ST. KITTS & NEVIS CABINET MINISTERS UPDATED ON RETROFITTING WORK AT RLB INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 26, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris led his Cabinet colleagues on a tour of the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw (RLB) International Airport earlier today (Monday, October 26) to see firsthand the extensive retrofitting work done to facilitate passenger movement in a manner that minimizes the risk of COVID-19 infection by frontline workers at the airport.
Representatives of the National COVID-19 Task Force and tourism officials were also on hand for Monday’s walkthrough.
The improvements, being undertaken as part of the RLB International Airport COVID-19 Retrofit Project, are being done ahead of the October 31 official reopening of the Federation’s airport.
The work is being done in two phases. Phase one involves the retrofitting of the arrival area and the installation of sneeze guards. Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant, stated that this phase includes the construction of a welcome center.
“This will house passengers ahead of the medical screening process. This involves the erection of a 50×100 foot transparent tent on reinforced wooden flooring and bathroom facilities in the containers. The welcome center would be air conditioned, equipped with seating to accommodate more than 140 passengers, concession stands, and TVs displaying the relevant information,” the minister said.
Other aspects of phase one of the RLB International Airport COVID-19 Retrofit Project include the newly constructed medical center with an isolation unit; the reconfiguration of the immigration hall; the creation of a medical screening room (formerly the VIP Lounge) outfitted with four screening stations, a testing booth and thermal scanning facilities; and the installation of plexiglass as sneeze guards throughout the airport all in an attempt to protect airport staff.
Minister Grant further noted that as the project progressed, it became evident that additional features had to be made to the original plan for phase one of the project.
“Phase one was projected to cost approximately $2 million EC dollars. However, major changes were made during the construction to augment safety, especially within the medical isolation center and the medical screening area. Additionally, the scope was extended to include a sixth element, which is a complete transformation of the Customs baggage hall area. This was necessary to reorganize the processing of passengers to reduce the bottlenecks while keeping Customs officers safe,” the minister said, while noting that phase one is now estimated to cost EC$2.6 million.
Phase two of the RLB International Airport COVID-19 Retrofit Project is focused on retrofitting the departure area to maximize the use of the space and to streamline the departing passengers’ screening process.
Minister Grant said from all indications, they are confident that the airport will be in a state of readiness for the Saturday, October 31 reopening and for the arrival of the first international commercial flight scheduled for November 07.