The Dominica Government says next month it will grant a construction contract for the international airport on the island’s north-eastern coast.
Less than six months ago, the country signed an agreement with the Canadian-based Montreal Management Consultants Establishment Limited (MMCE).
The Government said that the $1-billion venture to be situated on land between the Woodford Hill and Wesley villages will be funded under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CBI).
Under the CBI, Dominica provides citizenship to foreign investors who make a significant contribution to the socio-economic development of the island.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, in making the announcement, indicated that the Environmental Impact Assessment has been completed and the mitigating measures identified are being addressed.
“We have completed the construction of the lab where all of the material testing will be conducted for the international airport and the equipment is now being installed. Site clearance has started, and this will facilitate continued geotechnical and other site-specific surveys,” he said, noting that a local expert has also been contracted to ensure that all historical artefacts unearthed are salvaged and preserved for posterity.
Skerrit said that while construction progresses, the Government will be “simultaneously pursuing route development”.
According to him, significant interest has already been generated by the direct flights from Miami to Dominica which American Airlines will operate from December this year.
“The response has been so encouraging that American Airlines has informed that they will increase their number of flights to Dominica, from two times a week to three times a week, from January 5,” he said.
In touting several short- and long-term benefits of the international airport to the island’s economy, the minister noted that over the next few years, the Wesley/Woodford Hill area will be transformed into a hive of activity with business and employment opportunities for citizens.
“In the site preparation, earthworks, and construction, there will be jobs for our people both skilled and unskilled, and in the provision of equipment and materials. There will be opportunities for those providing services, catering, shops, entertainment and for our farmers and fishers. The opportunities are endless,” he said.