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Guyana, China sign US$130m loan agreement for airport expansion
Published on November 2, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (GINA) -- The governments of Guyana and China on Wednesday signed a framework agreement for a concessional loan to the tune of US$130 million (RMB 825 million) from the Chinese Exim Bank to fund construction of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project.

Minister of Finance Dr Ashni Singh signed on behalf of the Guyana government, and outgoing Chinese Ambassador Yu Wenzhe on behalf of the Chinese government in the presence of President Donald Ramotar, Public Works Minister Robeson Benn and airport officials at the Office of the President on Wednesday.

The government of Guyana approved a design and construction contract with China Harbour Engineering Company for the project expected to include an extension of the airport runway to a total of 10,800 feet to accommodate large transatlantic aircraft such as the Boeing 747, along with construction of a new terminal building, acquisition of eight boarding bridges, and installation of other state of the art equipment such as elevators, escalators, and x-ray scanners using three-dimensional technology along with flight information and security monitoring systems.

Once completed, the project would ensure that the CJIA is able to meet the needs of projected traffic for several years into the future, along with becoming a hub for regional and continental traffic.

It will allow the country to boast a state of the art airport “comparable to any other part of the world,” according to Singh, and equipped to accommodate any category of aircraft.

Job creation will also be created as several auxiliary services are anticipated and the country’s tourism potential is likely to be bolstered with the influx of visitor arrivals.

Construction is likely to start within the first quarter of next year, according to Benn who apprised the media that a feasibility study including an environmental assessment on the project had preceded.

A relocation exercise of about 300 houses with an estimated 815 residents that are considered within the “impact area” is set to be undertaken shortly. They will be moved to a designated area.

Ramotar linked the airport expansion project to a new wave of infrastructure developments taking shape in Guyana.

He alluded to the Amaila Falls Hydropower Project (AFHP) which will be one of several renewable energy sources facilitating 90 percent of the country’s power generation and significantly reduce the cost of electricity to the consumer.

He also used the occasion to commend the Chinese government for the historic friendly bilateral relationship with Guyana, conveying his sentiments to the Chinese ambassador whose two-year tenure in Guyana is winding down.
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