New airstrip proposed in northern Ambergris Caye to accommodate larger local flights
Tuesday, November 29th, 2022
San Pedro Town, Ambergris, is getting ready for the upcoming high tourism season, which is usually after the Thanksgiving weekend. Many of the foreign visitors to the island arrive via short local flights from the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA). As the local connecting flights continue to increase, local authorities are now suggesting the construction of a longer airstrip north of the island to alleviate the air traffic congestion at the John Greif III municipal airport in downtown San Pedro.
Area Representative Honourable Andre Perez revealed this after mentioning that the current local airport is already facing issues with congestion during the high tourism season. “The flights from PGIA to San Pedro are fast becoming crunch time,” he said. “Out of every 100 that arrive at PGIA, eight of them come to either Caye Caulker or San Pedro via flights. We cannot extend the runway here, so we are looking at the possibility of expanding or making a bigger airstrip up north.” Perez said it is not in the Basil Jones area, where some years ago, a plan to construct an international airport in that area was proposed.
According to him, the northern airstrip would be 8,000 feet long and would be able to accommodate bigger planes that could transport up to 30 passengers at one time. “The Cessna aircraft takes about 14 passengers, and whenever you have five airlines arriving there with almost 800 passengers, how do you mobilize all of these smaller Cessna planes with around 14 flights?” Perez questioned. He said this logistics might not seem viable; thus, they are looking to open a longer runway up north and decrease the need to have so many small planes back and forth.
While no specific area was mentioned for this airstrip, it will be near the Basil Jones area, about 13 miles north of San Pedro Town. The plan is said to come with the necessary infrastructure, like a road in good conditions for comfortable commutes to and from downtown San Pedro and other areas (hotels) in southern Ambergris Caye. The plan is under discussion without a time frame at this time.
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