Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has once again explained Government’s decision to enhance the Douglas Charles Airport even while work is ongoing on the international airport.
This follows an announcement that Government has taken the decision to extend the runway at the Douglas Charles Airport. This extension will occur as construction is currently ongoing on the International Airport Project.
The Prime Minister stated that while many are confused about the concurrent projects, there are practical reasons behind the decision.
“The timeline for the construction of the International Airport is about four years. During that period we expect further expansion in the tourism sector and an increase in visitor arrivals. In other words activity at the Douglas Charles continues. Our partners namely American Airlines have advised us that due to the length and limitation of the runway at Douglas Charles they have experienced difficulty flying in especially when there is bad weather. The fact is it is problematic for large aircrafts to land safely at Douglas Charles when there low cloud cover or any sign of adverse weather conditions. In many instances American Airlines has had to circle the airport several times eventually giving up and returning to Miami,” PM Skerrit explained.
He explained that the concerns and recommendations from the airlines were taken into consideration when coming to this decision.
“So we have listened to the airlines concerns and recommendations and decided it makes economic sense to implement some changes now to maintain existing relationships and attract new airlines into Dominica. These improvements are meant to improve capacity at Douglas Charles, ensure that American Airlines continues to fly into Dominica and ultimately increase visitor arrivals into our country,” he noted.
Prime Minister Skerrit added that the Douglas Charles Airport must be maintained to ensure the safety of all users.
“We cannot afford to suspend economic activity during the three to four years that it takes to build an international airport. The Douglas Charles airport must be maintained to ensure the safety and security of airlines flying into Dominica as well as the comfort of passengers using the facility. I assure you that the project’s projected economic activities far outweigh the cost of the improvements we are undertaking. Work is expected to get on the way within the next month and we will continue over a four month period,” the Prime Minister further stated.
The airport will allow for greater safety in landing during times of heavy rainfall. It will also provide for the possibility of larger aircrafts being able to land at Douglas Charles. This will also strengthen Dominica’s relationship with the airlines which will result in a smoother transfer to the international airport when completed.
Work however, continues on the construction of the international airport.