New master plan for SIA

Friday, September 07, 2018

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MBJ Airports Ltd is working to transform Sangster International Airport (SIA) into a showcase of Jamaica with the expansion of the departure terminal and commercial area under its new master plan.

The airport operator has selected “one of the world's leading engineering firms” to develop a new master plan in consortium with seven local firms, MBJsaid in a recent news release.

“MBJ is focusing on infrastructure improvements that leverage the latest technology while improving the experience for passengers by transforming SIA into a reference for efficiency and service and a bastion of Jamaican culture,” the release said.

MBJ will be adding 25,800 square feet to the departure terminal to improve service for passengers, and redeveloping the commercial area post security with an expanded footprint and updated look and feel.

The design theme within the new master plan is being developed to reflect the country's natural beauty, while the commercial area will be developed with a renewed focus on Jamaican specialty products and original handicrafts.

“We will launch a request for proposals in short order to select retailers to operate concessions at the airport,” CEO Rafael Echevarne announced.

Special consideration will be given to those retailers planning to sell Jamaican products and crafts.

As part of its support to the local craft industry, MBJ launched the Jamaican Artisan competition in 2017 to discover new talent and provide the top-three winners a commercial outlet in shops at the airport.

Jamaican products sold at SIA represent some US$19 million in sales each year. Already, more than half of the 27 specialty souvenir stores operating at the airport sell Jamaican goods, while six sell items produced in the island exclusively.

Duty-free shops at the airport specialise in Jamaican spirits, which account for more than 40 per cent of their sales. The stores themselves are mostly locally owned, with 81 per cent of the businesses operating at SIA held by Jamaicans.

MBJ Airports Limited is the operator of Sangster International Airport, which connects Jamaica to more than 50 international destinations. A record 4.2 million passenger used the airport in 2017.

MBJ operates SIA under a 30-year concession awarded in 2003 and provides employment to more than 150 Jamaicans. SIA has been named the Caribbean's Leading Airport by World Travel Awards for the past nine years in a row.

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