New airport departure hall nears completion

| 26/04/2018 | 40 Comments

(CNS): Part of the new departure hall at Owen Roberts International Airport is set to open on Tuesday. While construction and redevelopment works continue, officials said a part of the new facility will be open to travellers next week as the full project nears completion. It has been rumoured for some time that the much-anticipated CI$55 million renovation has run over budget but blaming it on change orders which are under negotiation, officials are refusing to say by how much. 

Once completed, whatever the final cost, the project will see the airport expanded to handle as many as 2.5 million passengers per year which, given the soaring overnight tourism figures, is no longer a luxury but a necessity.

The entire project is expected to be finished before Christmas this year but in the meantime more parts of the new development will come on-line. After the opening on 1 May, JetBlue and United Airlines will continue to serve their departing passengers out of their current gates until Monday, 7 May at which time they will also move over into the new area, officials said, but from Tuesday all other airlines will be in the new hall.

The new departures hall, when fully complete, will feature nine gates, duty-free shops, a children’s play area and a food court.

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Comments (40)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    All they really needed to do was check out the Bahamas airport. VERY well done. Their arrivals hall is amazing, plus, the customs AND immigration officials were welcoming and friendly.
    Good job for the Bahamas. I wish ours could be one smidgen as nice.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe we are missing the point. Perhaps fly-over state tourists like the comfort of arriving at a place that looks like a late 80s/early provincial US airport.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I read wwhere people are saying references to 3rd world countries,… I wonder if they realize that Cayman is considered a 3rd world country. There may exist some hi-tech advancements but it is still a 3rd world country.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I want to retract my previous comment on Cayman being a 3rd world country,because of it’s being a UK territory it is not even considered a country. There is no way it can come even close to mimicking other larger countries airports such as Hong Kong,JFK or even Heathrow simply because there is no volume to justify it to that level. Improvements to stream-line and upgrade it’s efficiency is truly needed but as to modern cosmetics the money is better spent on more needed life sustaining uplifts for its citizens. Visitors don’t come because of a spiffy airport.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    The early 1990s called. They want their airport designs back.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This airport should have stayed the way it was and made only for private planes. We should understand that the middle of the island is the best place to build a brand new 2 story airport. The land was the cheapest in the country and could have made an environmental statemet . It would have been away from large densely populated areas. We would have a backup airport.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to your “new” airport. Looks like 1995.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    When will they be moving the staff parking to a more suitable location so that the parking across from arrivals can be used for the general public?

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Who did the design work and selection of finishes? The airport looks dated, bland and does not look like any of the new modern airport. They still have these huge formica covered desks with tile on the floor that looks like the kind we used to bring in in bulk in the seventies..The ceilings are low and it feels, cold, dank and unappealing..

    I’m sorry for all the criticism but why spend all this money to have something that looks like it needs to be renovated before it even opens..

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one visits airports for the ambience. I just want powerful a/c, comfortable seats, enough immigration and security officers, some decent food and drink and free wifi. Also, employees who speak English. I don’t care how beautiful it is, if it lacks any of these things it will suck. If it does have these things my experience will probably be pleasant. That’s about all you can ask flying commercial.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, but we are all assuming there will be intermittent a/c, uncomfortable seats, unpredictable but useless inadequate immigration staffing, rude security officers, awful 1980’s over-priced food and drink and poor wifi. So yes, it is a big upgrade, but a bit of decent ambience will make it less bad.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    How about we embrace the Newly designed airport rather than bashing everything for once?! I mean nothing can please you morons! It’s a major upgrade to the garbage we had previously! Stop being so dam naive for once in your lives. ?. Good job CIAA as well as McAlpine Construction.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is a major upgrade to what there was previously. The airport has gone from very awful and seriously outdated to awful and outdated. In due course it will return to its former status.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It is a requirement of the Cayman Islands Building Code that all buildings be awful and outdated at the time of construction.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I was shocked and disappointed when I had my first experience traveling through both departure and arrival areas. The latter being the worst! The finish is very poor and the ceilings low and not what is common in modern, contemporary airports. Even Norman Manley Airport did a far better job with their new airport (oops sorry for those who will be offended by the comparison to what’s commonly referred here as a Third World country). It’s as if you are in an office building but not of the modern construction, however. The small space dedicated for paying duties is another disappointment. Also the distant to the male rest room in the baggage area and I couldn’t find any on the outside. I was so pleased when this project got of the ground and was looking forward to a world-class airport as I have seen elsewhere, including Hong Kong (weren’t you guys who travelled on the taxpayer dime recently to HK impressed and with the efficiency of immigration and customs? Bahamas is also very impressive. And what’s up with the marble countertops? I heard many complaints from visitors and agents had to fast-track certain customers to avoid missing the their flights as the lines were worse than MIA. Sorry when the rainy months begin and travelers find that they have to walk from their planes to the lounge, which is 19th century.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Change order will always get you if you are not careful. They may under bid but they know how to get the money in the end.. LOL

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    • Anonymous says:

      They? Who is the they you refer to?

      Clearly another ignorant person who thinks they know something about contracting and making statements with NO absolutely no knowledge of the details.

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      • Anonymous says:

        It’s pretty standard to negotiate a price for a change order before commiting to it. Otherwise you tend to get surprises.

  12. StopTheCrime says:

    Longer runway needed to accommodate 747s and A380s.

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    • Anonymous says:

      This is just stupid. Have you been on these aircraft? Have you seen how other airports have to prepare to load these planes in time to meet their turnover schedule? Runway is far from the problem for the airport. It will be impossible to prep planes of these sizes in Cayman, it’s hard enough with the 777

  13. Yellowman says:

    WTF does this little rock need jets ways for in all the non rain island!….Alot of real countries dont bother waste the people money on such crap…get over it mr.Entitled!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    they should done something similar to Kingston airport!!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    It looks so…Caymanian! So much blue, so much natural light! Praise the visionaries that designed this oasis from commerical air travel!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    So when will duty free be available?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    Is the designer from a 3rd world country? Has the designer travelled to other places to see other new high tech airports?
    It looks 3rd world to me… I feel embarrassed.
    Only my opinion and you know what they saw about opinions and a$$holes.. Everybody has one.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I could have come up with a nicer floor design!

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  19. Proud Caymanian says:

    So we have an over run on cost and absolutely no chance of having jetways. Not now or raven in the future. No provisions were made for or even considered for them to have them put in. Just ask the powers that be to say what the roof of the first floor is made of and if it can be used in the future if the funds become available that jetways could be purchased.

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    • I was in Bermuda last week. The new Canadian airport there is coming along nicely with jetways. CIG should have gone with the Canadian Airport Proposal, saved themselves a huge amount of debt, and Caymanians would have been trained in Canada to run the airport as Bermudians are being trained now.

      A cryin shame.

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      • Anonymous says:

        And now every Canadian trained Bermudian is in therapy to undo all the annoying Canadian identify crisis micro aggressions. The entire airport is no “doot” put together with Robertson screws….the pinnacle of Canadian innovation.

    • Anonymous says:

      Jetways are not needed. Recently returned from a trip to Hawaii and their airport does not have Jetways either. In fact, the entire airport is set up with an open air concept and is not totally enclosed, this includes security check lines, luggage collection and departure lounge.

      Judging by the amount of people I saw passing through this airport, I don’t believe that not having any Jetways would prevent them from returning to Hawaii. In fact, whilst standing in the security check line (which by the way was incredibly long as 5 flights left around the same time and they only have two security lines), I heard several people commenting that the “outdoor” airport was a cool concept and definitely added to their experience as they found it quite unique.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Presume you are referring to Kona Airport? Indeed we flew there last year and had similar thoughts, it was very pleasant with a constant breeze blowing through. However it wouldn’t work here year round with rainy season. God knows what they do in Kona when its raining. They also have much more traffic than ORIA, and its old. But guess what, they’re about to add a second floor and jetways lol. However what has now been built at ORIA seems to be a half-assed attempt at a modern airport. Time will tell so best to wait and see what happens once its all finished. I won’t hold my breath.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize that Jetways are not air-conditioned right? Can you imagine standing in line for 10-15 minutes in a Jetway which has been sitting in the Cayman heat all day while trying to board a plane? No thanks!

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  20. See it like it is says:

    It will certainly be a miraculous transformation if the completed new facility can handle an average of 208,000 passengers a month, especially allowing for the increased traffic in peak season Dec- Mar.

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