|ANR Robinson Airport Tobago|
This is not what Tobago wants or deserves.
That is the view of Diana Hadad, a member of the Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, on upgrades at ANR Robinson International Airport in Crown Point.
Her comments were made following a stakeholders' press conference on Wednesday at Coco Reef Resort in Store Bay.
A new ANR Robinson International Airport for Tobago is what stakeholders of the tourism industry are crying out for, said Hadad, but their cries have fallen on deaf ears as the Airports Authority of Trinidad and Tobago instead announced planned refurbishment works to the 30-year-old facility.
Hadad said the works were rushed and not what stakeholders wanted.
"We need a new facility and we don't need patching and fixing. Patching and fixing is what will take us through a short period of time, but I am not seeing the vision," said Hadad.
Kurt Ajodha, deputy chairman of the Airports Authority, said while the aim was to build a new airport for the long term, in the short term the Authority must be economical and efficient.
"We can't go and spend a lot of money to make a new facility not just in the short term, so in our short and medium term what we choose to do is renovate this facility in order to accommodate an increase in international passengers," Ajodha said.
No figure could be provided on the cost of repair work.
Nicholas Hardwicke, president of the Hotel and Tourism Association in Tobago, said while much more was needed at this time, the necessary repairs were better late than never.
"It's the start of a process and we would like to see them move to complete it as quickly as possible, so we can move onto the next stage, which is the expansion of the arrival and departure baggage claim facilities," said Hardwicke.
Within the next few weeks repairs are to commence on the roof, with modifications to the check-in counters and first class lounge departure and arrival halls.
All short-term projects are to be integrated with long-term design, construction and modification plans.
Repairs are being conducted by Zycovich Architects and Lee Young and Partners.
Reproduced from Trinidadexpress