Airport seeks consultants for private terminal plan

| 15/02/2022 | 82 Comments
Cayman News Service
Owen Roberts International Airport

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Airports Authority is looking for consultants to undertake an outline business case (OBC) to update the master plan for all three of its airports, with a focus on a new general aviation terminal at Owen Roberts International. Having spent around $120 million on the redevelopment of the main airport and airfield in George Town over the last few years, government is now looking at upgrading the terminal for private jets.

According to the Request for Proposals on the Central Procurement Office website, the OBC is the first step in assessing how that can be done.

From the impact of COVID-19 and climate change to the increase in the cost of flying, the future of air travel still remains uncertain. But government is hoping to claw back the country’s lost tourism business over the coming years and to once again surpass the record level of visitors the country was experiencing in 2019 before the pandemic struck, when the new airport was already suffering capacity issues at certain times.

Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan said that a new general aviation facility was not going to be a particularly costly venture but would enhance the tourism product for wealthier guests, which tied in with the PACT policy of quality over quantity.

“While airports always need to be under constant review and more expansion of ORIA will be required in the future, with several elements likely to be outlined in this business case, redeveloping the general terminal is something we can focus on and achieve within the budget for this term,” Bryan told CNS, adding that rebooting tourism would depend on catering to high net worth travellers.

The post-pandemic tourism policy of the PACT Government is to attract high net worth individuals, and according to the Strategic Outline Case from the tourism ministry, which forms the basis for seeking the business case, the general aviation terminal is “old and outdated and is not a good representation of the island from a luxury brand perspective”.

According to the bid documents, the OBC is required to develop a master plan that will provide a framework to guide future decisions about Owen Roberts International Airport, Charles Kirkconnell International Airport and the Little Cayman Airport. It will also advise on the best solution for the general terminal by identifying the ideal location and how to pay for it so the tourism ministry can enhance the high net worth passenger experience and provide adequate parking and storage facilities for private planes.

The plan will “provide the CIAA the context in which to make decisions, address new initiatives, and explore opportunities that will facilitate the long-range development” of the three airports for at least 20 years. It will also provide an analysis of air service traffic growth, the nature and mix of this traffic, airport facility requirements, necessary infrastructure, location of airport services, land appropriation requirements, an updated land use plan, neighbouring land uses, aids to navigation, ground transportation access, environmental issues, and noise and its effect on the community.

“Importantly, the Airports Master Plan will provide a detailed financial management plan for all future capital improvements and program initiatives. Public consultation and outreach will be required, using the best approaches to gather public input and support,” according to the strategic plan supporting the RFP.

At this stage, there is no mention of how much a new general aviation terminal would cost and it will be up to the consultants to figure that out and how it can be funded, whether through a public-private partnership, from the airport’s own revenue or directly from the public purse.

Over the last few years, the cost of the airport project has caused both controversy and concern over the costs and poor project management, given that the total cost of the terminal project alone was at least $20 million over budget and more than a year late.

See the key documents in the CNS Library.

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Category: Business, development, Local News, Transport

Comments (82)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve yet to see cayman win a prestige tourism award. Always see Jamaica, st kits, Barbados, Aruba, Bermuda but never cayman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    16 @ 12 : 18 pm – Yes! I’m sure the one I referenced was NOT Dart. I’m aware of Dart’s proposal of a GA Terminal near the North Sound. I speak not of that!

    Your reply? Don’t bother!

  3. Forest says:

    “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    Forest Gump

  4. Anonymous says:

    Some years ago, the CIAA was presented with a gift! A private developer offered to rebuild the GA Terminal (on CIAA property of course), complete with all rent-free border control facilities and operations/administrative spaces for the CIAA’s roles (flight planning, pilot briefings, fees collections, etc). The proposal called for a very reasonable time-frame for the developer to recoup costs and then the building would become the full property of the CIAA.

    They passed on the offer. BTW, the proposed developer was NOT Dart.

    Now, they plan to saddle the public with additional debt! Proof that most “stewards” of public funds DO NOT CARE about WASTING OUR MONEY!!

    • Anonymous says:

      The 2011 McKeeva Dart Agreement includes this Dart built / operated General Aviation terminal.
      As you are so well informed to know that it was not DART, then will you support a requirement that there is full beneficial owner disclosures on the developer, all contractors, all vendors, all financiers, etc., etc.

      Waiting on your reply.

    • Anonymous says:

      ” a gift! … for a very reasonable time-frame for the developer to recoup costs”

      You and I have different definitions of gift I see.

      A fair business deal? perhaps. But the devil is always in the details. I mean the definition of recoup costs.

      • Anonymous says:

        16 @ 1: 42pm – Yes, a “gift” – for the eventual greater public good. The definition of “recouping costs”, as in recovering investment over the proposed period. Details? Why? It could re-surface – who knows?

  5. daniel johns says:

    If a private jet facility is needed, let those who would use it, pay for it.. Not the community…

    • Anonymous says:

      The private jets pay landing fees with actual money. Unlike Cayman Airways which just shuffles our money from one CIG pocket to the other.

      • Anonymous says:

        The money will still go to CIAA coffers which CIG raids annually so what’s the difference?

      • daniel johns says:

        I am sure they pay a fee, surely not enough to cover the expenses of a private jet facility though… Or else they would not be asking for yet more millions for these entitled individuals…

  6. Anonymous says:

    1. “Looking for consultants”
    Yeah, just throw it out because they don’t know who to hire, right? Follow the money once the “consultants” are named.

    2. “At this stage, there is no mention of how much a new general aviation terminal would cost”. Whatever number they give the public, add 30%

    Waste, Waste, Waste…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the old adage “be careful what you wish for”!
    We got rid of the Progressives and got instead.. THE REGRESSIVES … a whole new brand of ‘we do not need that’ management of government business. This new government is raiding the coffers and banks for every dime and spending (supposedly) on project they are just dreaming up… What about just finishing the road going east? What about more low-income housing as property prices skyrocket? What about focusing on improving / expanding the public transport sector?

    • Anonymous says:

      Naaaah, gotta do Kenneth’s domino hangout first. Spent 8M on the land as a starter .

    • Anonymous says:

      PACT includes too many PPM and UDP, that is causing problems.

      They want to get rid of Wayne, but the fight amongst the greedy is then who will be the PM.

      What a hot mess!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Wayne, Heather,Andre and ms Wilks need to cross over to the PPM and form a government of Mac free and educated Caymanians.

        • Anonymous says:

          Educated? If Barbara and David can read an entire page of a Harry Potter book without mispronouncing or stuttering, I will make a generous donation to a charity of their choice.

    • N says:

      Definitely need the road going east extended, it’s long overdue!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I strongly suggest PWD build this. We cannot allow another private sector company to mess around with the airport.

    • Anonymous says:

      pwd?…cayman’s social welfare employment outlet?….don’t make me laugh

    • Anonymous says:

      If this wasn’t so serious it would be a “giggle” some of these politicians who never had two coins to rub together in their previous lives are so dazzled by shiny objects that they would allow anything to happen! More like magpies than statesmen who have the welfare of their homeland at the forefront of all they do!

    • Anonymous says:


  9. Anonymous says:

    It just goes to show that the “original” redevelopment was insufficient inasmuch as they now have to expand immediately after the paint dries on the new expansion. The old Board never did quite get it right but spent needless money on getting it wrong.

    I do hope that the new “development” will take into consideration and make use of modern cutting edge technology and simple things like air bridges.

  10. Anonymous says:


    The whole point of flying private is that you dont stay in the terminal….

    Ive been through it and spent literally 5 minutes in it before going out to the plane.

    Why cant we just do some interior work rather than building a whole new thing. Its just an endless desire to spend as much money as possible.

    Bullet bond soon come.

  11. Anonimous says:

    Look out NAU, cause the common narrow minded view, indicate that we are headed for a Welfare State while our permanent legal and corporate jobs on island is being outsourced overseas and hotels that cator to the wealthy won’t hire locals

    Maybe we should just follow Daubi and introduce a 9% Corporate Tax from now to be able to deal with the expected Welfare cost

    • Nobody says:

      Because the hotels cater to those who can afford to travel and stay at a hotel and expect decent service they can not be a functional hotel without trained, experienced, and ready and willing to be of service to others personal. Bobo is not qualified and culturally can not put themselves into what they will see as slavery because of their history and culture. Expecting the hotels and private sector to feed those who even Civil Service would not hire stinks of corruption. Normal for Cayman Islands.

  12. Anonimous says:

    The NTDP National Tourism Development Plan and the Go East Initiative calls for, or indicate future development of up to 14,800 Hotel Rooms, 5,000 Apartments, Cottages or Botique Hotels in North Side & East End

    Keep in mind that an average of 11,000 people visited our island per week during 2018 & 2019 and we only have 2,100 hotel rooms registered that was available

    Most people have forgotten that Sammy’s Airport Inn, the Hyatt Regency, Seaview Hotel, Victoria House, Indies Suites and other hotels have permanently closed after Ivan and we’ve lost hotel rooms in our hotel room stock along with permanent jobs

    Therefore, we need more hotels and attractions to create permanent jobs and offer a reasonable stay to our working class or middle class visitors

    As the global economy returns to some kind of normallcy, Condo owners will stop renting to Air BNB guest and instead of retaining and attracting the working middle class visitors, we are pushing them away and focusing on quality over quantity

    I believe this equates to wasted ($120,000,000) in Tax Payers money to enhance the Owen Roberts Airport expansion

    • Anonymous says:

      Hotel’s pay minimum wage, don’t employ Caymanians and have a terrible carbon footprint. Financial services are the way to go but need to pay for the privilege of zero regulation and tax!

      • They paved Paradise.... says:

        Zero regulation!!!
        You should do your research.

        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly – obviously 7.33am has “zero” clue and experience.

          CIMA is killing the FS industry with over regulation, and make up legislation as they go along – so the money will not be there to pay for this white elephant as CIMA are killing the golden goose…(to keep the metaphors going..)

          • Anonymous says:

            Don’t forget the havoc destroying the legal profession by the Cayman Islands Legal Practitioners Association (CILPA) and the Cayman Attorneys Regulation Authority (CARA), which is targeting Caymanian attorneys and protecting large law firms.

            The large law firms, which have affiliated financial service providers, are what CIMA is having difficulty getting to comply with the laws of the Cayman Islands.

            • Anonymous says:

              CILPA and CARA are enabling offenses. They refuse to even comment on the widespread practice of Cayman Law by persons without practicing certificates, often to the detriment of the jurisdiction. If they refuse to even deal with that blatant aspect of attorney regulation, they are worthy of nothing but disdain.

    • Anonymous says:

      Normalcy HAS to be the most ridiculos word known to man. Normality for goodness sake.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I really don’t understand the nature of this proposal. The airports authority moves so slowly I find it unlikely this will amount to anything in the next 10 years. There is no goal, just more planning for no purpose. I note they redid the plan in 2004, 2005 2007 and 2014 – now they want to do it again and we only have 1 runway we’ve marginally improved since the first plan. The amount of fill required alone is more expensive than moving the entire airport to higher ground. Wish the authority would come out and more clearly say where we are going.

  14. Anonymous says:

    This shows how completely skewed the CIAA has become. They spend big $$ on a failed traffic flow scheme which is so unpopular that the general populace is up in arms and they are now looking at providing a new private terminal for billionaires?!
    Why don’t they just stop and reset their thinking to provide a fantastic user experience for the hundreds of thousands of people using the main terminal rather than for the hundreds of people who will use the private terminal per year?
    The CIAA is so mismanaged and full of its own self importance (arrogance), it’s frightening and yet no one in government cares how these public funds are spent. Why don’t they start by making the main terminal a welcoming and efficient space rather than the dead zone it currently is, due to the over zealous security and safety issues mandated by the head of security?
    It’s time to stop this nonsense and get the CIAA to focus on providing a real international airport that meets the needs of Cayman, rather than something used by the small number of people in the billionaire jet set.

    • neverwannabeacivilservant says:

      10.28pm Remember the CIAA according to the Auditor General are paid the highest salaries of all the SAGC’s and most Civil Servants as well.Their performance to date warrants a 50% cut in remuneration at least.

  15. Anonimous says:

    The NTDP National Tourism Development Plan and the Go East Initiative calls for, or indicate future development of up to 14,800 Hotel Rooms, 5,000 Apartments, Cottages or Botique Hotels in North Side & East Rnd

    Keep in mind that an average of 11,000 people visited our island per week during 2018 & 2019 and we only have 2,100 hotel rooms recorded that was available

    Most people have forgotten that Sammy’s Airport Inn, the Hyatt Regency, Seaview Hotel, Victoria House, Indies Suites and other hotels closed after Ivan and we’ve lost hotel rooms in our hotel room stock, along with permanent jobs

    Therefore, we need more hotels to create permanent jobs and offer a reasonable stay to middle class visitors

  16. Anonymous says:

    so what was the final account for last expansion???

  17. Anonymous says:

    Cayman already has the highest landing fees and airlines taxes in the Caribbean, and probably all of Latin America. They literally double the cost of every ticket. Don’t give CIAA any more real money to false-start on.

  18. Miami Dave says:

    In 2008 Bermuda developed a 30 year master plan for their airport development. Their new world class airport opened in 2020.

    Cayman could learn from Bermuda.

    The master plan here should have been developed 10 years ago.

  19. Big Bobo In West Bay says:

    Where else in the world do you spend $200 million ???? on a new airport and then decide to develop a new master plan for the airport?

    We have it all ass backwards. You develop a master plan and then you start putting the pieces together with the new airport the cornerstone.

    This is beyond stupidity.

    • Say it like it is says:

      Big Bobo The first item in the Master Plan should be to replace all the senior CIAA staff, let us have accountability.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Out of all the population, a handful of people make decisions behind closed doors that affect all of our lives. They decide how things should be for them and the rest of us need to adapt.

    Somehow the world is convinced this is the only way to do things.. sigh

  21. Anonymous says:

    PPM led by Alden and Moses wasted millions redeveloping an ORIA that is not fit for purpose with no jetways. When will the madness stop and the project be investigated by Auditor General?

    • Anonymous says:

      Well said. Auditor General needs to investigate other PPM expenditures from the public purse, which were unlawful, unconstitutional, ultra vires and void ab initio for which restitution needs to be made to reverse unjust enrichment at the expense of the CI public purse.

  22. Anonymous says:

    They should have built a new airport and cargo/cruise terminal in east end with anew road. Would only be 20 min drive to smb. Ridiculous that traffic queues at a stand still every day round the airport and past a cargo terminal in GT. the opposite of world class. The airport is the biggest barrier to traffic on this island.

  23. Sir Humphrey says:

    After 3 years we still don’t know the final cost for the new airport.

    When will we find out?

  24. Hubert says:

    You cannot be serious?

  25. Anonymous says:

    It doesn’t take much for a general avaition terminal and you already have the basics. A little remodelling would be more than enough. Those of high net worth do not need much to get from the land rover to the jet with a brief stop at the desk of the smiling immigration agent. They are definitely not planning their trips around the best terminals.

  26. Anonymous says:

    How many times do I have to say that those with alot of money are not interested in Cayman. They want villas, mansions, yachts and Cayman does not offer that. They want luxury travel excursions I.e.safaris, glaciers, National Geographic expeditions… not a 5 minute trip to see Hell.
    Cayman would be better off lowering their prices and targeting families, single professionals and repeat guests. Give them a solid product and that group will return year after year. They will plan weddings, family reunions, graduation trips. That should be your base. Cayman is not for the rich ( even the Ritz and Kimpton are just over priced, but nothing over the top) & Cayman is not a spring break destination ( too pricey and not enough action).
    When you can target the right group and stop dreaming of attracting the rich, lower your prices to fit your market, drop your crazy covid testing protocols, tourism will improve.

    • Anon says:

      Hmm. You seem so confident that you must not be wealthy yourself.

      Even with some restrictions, there are more private flights coming in than there are commercial flights. The GA terminal is one of the busiest in the Caribbean. And it is sorely in need of an upgrade. Pre pandemic there was literally a full parking lot of private jets spilling into the grass and near the runway.

      Yes upgrade it, yes make it easily accessible to Seven Mile Beach, and build it soon!! Public-private is required.

      Most importantly, like in Canada and the US, customs needs to come onboard. Not sit at their desk and take forever. SUV pickup and drop-off on the tarmac.

      • Anonymous says:

        A lot of people were flying private jets due to covid, covid restrictions and availability of flights.
        No, I am not that wealthy and my friends and I rented a private jet a few years back for a ski vacation. Dividing up the cost made it available.
        I know a lot of families who just flew private jet over Christmas as they tested positive or were afraid someone would and didn’t want to deal w/ the quarantine, so private jet got the family home.

      • Sarasota Steve says:

        7:40, Cayman could have had all these things you talk about now if they had gone with the Canadian proposal years ago. Of course, price would have been guaranteed by the Canadian Government and locals would not be siphoning money off the top raising the total cost by millions.

        Just look at what private jets that arrive at the new world class Bermuda Airport have. I fly into the airport regularly and cry that we don’t have the same thing here.

        This piecemeal approach to everything is killing this place.

      • Anonymous says:

        There’s ALOT of money here. Private jets are chartered to take away and return many people who live here.

      • Anonymous says:

        To 7:40- the link you provided shows that most of those private jets come from the cayman or the sister islands and/ or have a connection to cayman ( kirkconnell).

    • Guessue says:

      I agree with Anonymous 6: 48 pm. Stop the stupid millions of dollars daydreams and stop the “Get rich on millionaires” ideas and get something the people want….. not the get-rich-quick scheme for the people in the “kiss the money men’s asses” group! Where are our leaders??? Do we have any REAL LEADERS?

      • Anonymous says:

        There has definitely been a void in good leadership, at least, for almost a quarter century.

        There are younger Caymanians that will be stepping up to the plate next election.

        There needs to be a changing of the guard, because what we have (and have had) is not working.

        When the next elections come around, responsible voting (and not giving in to corrupt vote-buying) is important.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just read an article that American summer travel plans are up 600% in the last month despite covid. They listed 10 places that are in high demand as low airfare to these destinations have people rapidly booking and Cayman did not make the list.

    • Anonymous says:

      You obviously know nothing about what this island has become. That of you are living in some memory of 15 years ago. Rich people want anonymity and safety and luxury – that is what we offer. That and a beautiful beach and warm air. Cayman is going up-market and we who live here should all be grateful because it means less noise, people, and more money.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not about the money. It’s about the service

      We leave for Monaco in one month, can’t wait.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or an eco-tourist hotspot.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Well it is obvious to see where this is going.
    Cayman has obviously been earmarked as an elite destination.
    This would explain all the development, sky-high prices and thousands of work permits for the new global servant class.
    Caymanians are going the way of the dinosaurs and they voted for their own demise.

    The only thing that will restore Cayman to the Caymanians is a catastrophe. They will be the only ones not to leave. A few loyal expats will stay, but the locust class will move on.

    One and a half generations of unbridled greed was worked wonders wouldn’t you say?

    • Anonymous says:

      We are all going up-market here because Cayman long-ago priced ourselves out of the lower end market. Even if we could miraculously cut prices here 50% we would still be way more expensive than the Dominican or Mexico, so each and every one of us in tourism should sober up to reality and embrace luxury. We don’t all have to live a lux life. The fact that we get to live here as we wish on our own terms is a blessing and we can live the way we want, but luxury is what this island has become. The clientele are clean, respectful and they tip well. Bring these good people and let us prosper with less of a footprint.

    • Anonymous says:

      Elite destination hahaha. It’s a dump, the people are unfriendly and there’s nothing to do.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget your designer bags to ‘brand’ in.

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