central America will no longer have to shut down as the sun sets.

While he may not be happy about the fact that San Pedro evolved into a busy municipality, John Grief II would have definitely been proud of the improved airstrip. After all, it was his love story that gave birth to the airstrip. Grief was a fighter pilot in World War II. He later came to Belize and fell in love with a San Pedrana, Celi McCorkle. On July 1st, 1957, Grief visited San Pedro for the first time, landing in a sea plane in the back lagoon. He later married McCorkle and eventually moved the family to San Pedro. In the words of his wife, on that July 1st day Grief “walked through the sandy streets of San Pedro to deliver a letter to my mother, who lived on the beach where the San Pedro Holiday Hotel is now located. When John saw the beautiful blue water of the Caribbean ocean and the white sandy beaches and the swaying coconut trees he fell in love instantly with San Pedro. He use to tell me that he landed in heaven.”

Grief lobbied for Government to build an airstrip. His effort resulted in him being granted permission to use the land where the airstrip is currently located. Grief and his wife, along with a few other San Pedranas, cleared a short runway using tools such as machetes and axes. Grief then bought an airplane that could carry the pilot and a passenger. He started flying injured and seriously ill patients from San Pedro to Belize City for medical attention. This was done free of charge until he eventually received an airline license from Government. The Grief family now operates Tropic Air.

The Guardian


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