The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, in collaboration with the Belize Airports Authority (BAA), is pleased to announce the inauguration of the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport, formerly the Belize City Municipal Airstrip.

The airport was expanded and renovated through a BZ$17 million project implemented by the BAA through a loan from the Social Security Board.

The new features of the airport include an expanded runway 2,900 ft. long and 60 ft. wide with a parallel taxiway measuring 2,700 ft. long and 60 ft. wide, including a new lighting system to accommodate the landing of aircrafts at night. With the appropriate marking and signage, the airport is now compliant with local and international civil aviation standards. An apron with safety lines, parking and service road markings and 10 aircraft parking stalls are also among the newly added facilities.

The refurbished airport allows the simultaneous take-off and landing of several planes in a safer environment. Provisions have also been made to accommodate future expansion of the airport, which now becomes the main hub for national municipal flights.

In addition to its expansion and renovation, the multi-million dollar project also included the enhancement of the airports’ immediate surroundings to facilitate access to and from the airport. This included the construction of an access road between Marion Jones Stadium and St. John’s College; and the paving of the road from Marine Parade near the stadium with its junction with St. Matthew Street. A new parking lot with a security booth along with perimeter fencing, an electronic barrier system, security lighting, and a modern surveillance system was also included as part of the project. The parking lot can also accommodate up to 153 vehicles.

A drainage system of the entire airport including box drains, culverts along the apron with major outlets to the sea and pedestrian walkways and new road markings were also installed. Furthermore, 2,600 feet of seashore protection was installed alongside the runway to complement the mangrove system.

The remodelled airport is now a world class, modern facility which will boost the already steady and phenomenal tourism growth in Belize. An official ceremony to inaugurate the airport will be held on Friday, 11th November, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. The media is cordially invited to attend the ceremony.

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A bronze likeness of Sir Barry was commissioned earlier this year to be erected at the airstrip. It will not be ready for Friday's opening so I suppose there will be another ceremony to unveil it when it is erected at the airstrip.