Residents of Caye Caulker are the happiest with the inauguration and reopening of the Caye Caulker Municipal Airport that took place this past weekend, Friday, September 7, 2018 after almost a year of being closed for repairs.
Both local Belizean Airlines, Tropic Air and Maya Island Air, announced on October of 2017 that they would be suspending flights to Caye Caulker due to safety reasons. In a joint press release the companies cited severe deterioration to the runway as their main cause of suspending their services to the island. Their request to the Belize Airports Authority (BAA) was for the urgent renovation of the runway in order to meet the island’s approaching tourism high season.
Residents of Caye Caulker sent out cries of help to government and BAA, deeply concerned that the closure would leas to a loss of revenue for the island as well as a loss of jobs for the folks at the Tropic Air and Maya Island Air Terminal. Immediately after, the BAA released information announcing the final stages of securing the necessary funding to begin the reconstruction of the runway.
After a long wait, Caye Caulker residents were pleased with the announcement of the opening of the island’s airport once again. The airport is now nw of the latest, most modern municipal airports in the country. Substantial work was done to the runway’s shoulders and the laying of thousands of yards of geogrip to provide greater earth stability. Over 24,000 cubic yards of filling material was also spread and compacted.
The runway is asphalted with hot mix and is 2,840 feet long by 40 feet wide. Essential marking and a lighting system in compliance with ICAO Standards have been installed Some features of the runway design include threshold markings, runway orientation numbers, runway edge markings, centerline markings, taxiway centerline and runway hold position markings and aircraft parking stalls with transversal stop lines.
The modern lighting system installed is comprised with threshold end lights, runway edge lights and taxi way lights. At the opening ceremony, Tropic Air announced that the airline will start offering emergency flights to and from the island when needed.
“As a country, we have embraced the ideals of sustainable and responsible development of our tourism sector,” commented Hon. Manuel Heredia Jr., Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation. “That is why every time tourists visit our shores, they are bound to find something new, an experience deeply rooted within Belize’s unceasing development fabric. Our dynamic tourism industry depends on adequate infrastructure, for this reason the Government continues to place great emphasis and resources on the development of our municipal airports because they serve as conduits that facilitate and enhance our visitor’s experiences.”
“The new Caye Caulker Municipal Airport will therefore assist Belizeans and the adventurer to submit to their spirit of inquisitiveness and to enjoy a truly remarkable time and travel within Belize in a safe, secure and enjoyable environment. It is without doubt that the new modern Caye Caulker Municipal Airport will boost tourism on the island.”
The airport project was partially finance by the BAA and loan financing for a total project cost of $3.6 million dollars. The airport is now open and travelers are advised to check with local airlines for scheduled times and flights to and from the island of Caye Caulker.
Runway lights installed at Caye Caulker Airport to facilitate late night and emergency flights