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#527745 - 12/16/17 05:54 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,669
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

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


#527831 - 12/20/17 06:13 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,669
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

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


#527842 - 12/20/17 02:52 PM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 349
Noelle Offline
.
Noelle  Offline
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.

#527847 - 12/21/17 04:14 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 992
Cybercayecaulker.com Offline
Cybercayecaulker.com  Offline
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!

Last edited by Cybercayecaulker.com; 12/21/17 04:22 AM.
#528127 - 01/06/18 05:37 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 56,669
Marty Offline
Marty  Offline

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


#528157 - 01/07/18 07:58 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Marty]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 349
Noelle Offline
.
Noelle  Offline
They started loading and dumping gravel yesterday at about 3 AM

#528476 - 01/23/18 07:37 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 23
kma292602 Offline
.
kma292602  Offline
Any further progress on this?

#528479 - 01/23/18 11:23 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: kma292602]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 349
Noelle Offline
.
Noelle  Offline
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.

#528500 - 01/24/18 09:10 AM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: Hon]  
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 23
kma292602 Offline
.
kma292602  Offline
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?

#528510 - 01/24/18 06:40 PM Re: Suspension of flights to Caye Caulker [Re: kma292602]  
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 349
Noelle Offline
.
Noelle  Offline
I have no clue

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