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Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker

Posted By: Hon

Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/12/17 10:06 PM

https://www.tropicair.com/suspension-of-flights-to-caye-caulker/

Tropic Air and Maya Island suspend Caye Caulker Flights

Press Release – Tropic Air Ltd./Maya Island Air – September 12, 2017 – Tropic Air and Maya Island Air hereby inform the public of the suspension of all scheduled flights to the island of Caye Caulker effective October 1, 2017.

The present state of the runway at the island’s airstrip exhibits severe deterioration. As a result, this precautionary measure is necessary to avoid safety and operational challenges beyond acceptable margins for public flight service.

This information has been shared with the Belize Airports Authority and Caye Caulker’s Village Council accompanied by a request for urgent renovation of the runway in order to meet the island’s approaching tourism high season.

Air service will resume to Caye Caulker immediately after completion of necessary renovation works to rehabilitate the island’s airstrip.

Travelers with itineraries, reservations or tickets to Caye Caulker should contact their respective carrier for information regarding the status of the journey and available alternatives to reach this popular island destination.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/13/17 10:58 AM

Tropic Air and Maya Growl, GOB Responds

Today, Tropic Air and Maya Airlines put out a very rare joint press release saying they were suspending all scheduled flights to Caye Caulker effective October 1, 2017.

They say that this is following up on request for urgent renovation of the runway to meet the island's approaching tourism high season.

Service will resume after repairs are made.

Well, by news time the Belize Airports Authority fired off a press release saying help is on the way. The Release says that it is in the final stages of securing funding form the Social Security Board to begin reconstruction of the runway.

The project will cost over 7 million dollars and has been in the design state since 2016. Bid are being evaluated and that should be finished by the end of this week.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/13/17 11:34 AM

Belize Airports Authority to Secure Funding for the Reconstruction of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport

The Belize Airports Authority (BAA) is pleased to announce that it is in the final stages of securing the necessary funding from the Social Security Board (SSB) to begin the reconstruction of the runway at the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport.

In 2016, the Belize Airports Authority engaged consultants to conduct feasibility studies for the repairs of the municipal airport in Caye Caulker. Based on the results of the study, the BAA subsequently took the decision to reconstruct the facility in line with the long-term vision of the Authority. Hence, a comprehensive design was commissioned.

The design is now complete and contractors have submitted bids for the construction works. The rigorous bid evaluation process is ongoing and expected to be completed on or before September 15, 2017.

The scope of works for the renovation of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport will entail the reconstruction of the runway which will be elevated by approximately 0.7m over the existing one and widened from 12w to 18m. The surface will be paved with hot-mix asphalt. Other works will include the reconstruction and expansion of the apron with provisions for several hangers; marking of the runway and apron; construction of proper drainage of the facility; construction of a shore protection system; the installation of runway lights among other security and safety features and other amenities.

The BAA has been working with air operators and other stakeholders, inclusive of the Belize Department of Civil Aviation and the DOE, which recently granted environmental clearance for the project, to sensitize all the concerned about the scope of the project.

In addition, meetings with the Caye Caulker Village Council and the local BTIA are being coordinated.

Funding with SSB is being negotiated and update on approval is envisioned to happen by the end of this month. September, 2017.

The project is estimated to cost just over BZ$7 million and is expected to begin in October. It will take approximately 8 months to complete.

Under the BM Act Chapter 238 of the Laws of the BAA is empowered to prescribe and regulate traffic and conditions as well as all essential services and facilities necessary for the efficient operation of all airports in Belize, including international and municipal airports.

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/14/17 12:17 PM

Maya, Tropic Adamant over Caye Caulker Flight Suspension; Repairs Will Take Months

Both local airlines, Maya and Tropic Air, have announced the suspension of flights to Caye Caulker beginning this October.  The airstrip at La Isla Carinosa is in terrible state with potholes and ridges which make it dangerous to maneuver the landing of aircrafts. It is projected that it will take eight months to complete repair works which means that the tourism destination will not be accessible by air for months. So will this impact the island? News Five’s Isani Cayetano finds out.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The utter state of disrepair of the asphalt runway at the Caye Caulker Airstrip has forced both Maya Island Air and its competitor, Tropic Air, to discontinue flights to that destination as of the end of September.  The landing strip at the southern end of the island is in deplorable condition and presents a hazard for aircrafts coming into and leaving the aerodrome.

On the Phone: John Greif III, President, Tropic Air

“There are only two real problems with the runway itself, but they’re big ones.  The ground that the airport was built on sinks and so the runway has undulations in it.  So the pilots already have to land at a certain place and avoid this and stop before that, to keep from making a rollercoaster ride out of the takeoff or the landing.  That was manageable, but what has simply become unmanageable is that about every ten or fifteen years these asphalt runways have got to be resurfaced and the time is up for Caye Caulker, so there are potholes and ridges and essentially obstacles in the way.  So the pilot can’t dodge both, he can’t dodge the ups and the downs and the potholes and the deterioration in the runway.”

Those difficulties have prompted a suspension in air traffic to and from the island pending the repair and upgrade of the landing strip.  Orlando Magana is with the Belize Airports Authority.  That body is tasked with overseeing the upkeep of those facilities.

Orlando Magaña, Administrative Manager, BAA

“The runway is in a really bad state, that Tropic and Maya have issued a press release [stating] that they will stop operations commencing October first.  But even prior to them issuing this press release we have been in negotiations with the Belize Social Security Board to acquire financing to repair and renovate and uplift because of the Caye Caulker aerodrome, I believe, is the third most trafficked aerodrome in the country.”

That’s on account of the tourism industry.  A majority of flights heading to and leaving from the island are indeed booked by visitors to the country.  Despite consultations with the relevant government agencies, both carriers have decided that they will no longer risk a problematic landing.

On the Phone: John Greif III

“We have been in consultation with the Department of Civil Aviation and the Belize Airports Authority and they knew that we were closing, so I think they had sped up their plans to do some renovation there.  But the industry just couldn’t wait any longer, we had to put a cap on our operations there for safety reasons.”

Isani Cayetano

“Now the proposed project will take a maximum of eight months before it completes.  What happens in the interim, in terms of you guys losing money from the suspension of flights to the island?”

On the Phone: John Greif III

“Well, the bigger problem is what happens to the commuters and to the tourists that need to go there.  Caye Caulker is well served by both from the municipal for the commuters but I don’t think it’s that very well served or not served at all from Goldson for the tourists.  So that’s something that really has us at Tropic perplexed about what alternative service do we offer people that have already bought tickets on the airline.”

Realizing that the inconvenience will directly affect the tourism industry, the Belize Airports Authority is already looking at ways in which it can expedite the renovation project by reducing its timeline.

Orlando Magana

“Tourism is increasing every year so we need to have these facilities up to standards, up to international standards.  So based on those considerations it’s being a full investment of about seven million [dollars] is being proposed to uplift and to renovate the aerodrome at Caye Caulker.”

Isani Cayetano

“Talk to us about the timeline and the scope of work and priorities that fall under that particular timeline to get this runway up and running again.”

Orlando Magaña

“Well as soon as the loan gets approval from social security, works will commence immediately and the proposed time limit for everything is approximately eight months.  The runway being the one that needs the most attention, will be dealt with first.  So the contractor, whoever is contracted to do the works will, we will negotiate with the contractor to see how best we can do the runway first in as least down time as possible.”

With progress comes problems.  The improvement of the airfield on Caye Caulker is much needed, but for the duration of the project residents, those who either commute daily by domestic flights or those in the travel business, are the ones who will be inconvenienced by the suspension.

On the Phone: John Greif III

“As far as affecting our profitability, it really doesn’t because Caye Caulker, in the airline business, is what we call a flag stop so when there are people there we drop off and pick up and when there aren’t we don’t.  So it really, if we don’t have people to pick up in Caye Caulker we just backfill the flight from San Pedro or Municipal.  So the economic impact on the airline is minimal, but the economic impact on the island would be substantial, I would think.”

Channel 5


Posted By: DeeJay

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/15/17 02:52 PM

Do they fly to Caye Chapel next door?
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/17/17 04:28 AM

Caye Chapel is not a routine stop. I think you would have to charter. And at any rate the water taxis have stopped having on demand stopping there so you'd have to find your own way over from chapel to caulker.
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/17/17 12:26 PM

Hotels and business on the caye should petition BTB and GST to suspend both taxes to help overcome the hardships created by GOB neglect
Posted By: DeeJay

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 09/22/17 12:48 PM

If new airstrip is going in, maybe they can run power to the South End while that is under construction
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/08/17 12:08 PM


Belize Airport Authority confirms work on Caye Caulker Airstrip to start soon

The Belize Airport Authority (BAA) has confirmed to The San Pedro Sun that pre-construction work on the Caye Caulker Airstrip should be starting in the coming week. On Tuesday, September 12th, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air jointly informed the public that all flights to Caye Caulker would be suspended starting Sunday, October 1st, due to inadequate infrastructure. BAA quickly responded on the same day, claiming that funding was being allocated to conduct the necessary renovations to the airstrip.

Recent rumors indicated that the loan application being filed by BAA had fallen through, and that work to rehabilitate the Caye Caulker airstrip was at a standstill. However, BAA’s Administrative Manager Orlando Magaña has dispelled those rumors, further clarifying the situation. “The loan for the renovation of the airstrip is being processed and will be discussed at our General Meeting in mid-October. By Friday, October 6th, work on the airstrip should commence in preparation of the big renovation,” said Magaña.

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/08/17 08:26 PM

That's great that they are confirming info to the San Pedro Sun! They keep scheduling and cancelling meetings to actually speak to people on Caye Caulker. Apparently the lack of planes coming here is a problem for them (they are too important to take water taxis) so they are chartering a plane to come speak to us about the plane situation. Maybe.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/19/17 07:20 PM

The Caye Caulker Municipal Airstrip has been closed for repairs. The new investment will see a remarkable improvement with an elevated, longer and HMA-surfaced runway complete with international standards markings. The renovated Caye Caulker Municipal Airport will be a state of the art facility, which will facilitate the transportation of tourists and Belizeans in a safe and pleasant environment.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/19/17 07:49 PM

Marty, are these your thoughts or are you quoting someone?
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/20/17 11:08 AM

Hi Noelle, that is from the Belize Airports Authority
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/20/17 11:10 AM

Airlines Await Paving Of Caye Caulker Runway

And while Saldivar says Mena and the UDP will get over their social media squabble, the 3 dents on the Caye Caulker airstrip won't can't be glossed over so easily. As we told you, Tropic Air and Maya Island took a joint position to postpone all scheduled flights to Caye Caulker on October 1st. to try and force the Civil Aviation Department to act.

Well the $7 million dollar runway renovation project should start this week.

But while that is about to get underway, there are reports that the road leading to the municipal airstrip could be having some sinking problems. While we have seen water pooling on some parts of the road, today President of Tropic Air John Greif says the runway at the Municipal is in perfect shape. We also got a comment from Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia Jr. about the Caye Caulker runway project.

John Greif, President - Tropic Air
"Well I am based in San Pedro, but we get reports from our pilots and I haven't had any direct reports on anything happening that would affect safety of flight. What we have to remember is this was all swamp, so the engineers said we need to have it settled. It settled for a long time, but even as we are seeing in Caye Caulker, you can't predict Mother Nature. So if there is sinking, I am sure it's minimal and I am sure it's going to be addressed by the government. But I personally have no knowledge of it."

Reporter
"Sir, just to confirm, flights have been postponed to Caye Caulker since October 1st right?"

John Greif, President - Tropic Air
"There you have sinking and undulations on the run way and you also have deterioration of the chip and seal system that they used. So its two things in one, but as far as I know, that's being addressed by the government as well."

Courtney Weatherburne, reporter
"That situation in Caye Caulker is not happening here? That's not the report you're getting?"

John Greif, President - Tropic Air
"That's correct, I am not getting that report."

Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism
"Caye Caulker Airstrip, anything that we do as I mentioned, we want to do it well and as perfect as possible. Today I must assure you that we have advanced monies to the contractor Mr. Hernandez for that airstrip to commence and as early as tomorrow you will see material and equipment moving to Caye Caulker to give commencement to this airstrip which will be wider, higher and we have to redo all over again. The foundation has to be completely redone and hence the reason it would be an expensive airstrip again. Again, for the safety of commuters and tourists we have decide to hot mix it. Hot mixing is much more expensive than chip and seal, but nonetheless we are talking about the future, the safety of passengers and a perfect job."

Other plans for the Caye Caulker airstrip include the construction of a terminal and fencing. Again, Imer Hernandez was awarded the contract for this project and he was also awarded the contract for the renovation of the Municipal airstrip in November 2016.

Channel 7


The Government’s Choice: Imer Hernandez Paid 7 Mil for Hot Mixed Caye Caulker Airstrip

Another multi-million dollar contract has been granted to the government’s choice contractor, Imer Hernandez, the nephew of the former Deputy Prime Minister Gapi Vega. As recent as last week, Hernandez was granted the controversial eight-million-dollar contract for the one mile stretch of Faber’s Road, which Prime Minister Dean Barrow staunchly defended on Wednesday. Minister of Tourism Manuel Heredia confirmed to News Five today that Hernandez’s company was also awarded a seven-million-dollar contract to build a new Caye Caulker airstrip. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation through the Belize Airports Authority negotiated with the Social Security Board to acquire financing to renovate and uplift the Caye Caulker airstrip. It is the third most trafficked aerodrome in the country, and on October first, flights were suspended to that island because of the deplorable condition of the strip. Heredia explains the scope of works.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Aviation

“Almost from a few months after it was resurfaced, it has about three dents which is unsafe for aircrafts; nonetheless, they continued using that airstrip until it came to a point where they said they can no longer be taking chances with that. Myself and my board, being responsible people also said that yes, let’s close it and in the meantime, we were working to securing funding and making the plans so that we can be able that as soon as they close we can more into it. Today I must assure you that we have advanced monies to the contractor Mister Hernandez for that airstrip to commence and as early as tomorrow you will see material and equipment moving to Caye Caulker to give commencement to this airstrip which will be wider, higher and we have to redo all over again; the foundation has to be completely redone and hence the reason it will be an expensive airstrip. Again, for the safety of commuters and tourist, we have decided to hot mix it also. Hot mixing is much more expensive than chip and seal.”

Channel 5

Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/20/17 12:51 PM

It will sink again. None of these people qualified to pour my driveway, let alone highways, roads and landing strips. All UDP ras, we pay for it. One can only assume Min Heredia is benefiting from this scam as well as at the Municipal airstrip, where that road is now sinking. Lone dumb ras.
Posted By: DeeJay

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/23/17 12:50 PM

Are the planning to extend electricity to the south before airstrip construction?
Posted By: Diane Campbell

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/23/17 02:25 PM

The lack of airstrip is a health issue - no emergency evacuations by air possible for people in crisis.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/23/17 06:49 PM

So true hot mix on top of bad substrate will just continue to sink. Has to be dug uo, a good solid base installed and compacted then tar and chip. The last job failed and so will this and the ministers pockets get more! Belizeans get poorer!
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/27/17 10:50 AM

Briceno Tells SSB Don’t Lend BAA 7M For Caye Caulker Airstrip

For weeks now, we've been reporting on the problems with the Caye Caulker airstrip. Both Tropic Air and Maya Island Air have suspended flights to that destination because of the condition of the runway. They say the Belize Airports Authority has to fix it urgently - and every day they don't tourists are inconvenienced and the airlines lose money. Well, the BAA has been trying to source funding for this multi-million dollar venture, but without much success. Today the leader of the opposition pounced on a confidential report that the opposition got its hands on. It says that the amount of funding for the runway refurbishment that the BAA is trying to get from Social Security is 7 million dollars. Opposition leader John Briceno noted with pleasure that the Prime Minster said in the House of Representatives on Friday that it was four million dollars:...

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Today I got a copy of a confidential memorandum from the investment services unit of the Social Security Board and this report is pointing out that the Belize Airport Authority was in deed applying for 7 million dollars. Now, the Prime Minister was either being completely dishonest to me and the Belizean people when he said it was not 7 million but 4 million, or he is being incompetent because he does not know what is happening in his government."

"The point we are making is that we are finding out that the Belize Airport Authority has already borrowed 16.5 million dollars. They want to borrow another 7 million dollars. That would make it 23.5 million dollars. And according to this report, this very same report I am talking about, this report is saying that the BAA (Belize Airport Authority) is going to have major problems in making their loan payments."

"They are pointing out that the BAA revenues, the projections they are making they are too optimistic. The investment services unit made an analysis of the revenues collected from 2011 to 2017 and they found out that in average of every dollar they claim that they are going to collect, they only collect 75 cents."

"In effect, the investment services unit is telling the Social Security management and board that it is a bad loan. It is a bad investment that they should make."

"So I am putting on record, I am saying that the Belize Social Security Board should not lend them. Not 7 million, not 4 million. They should not give them any more money because then they are going to be over exposed."

"I want all the members of the Belize Social Security Board to know that my party will hold them personally accountable and responsible for all the questionable loans that they have given, including this one should they approve it."

"And secondly, just by looking at what the investment services unit, the recommendations that they have made that they should reject the 7 million dollar loan. Not a 4 million dollar loan, not another dollar should be loan to the Belize Airport Authority."

As we understand it, the Social Security Investment Committee has rejected the loan application. Our sources say that the BAA is now trying to trim it down and re-package it for three or four million dollars. They will then ask Social Security to reconsider it.

But, opposition leader Briceno took a look through his Aviator glasses and said that they only need one or two million dollars:...

Hon. John Briceno, Leader of the Oposition
"We don't need 7 million. We don't need 4 million to fix the runway. But what is happening is that they are taking advantage of fixing the runway for the hustle to happen. So now they are expanding and put all kinds of bells and whistles when what we really need to address right now is the runway and if this government would stop thinking about the hustling, I am sure that we could find that million or 2 million to be able to address that issue."

"If they can spend almost one hundred million dollars through BIL and they could flip and say okay 3 million dollars lose okay we have to go and find the money to fix it. Why is it that they can't fix the Caye Caulker Airstrip that is an integral part of our tourism industry?"

Reports say that the local airlines lose revenue of over 200 thousand dollars monthly while the Caye Caulker Airstrip is closed.

Channel 7

Posted By: SailingWaldo

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 10/28/17 09:23 PM

And I thought we had crooked government in California......!
At least some day we'll have a high speed train to nowhere.
Posted By: Onahi

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 11/09/17 05:42 PM

omg coming down on 26th start construction....... were do we catch ferry ride? info be much appreciated
Posted By: Its just us

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 11/14/17 04:07 PM

http://www.belizewatertaxi.com/schedule
http://www.oceanferrybelize.com/
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 11/15/17 02:21 PM

Any taxi driver can take you. If you are flying down, the fixed taxi rate is BZ$50 from the international to the city. Just tell them to bring you to the water taxi company that has the next boat leaving.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 11/18/17 11:59 AM

John Briceño calls Airport Project a "Hustle"

It appears the Caye Caulker Airstrip project will go ahead with Social Security Board funding, albeit reduced. The Belize Airports Authority is said to be receiving between three-point-five and four million dollars to re-do the runway with hot mix. The original seven-million dollar project, awarded by tendering to Imer Hernandez Development Company Limited, also called for a fence and other amenities. Either way, Opposition Leader John Briceño said it is what it is – U.D.P. favoritism and cronyism for which they must eventually answer.

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“It just brings home the point that we have been making all along: that it is about a hustle, that the U.D.P. right now are trying to get all sorts of projects off the ground, that by handing over money to these political [operatives], and I want to challenge the Prime Minister if he thinks that Imer Hernandez is a U.D.P. or not, that these people are getting monies and we suspect and we believe that they are then going to be channeling some of these monies into the U.D.P. coffers. They think that with money they can buy the Belizean people once again; but I think that the Belizean people’s eyes are open, that they are seeing these people for what they are – that they are a bunch of corrupt people and some of them have been taking acts that can be deemed as criminal against the Belizean people, so that no amount of money is going to save them from the wrath of the Belizean people.”

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/12/17 11:32 AM

Airport Progress:
They have done several test holes and placed survey markets all the way down both sides with measurements written on them. No activity since they finished the surveying a week ago. CCBTIA and National BTIA has both requested update and you can imagine no update. "No hurry, no worry".

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/12/17 12:49 PM

Im not sure GOB think the airport is important or needed and would not be surprised if they delay repairs as long as possible. If they really intended to fix, it would have been done already for the season. And it ain't.
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/12/17 04:54 PM

Yep
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/13/17 11:53 AM

Caye Caulker Airstrip Coming When?

Earlier on in the news, we told you about the new international airport planned for northern Ambergris Caye in the Basil Jones area.

How about the repairs to the Caye Caulker airstrip which still needs a lot of work and attention?

Now in terms of cost, the initial $ 7 million dollars for renovations had to be downsized to $3.5 million for Social Security to consider the loan. Area Rep and the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Manuel Heredia gave us an update today:

Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation
"If I am not mistaken, the previous weeks they were taking the levels and what not - the technical part of it I am sure that yesterday the physical part of transporting materials to Caye Caulker started and it is our hope even though the contract calls for 8 months, we are hoping that by Easter we would be able to open the airstrip. This airstrip when completed is supposed to be hot mix airstrip juts like the municipal one with running lights on that and a little wider than what it is right now, but it supposed to be a state of the art airstrip. We are hoping at this point that Caye Caulker [airstrip] will be about 3.5 million dollars investment."

Reporter
"It was 7 million dollars and you guys had to break it down to 3 right?"

Hon. Manuel Heredia
"It was 7 million and then we downsized it. Airlines were saying look we want our own terminal. We wanted to do our own terminal and lease it to them. They said it is better that they do it and then the fencing because there is a situation whereby there is no outlet for residents on the south part of that airstrip, then we have to wait a little longer to see how we can resolve that."

Reporter
"SSB has approved 3.5 million for the Caye Caulker airstrip."

Works should be completed by Easter next year.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/15/17 11:51 AM

SSB Didn’t Approve A Loan For Caye Caulker Airstrip

The Social Security Board has not approved a loan for the urgent repair of the Caye Caulker Airstrip. Chairman Douglas Singh today confirmed that a loan for a little more than 3 million dollars was recommended by the Investment Committee, but was declined by the Board of Directors.

He says the board issued a carefully worded response suggesting that - if certain conditions are met - Belize Airports Authority could re-submit the application - for a third time.

The loan application started at 7 million dollars - which was rejected by the Investment Committee. The project has now been pared down to half that and the relevant Minister and Are Rep says he hopes work can finish by Easter.

Channel 7

Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/15/17 12:58 PM

The Minister had to know SS would not approve the loan, if I was told the same by SS a few weeks ago.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/16/17 11:54 AM

Caye Caulker Airstrip, Somehow, It’ll Happen

But they're not lining up like that in Caye Caulker - and that's because that airstrip is closed for urgent repairs. But what money are they going to use to repair it? Last night we told you that the Social Security Board rejected a Belize Airports Authority loan application for the second time. That's after they trimmed down the requested amount from 7 million to 3.5 million. Well, today the Minister of Tourism told the media that they're going to find the funding one way or the other:...

Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism
"My final word is it will be a 3.5 million either Social Security or somebody else we have 2 backup plan should in case. It will be a 3.5 million dollars hot mix airport wide and lights also on the runway."

Channel 7


B.A.A. waits for funding for Caye Caulker airstrip; S.S.B. skeptical

The Caye Caulker Airstrip project, an initiative that was, to an extent, prompted by Tropic and Maya Island Air’s decision to suspend flights to the island because of a faulty runway, is in limbo tonight.  That’s because the Belize Airports Authority was banking on a loan facility from the Social Security Board to conduct much needed repairs on the aerodrome.  That loan application has pretty much fallen through, as SSB’s Board of Directors rejected a request for three and a half million dollars to undertake the project.  While it may not be completely off the table, there are two strict conditions that BAA must meet in order to be granted approval.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano has that story.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Since local carriers suspended flights to Caye Caulker at the beginning of October, much has been said about the proposed aerodrome to be constructed on the island.  In fact, the People’s United Party has been rather vocal in suggesting that the project may very well be just another hustle for government cronies.  Criticism notwithstanding, the Belize Airports Authority is tonight in a pickle since the Social Security Board, its primary funding agency, has essentially turned down a loan application for three and a half million dollars.  The fate of the initiative now hangs in the balance.

Nicholas Ruiz, General Manager, Belize Airports Authority

“Currently the discussions with SSB are still ongoing.  They have a meeting on Thursday coming, they’re still onboard and is known, there was correspondence sent to that we needed to respond to certain conditions that they’ve put and we have done so for the record.  So we just await their decision, a final decision on our application for Caye Caulker, to be able to say that we have the financing from SSB to be able to complete the works.”

That, however, depends on whether a revised application will be approved by the statutory body in the days ahead.  According to Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, the project will be completed one way or another.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation

“My final word is [that] it will be at three point five million [dollars].  Either social security or somebody else will [finance it].  We have a backup plan, two backup plans should in case.”

Reporter

“Should in case SSB does not approve.”

Manuel Heredia Jr.

“Yeah.  It will be a three point five million dollar hot-mixed airport, wider and lights also on the runway.”

 

While government and BAA are prepared to forge ahead with the plan to reconstruct an aerodrome that conforms to International Civil Aviation Organization standards, the scale of the undertaking will be reduced considerably.  The initial projection for the cost of the project was set at seven million Belize dollars.

Nicholas Ruiz

“A lot has been said about that, initially, as I told you, the board had decided that we wanted a seven million dollar project inclusive of a terminal, fencing, elevated runway, widened runway, markings, lighting for nighttime capacity, flight capacity, and that was the ideal project that we wanted.  As I explained to you, the BAA does not have terminal buildings at its aerodromes and that’s something that the board felt that they wanted to pursue.  Our internal cash flow analysis done by a CPA, a certified public accountant and external auditor, confirmed that from our perspective that we could make the payments, hence we submitted that to the SSB.”

That submission, nonetheless, was not greeted with full endorsement by SSB’s Board of Directors, prompting the airports authority to revise its proposal by reducing the scope of the project considerably.

Nicholas Ruiz

“Eventually we submitted, made an application for the five point five million for the runway works, most importantly.  Again, there was a discussion centering on that to the degree that the BAA listened to what the SSB has to say, we discussed it at the board level and the last application that went to the SSB for a very, very solid project still, seeking to be ICAO compliant; still hot-mixed elevated runway, shoreline protection, lighting included, except for the fencing and the terminal.  So we ended up at three point five [million dollars] with the BAA committing some of its funds and we felt that that was a solid application.  As you know, the Investment Committee okayed it and sent it to the board, but the board had itself some conditions that they wanted for us to look at and, like I told you, we have sent that response and so we await their formal and final decision on Thursday.”

Work on the new aerodrome continues to be deferred until the BAA is able to secure funding for the project.  According to General Manager Nick Ruiz, the timeline for completion once funding has been approved will be six to eight months.


Authority wants to get moving to minimize losses

The delay in commencing work on the Caye Caulker airstrip is having an impact on tourism on the island.  As the fifth most trafficked runway in the country, it is safe to say that a significant loss in arrivals is being recorded.  While Ruiz, admits that it may take some time to get the new aerodrome up and running, it is the first time that the problem of the undulating landing strip is being addressed at its core.

Nick Ruiz, General Manager, Belize Airports Authority

“In all of this, it is not lost upon me that the people of Caye Caulker who have been very supportive really, and we’ve talking with them, are inconvenienced.  And not only them, Caye Caulker is our fifth most trafficked aerodromes in terms of landings and so we know it’s key to the development of the tourism and business sector, leisure sector.  And so we want to get this runway back online, operational.  Initially, with our civil engineer’s team of consultants, Anthony Thurton and Associates Ltd., we had been looking at a timeframe of six to eight months.  Because of where we have been with the SSB and the time it has taken, obviously we’re going to try to shorten that as much as possible, while also ensuring the quality of work, of course, so that it’s open as soon as possible.  If we can get it done in a shorter amount of time, rest assure that we will press for that because we know it’s important to the island and everybody that uses or flies into Caye Caulker and out of Caye Caulker.  So I’d have to say that the six to eight months is to play it safe, but of course the commitment is to try to get it done in a lesser amount of time. The BAA has really tried to stay out of the back and forth out there, there’s a lot of speculation about the project and whatnot.  I assure you that the BAA has been very committed to the project; we have a solid team of technical people that have been working on the project.  As I’ve mentioned to you, the last time Caye Caulker was looked at was in 2006 and the fundamental problem of the base and the sub-base was not looked at.  It was just a chip seal coat that was applied.  In 2009, IDB came and said, look chip seal is great but really, international standards are demanding that you graduate to hot mix asphalt surfaces.  And so from 2009 that recommendation had been made but it wasn’t really implemented at Caye Caulker and only recently have you seen that Sir Barry Bowen, as an example, has been, you know, elevated toa hot-mix surface.”

The Board of Directors of the Social Security Board meets next Thursday, however, there is no certainty that a resubmission from the Belize Airports Authority will make it on the agenda for that meeting.

Channel 5

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/20/17 12:13 PM

Caye Caulker airstrip renovations have yet to begin

The work to upgrade the airstrip on the island of Caye Caulker, a very popular tourism destination in Belize, remains in limbo. The island’s airstrip was one of the busiest in the country until the local airlines, Tropic and Maya Island Air, suspended flights on October 1st due to the dangerous condition of the runway. This prompted the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) to attempt to acquire funding through a multi-million dollar loan from the Social Security Board (SSB). However, after the loan was apparently turned down, the fate of the project now hinges on the outcome of a meeting between SSB’s Board of Directors scheduled on Thursday, December 21st. Meanwhile, the tourism sector on La Isla Cariñosa continues to suffer the consequences.

Many hoteliers have reported losses due to reservation cancellations since their customers cannot fly directly to the island from the International Airport in Ladyville, near Belize City. The only option to travel to the island currently is via water taxi, which according to them is not the number one choice of transportation for some visitors to their island. They urged the respective authorities to do something as soon as possible in order to remedy the situation and minimize losses.

According to Ruiz, Caye Caulker is the fifth most trafficked airport in the country and a significant loss in arrivals have been recorded. “We know the airstrip is the key to the development of the tourism, business sector, and leisure sector, and so we want to get this runway back online and operational,” said Ruiz. “We had been looking at a time frame of six to eight months, but because of where we are with the SSB, and the time it has taken, we are going to try to shorten that as much as possible.”

Click here to read the rest of the article in the San Pedro Sun

Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/20/17 08:52 PM

They put up one of those orange plastic temporary fences which has fallen down and his flapping in the wind. No one has been out there for days. The BAA was really mad when they found out Tropic and Maya let people exercise and bike and drive and walk on the airstrip after flight hours because it's they're property, dammit! I'm pretty sure they dug all the "soil testing" holes to discourage that.
Posted By: Cybercayecaulker.com

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 12/21/17 10:14 AM

Social Security wont loan the money that we, the people of Caye Caulker, gave to them, back to the people of Caye Caulker, but they still want their contributions every month, while we are crippled financially by lack of a functioning airstrip. Things that make you go hmm,,,,, Sounds like a nice setup to me... NOT!
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/06/18 11:37 AM

Caye Caulker Airstrip, The Final Deal

And today, based on a question from the leader of the opposition, we also heard details of the stripped down plans for the refurbishing of the Caye Caulker airstrip - which started out at 7 million dollars, but is now down to 3.9 million:..

Hon. Manuel Heredia - Minister of Civil Aviation
"The current contract with the lower bidder for the sum of 3.918 6 hundred and 99 dollars not the 3.5 as mentioned before which include the cost, the core phase for the entire project only this phase exclude the following items, the external security lighting system, runway light system is included in the initial phase. Notably this will greatly enhance air transportation capability to the island, the hot mix asphalt surfacing is limited to a width of 40 feet with the additional 20 feet of shoulders that will not be surfaced. That will just be an additional 10 feet on this side. The security fencing is out and the expansion of the apron will be smaller than previously said. The lifting of the runway will also be limited. The construction of the new terminal building will no longer be there."

The Social Security Board approved the loan for the Belize Airports Authority in mid-December.

Channel 7


It’s $3.9 Million for Caye Caulker Airstrip

The resurfacing of the Caye Caulker airstrip and additional improvements appears to be a done deal. From an initial seven-point-five million contract to Imer Hernandez Development Company Limited, the project will now cost just under four million dollars and be more limited than initially outlined. Responding to a question in the House of Representatives on Friday, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Manuel Heredia Junior explained what’s in and what’s out.

Manuel Heredia Jr., Area Rep., Belize Rural South

“Of the three bidders, the lowest bid was submitted for the sum of seven [million], [five hundred and eighty-seven thousand, five hundred and sixty-nine] dollars, not the seven-point-eight [million], for the construction of the full project, with the understanding that the final work scope would be adjusted as necessary to meet the project budget available for construction. The current contract with the lower bidder is for the sum of [three million, nine hundred and eighteen thousand,] six hundred and ninety-nine dollars, not the three-point five [million] as mentioned before, which include the cost, the core phase for the entire project only, this phase excludes the following items: the external security lighting system, runway light system is included in the initial phase; notably this will greatly enhance air transportation capability to the island. The hot mix asphalt surfacing is limited to a width of forty feet with the additional twenty feet of shoulders; That will not be surfaced; that will just be an additional ten feet on each side. The security fencing is out and the expansion of the apron will be smaller than previously said. The lifting of the runway will also be limited. The construction of the new terminal building will no longer be there.”

Channel 5

Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/07/18 01:58 PM

They started loading and dumping gravel yesterday at about 3 AM
Posted By: kma292602

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/23/18 01:37 PM

Any further progress on this?
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/23/18 05:23 PM

All work has stopped. Apparently the tug that pulls the barge has broken down. I recently heard unofficial info that they are now hoping for a January 2019 open date.
Posted By: kma292602

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/24/18 03:10 PM

Yikes! At what point do you think an "official" announcement will be made...especially in light of the huge impact that this will continue to have on tourism?
Posted By: Noelle

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 01/25/18 12:40 AM

I have no clue
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/04/18 12:09 PM


Caye Caulker residents concerned on the delay of works at the island’s airstrip

The management at the Belize Airport Authority overseeing the rehabilitation of the airport’s runway informed The San Pedro Sun that the project is ongoing and that they expect to complete the works by mid-June of this year. A visit to the closed airstrip revealed that no construction work has been done on the airstrip and its surroundings. A series of deep holes were observed on the surface of the runway, while on its east end, piles of building material had been unloaded. According to the General Manager of BAA, Nicholas Ruiz, the process for the airport’s refurbishment is an ongoing one and that even though people might think that nothing is happening, work is actually being done. “Most of the building material is being barged to the island from the mainland,” said Ruiz. “There is a process and work is taking place.” Ruiz indicated that he and his team will do a site inspection to find out more about the progress of the project.

Caye Caulker residents believe that the project is moving slow and the fact that they are struggling without an airport during the high tourism season is causing a dent to their businesses. A few concerned residents say that this tourism season is less profitable than previous ones since the tourism clientele has changed. They expressed their disappointment with the airstrip’s renovations and many believe that officials have not made it a priority to have the airport up and running as soon as possible. The Chairwoman of the Caye Caulker Village Council Enelda Rosado said that they have been in touch with the BAA and will be making site inspections as well to monitor the progress of the works at the airport. Rosado acknowledges that some tourism stakeholders on the island are struggling with the issue and the situation of not having an airport is affecting everyone in one way or another.

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

Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/04/18 11:29 PM

Caye Caulker Air Strip Construction Feb 28 - March 4

From Brad Flood....

There has been some construction activity on the CC Air Strip Construction project this past week. I took a series of photos on Wednesday and when I went back on Thursday, there had been even more progress.

On Monday, February 26 I rode my bike down the air strip and noticed they had laid dredging pipe and a pumping station out in the bay just off the western end of the air strip.

On Wednesday, February 28, I rode the golf cart down the air strip and these photos are what had occurred between Monday & then.

I spoke to one of the workers today and mentioned I was surprised they were working on Sunday. His comment to me was that they would be working 7-days a week with the hopes to have it completed in four months, which would put completion at the end of June. He did say they would take Easter off.

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Runway to West

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Side of Runway to West

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End of Runway to West

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Loading Area End of Runway to West

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Equipment at Loading Area End of Runway West

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Equipment Area and Dredging Rig West of End of Runway

Here are the videos from Friday, March 2. Quite different than just two day prior!

Caye Caulker Air Strip Construction Friday March 2


Caye Caulker Air Strip Construction East to West


Caye Caulker Air Strip Construction West to East

Here are the videos from today, Sunday, March 4

Caye Caulker Air Strip Construction Sunday March 4






Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/05/18 09:16 PM

From Brad Flood...

Here are 5 photos I took today at the air strip along with explanations of each photo and updates on the project.:

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Photo #1 - Equipment (steamroller) and materials being stockpiled at the Eastern End of the Air Strip (by the Terminal)

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Photo #2 - There is a large, shallow hole that has been dug on the southern shoulder of the Air Strip about 1/4 of the way heading east to West. Not sure what it is for, but it wasn't there yesterday.

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Photo #3 - Moving The Dredging Pipe Looking East - Today, they are moving the long dredging pipe down the Air Strip and will dig another "receiving pit" (big hole) about 75 yards West of where they pumped the sand the past couple days. Once they have moved the pipe and dug the "receiving pit" they will again dredge sand from the bay off the Western end of the Air Strip and pile it up on the Air Strip to be used once the construction begins

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Photo #4 - Moving The Dredging Pipe, Looking West.

There is a section of this dredging pipe that is one solid piece of pipe, about 1.5' - 2' in diameter, that runs about 100 - 125 yards long. They do have some shorter pieces coupled to make it long enough to go from out in the bay to mid-way up the Air Strip. It's quite impressive to see and watch as they maneuver it into place.

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Photo #5 - Well, one of the big backhoes blew out a tread this morning...talk about a major "flat"!!! The construction Supervisor said it would take the better part of today to get it repaired (have to bring parts in from the mainland).

I asked the "Construction Manager" today about when he thought the Air Strip would not be usable for folks from Eden Isle to access their neighborhood via the Air Strip (which is MUCH better, faster, easier than traveling the "road" just North of the Air Strip). He indicated that they will attempt to keep access available as long as possible. They even stopped the work with the one shovels moving the dredging pipe to allow me to get past them and access the Western end of the Air Strip. Good News for Eden Isle residents...if it is true!
Posted By: kma292602

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/13/18 06:32 PM

Any further updates on how this is coming along?
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/23/18 11:36 AM

On-going works at the Caye Caulker Airstrip Reconstruction Project are as follows:

- Installation of geogrid for ground stabilization
- Filing with approve material/subbase
- Field testing (compaction)

Belize Airports Authority

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Posted By: cheapairlines

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 03/27/18 08:58 AM

Wonderful pictures and useful information.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 04/13/18 12:37 PM

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CAYE CAULKER MUNICIPAL AIRSTRIP PROJECT MOVING BRISKLY FORWARD

The Belize Airports Authority (BAA), the local body responsible for the security, maintenance and expansion of municipal and international airports in Belize, is pleased to report that the renovation of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport has picked up momentum and is moving briskly to meet its completion date by mid-June of this year.

Substantial work has already been done to the airstrip with the focus being the expansion of the runway’s shoulders and the laying of thousands of yards of geogrid to provide greater earth

stability. Over 10,000 cubic yards of filling in material has also been amassed in the area. Greater work is expected in the coming weeks, speeding up the project even further. Following work on the airstrip shoulders will be the actual preparation of the runway for the installation of hot mix.

“Construction is presently underway on our airport and we are certainly looking forward to its completion. It is much needed and will be beneficial for everyone especially for emergency

purposes and will also help to boost up our tourism industry,” said Enelda Rosado, Chairlady of the Caye Caye Village Council, who herself visited the project recently with representatives of the BAA.

“This project is extremely important because Caye Caulker is the second most visited destination in the country by international tourists. Caye Caulker has tremendous tourism potential and there is great development occurring on the island already. Therefore, this new state of the art municipal airport will be able to accommodate our tourists on time, in a safe and beautiful environment,” said Hon. Manuel Heredia, Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation and Area Representative for Caye Caulker.

The project is being partially financed by the BAA through a loan and will result in a state of the art municipal airport for the village of Caye Caulker.

Other works will include the enhancement, marking and installation of runway lights to allow for airplane landings at night as well as other security and safety features.

In 2016, the Belize Airports Authority engaged consultants to conduct feasibility studies for the repairs of the municipal airport in Caye Caulker. Based on the results of the study, the BAA

subsequently took the decision to reconstruct the facility in line with the long-term vision of the Authority.

The BAA has been working with air operators and other stakeholders, inclusive of the Belize Department of Civil Aviation and the Department of the Environment, to sensitize all the parties concerned about the scope of the project. In addition, meetings with the Caye Caulker Village Council are held regularly to keep them abreast on the progress of the project.

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Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 04/13/18 01:59 PM

Municipal airstrip is closed to repair faulty work done by the same contractor doing the CC airstrip, relative of UDP Gaspar Vega, whose family are wanted for payment of stolen land. Good luck.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker - 04/17/18 11:28 AM

Caye Caulker Airstrip Renovations Underway

The Caye Caulker airstrip has been closed since late last year, and probably won't re-open until the second half of this year. The Belize Airports Authority today sent out a release saying that the renovation of the has, quote, "picked up momentum and is moving briskly to meet its completion date by mid-June of this year."

We asked the general manager for details:...

Nick Ruiz - GM, BAA
"What precipitated the close down was undulations that were forming on the runway and when it was built in 2005 - 2006, we now know that the base was not fully addressed and so you may have come and done some cosmetic work at the top you could say but it wouldn't address the problem that is really at the bottom of it all. So, this time around in Caye Caulker we have determine to go and fix the problem which is underneath the runway, digging up and filling back up and put good material and put the hot mix that you will see Jules when you go there for the inauguration. The works are moving very briskly. We would want to wrap up by the end of May, but to be sure mid-June is where we see the project coming to an end. It's a very modern, it's wider and at nigh time landing capabilities, markings have been done. Everything that you could say is an improvement, we have put it in place."

Reporter
"We know that the airlines are hemorrhaging earnings, unrealized earnings because they no longer offer that flight."

Nick Ruiz - GM, BAA
"We want to get it back open so that they can conduct business but we have had frank discussions with them and we know that to get this work done we will have to make some sacrifices in terms of revenues, loss and what not."

Caye Caulker is the second most visited destination in Belize.

The project is being partially financed by the BAA through a Social Security loan.

Channel 7

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