Friday, October 11th, 2016 Belizeans gathered at the municipal airport of Belize to witness the new and improved now named Sir Barry Bowen Municipal Airport.
General Manager of the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) Mr. Nicholas Ruiz, Minister of Tourism Mr. Manuel Heredia, BAA Board of Directors Mr. Severo Guerrero along with Tropic Air and Maya Island Air presidents expressed how they hope this project serves as an example to the other airports in Belize. With brief descriptions on how this project was accomplished and while sharing memories of Sir Barry, Mr. Barry’s wife, Dixie Bowen and Hon. Manuel Heredia had the distinct honor in cutting the ribbon.
Dixie Bowen stated that ever since Barry first landed foot in Belize his dream was to have his own airport. With humor she said that she even believed that he might have loved his airplanes more than he did his family.
Dixie is honored and happy that his dream has finally became a reality because the memories of him live in her heart and she will never forget accompanying him to the gas stations, to the hanger or the plane rides. She knows for a fact that on this memorable day he was looking down with the biggest smile on his face.
As much as Mr. Barry loved planes, he also loved statues. Unfortunately the statue was not finished in time but will soon be shipped from Cuba. Mrs. Dixie looks forward to this new venture and cant wait for the statue to arrive.
After the ceremony guest were treated to music, hors d’oeuvres and a tour over Belize to have a better view of the new and improved airport in courtesy of Tropic Air and Maya Island Air.
New Name and Face for the Belize City Municipal Airstrip
The airport was expanded and renovated through a BZ$17 million project implemented by the BAA through a loan from the Social Security Board. The new features of the airport include an expanded runway 2,900 ft. long and 60 ft. wide with a parallel taxiway measuring 2,700 ft. long and 60 ft. wide, including a new lighting system to accommodate the landing of aircrafts at night. With the appropriate marking and signage, the airport is now compliant with local and international civil aviation standards. An apron with safety lines, parking and service road markings and 10 aircraft parking stalls are also among the newly added facilities.
The refurbished airport allows the simultaneous take-off and landing of several planes in a safer environment. Provisions have also been made to accommodate future expansion of the airport, which now becomes the main hub for national municipal flights.
In addition to its expansion and renovation, the multi-million dollar project also included the enhancement of the airports’ immediate surroundings to facilitate access to and from the airport. This included the construction of an access road between Marion Jones Stadium and St. John’s College; and the paving of the road from Marine Parade near the stadium with its junction with St. Matthew Street. A new parking lot with a security booth along with perimeter fencing, an electronic barrier system, security lighting, and a modern surveillance system was also included as part of the project. The parking lot can also accommodate up to 153 vehicles.
A drainage system of the entire airport including box drains, culverts along the apron with major outlets to the sea and pedestrian walkways and new road markings were also installed. Furthermore, 2,600 feet of seashore protection was installed alongside the runway to complement the mangrove system.
The remodelled airport is now a world class, modern facility which will boost the already steady and phenomenal tourism growth in Belize. An official ceremony to inaugurate the airport will be held on Friday, 11th November, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. The media is cordially invited to attend the ceremony.