Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Hon. Dr. Kendrick Pickering has met with the five companies that have met the prequalification conditions to undertake construction works to expand the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport.
In a statement to the House of Assembly on Monday, September 3, Minister Pickering listed the companies as Sir Robert McAlpine (Holdings) Limited (Grand Cayman), China Communication Construction Company Limited (China), IDL Group (Canada) in consortium with ADC Company (BVI), GLF Construction Corporation (USA) and the Walsh Group (USA).
He stated that he met with the prequalified companies on August 31, 2012 at the Central Administration Complex in the first 'conditioning meeting'.
"I stressed the importance of this project being completed on time, on budget, with the greatest wow factor and the highest degree of integrity," Minister Pickering stated.
He said that the companies were given a tour of the arport by the Chairman of the Board of the British Virgin Islands Airport Authority, Glenn Harrigan and the Project Manager, Winston Wilson.
The companies now have to submit proposals which Government hope to have completed by the end of September 2012.
He stated that it is also Government's hope by the end of October 2012 to complete all of the negotiations, including presentations to Caucus and Cabinet after which decisions can be made to appoint a lead contractor or consortium leader and then move to the construction stage in January 2013.
Minister Pickering shared that a total of seventeen submissions were received during the Expression of Interest (EOI) phase from around the world. The Government of the Netherlands was also among the submissions.
The Minister detailed eight requirements for qualification. They include confirmation of the firms' interest to be considered for the RFP stage; technical capacity to design, construct, finance a civil aviation airport; achieved a minimum total annual turnover over the last three years on design and construction works of at least US$100 million dollars; successful track record of timely completion of projects; statement that the firm is in good financial order; annual financial statements for at least three years; litigation history; and local content and transfer of technology opportunities.
Minister Pickering also reported to the House that he left the Territory on August 18, 2012 and travelled to Europe to explore contemporary and environmentally friendly designs for the runway extension and the Fixed Base Operations (FBO) of the local airport.
Accompanying the Minister was the Executive Director of the British Virgin Islands Airports Authority Limited (BVIAA Ltd.), Mr. Denniston Fraser; Member of the Board of Directors, Mr. Clyde Lettsome; Project Manager, Mr. Winston Wilson and his Private Secretary, Mrs. Michelle Bhajan.
The first leg of the trip took the delegation to the Portuguese island of Madeira where we were given technical briefings on the extension of the Madeira airport by engineers and other airport officials.
According to the Minister, the second leg of the trip took the delegation to the Italian island of Sardinia, which is located about 150 miles off the coast of Italy. While there, the delegation met with airport officials who facilitated a guided tour of the Olbia Costa Smeralda Airport.
"The BVI will do well if we can take a page out of Costa Smeralda's book, especially when it comes to Fixed Base Operations. It is a given that in the BVI we must improve air access, but in doing so, Madam Speaker, we must also improve the quality of service that we give our customers at the airport. That quality should extend to commercial travelers, those travelling on the commercial aircrafts, as well as those travelling on private flights. Not only should we extend our arrival and departure halls for commercial passengers, but we must build and ensure that proper facilities are in place for our private customers that require the use of our aerodrome," Minister Pickering stated.
The Minister also spoke about the need for a meteorological office where both commercial and private pilots can file their flight plans and obtain the latest weather and forecast for their destination.
He also highlighted the need for a facility where private passengers can relax or shop in comfort as they await their departure. Minister Pickering also expressed the belief that having a facility outfitted with modern conference facilities will also prove beneficial as the Territory seeks to offer more to the business community.