The Ministry of Works is inviting bids for the expansion of the Belize City Municipal Airstrip. Work will begin in January on the new expanded facility which will be renamed the Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport.
The Belize Airports Authority has borrowed $9.5 million from the Social Security Board for the project, signing a loan agreement with the SSB on Wednesday, December 5. After this BAA General Manager Kenworth Tillett broke ground for the expansion project at the municipal airstrip. A $5.00 rider fee has been added to the price of tickets on every flight landing or departing from the Municipal to repay the SSB loan.
Belize’s tourism industry has grown tremendously since the airstrip was first built in the 60’s, and the airstrip is now handling 120 flights per day, making it the second busiest airport in the region.
Tillett explained that the project will double the size of the airport, as it will now have brand landing strip, equipped with landing lights to accommodate night flights. The new runaway will be built on 16 acres of land acquired from the Landivar campus of St. John’s College.
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The project also calls for a new approach and exit road to the airport with a proper office building for the Belize Airports Authority, which is presently accommodated in a small wooden bungalow.
The project has been more than 20 years in the planning, but with sea erosion and rising sea levels threatening the existing landing surface, the need for expansion has become urgent.