Abaco airport repairs soar past $2 mil.

Abaco airport repairs soar past $2 mil.
The Leonard M. Thompson Airport in Marsh Harbour, Abaco

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Aviation Director Algernon Cargill yesterday confirmed key repairs to Abaco’s main airport have the government’s focus, pegging the cost of getting the gateway back to a ‘pre-Dorian standard’ at well over $2 million.

Cargill told Eyewitness News that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed major repairs to the airport but maintained work is set to begin soon.

He noted that the replacement of the airport’s air-conditioning units and runway lights should be addressed within the next month.

“We awarded a contract to General Appliance,” Cargill said.

“They ordered the replacement units. The contract is about $500,000 to upgrade and replace the conditioning units at the airport. The units were delayed because of COVID and they should be on the island in two weeks. We had General Appliance on Abaco last week to see if they could repair the air-conditioning units but that was unsuccessful.”

He said: “The runway lights should not affect the public because we have no night flights. The contract was awarded to a company in Grand Bahama and they should be there within the next week repairing the runway lights. It’s not that it’s forgotten. Everything has been impacted by COVID-19.

“Over last two weeks extensive clean-up has been carried out at the airport; upgrading the landscaping and repairing the bathrooms. The idea is to get the airport up to a pre-Dorian standard very quickly.”

The cost of such an undertaking is well over $2 million, Cargill said.

“Damage to the airport is closer to $3 million,” he continued.

“We are having contractors give us estimates in order to have that building repaired also. It’s not as if there is nothing being done. This process takes time and everything came to a halt with COVID-19.”

“The biggest issue is going to be building repairs. That contract is out to tender and the tenders are being evaluated. The air-conditioning and lights I would say within the next months should be resolved,” he said.

“The cosmetic repairs to the building is probably another three to four months. This is very important to the government and the Disaster Reconstruction Authority because the airport is the first point of entry for Bahamians and visitors coming into Marsh Harbour.”

Cargill said: “We definitely want to get this back up and running and it has our focus.”