Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Mike Henry, says upon the reactivation of aviation activity at Vernamfield, a National Civil Aviation Master Plan will need to be completed to inform an airport master plan for the area.
“Based on the airport master plan, the timely development of the cargo logistics hub will be pursued,” he said during a Statement to the House of Representatives on December 4.
In addition to serving as a cargo logistics hub, the Vernamfield aerodrome is also intended to accommodate aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; aviation training for the global market; and a potential warehousing depot for humanitarian relief supplies, among others.
Henry told the Lower House that the flat real estate, which the area boasts, allows for the potential expansion of the airport to accommodate a parallel runway of 14,000 feet.
“This will facilitate long-range, heavy-lift traffic, allowing Jamaica to receive and launch aircraft to markets beyond our current reach, where forecast compounded annual growth rates are much higher than that of the traditional source market for visitors,” he said.
Henry argued that “without a long runway, Jamaica will be bound to being a minor airport that does not facilitate the level of economic growth that (the country) requires”.
“Against the background that the World Bank projects that Jamaica will lose 22 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) owing to coastal dislocation from sea-level rise, offsetting measures need to be taken to facilitate major economic growth. The construction of a long runway is one such measure,” he added.