Efforts underway to get airport up and running

A flooded airport carpark on Thursday Aug 27 in the wake of Erika
A flooded airport carpark on Thursday Aug 27 in the wake of Erika

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has stated that efforts are being made to get the main airport back into operation as quickly as possible and hundreds have been engaged to assist.

The airport has suffered major damage as a result of the passage of Tropical Storm Erika on August 27.

PM Skerrit noted that the apron was washed away and all the equipment on the ground floor in the terminal building will most likely have to be replaced. He explained that the airport had been flooded and is now covered with mud.

A team will assess the situation there and an action plan will be formulated, he said.

So far, the debris on the runway has been cleared and more equipment is being sent in to clear debris from the tarmac and from the terminal building.

Skerrit said the Chief Executive Officer of the Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority Mr. Benoit Bardouille will be resident at Melville Hall over the next several days to oversee the restoration of the airport.

He added that he has given Bardouille a “free hand” to utilize all the resources he can find to do the clean up.

Venezuela and the French will assist with restoration of airport and others have indicated an interest in helping as well.

Meanwhile, the Canefield airport will be used for small commercial flights in and out of Dominica. Additionally, a number of persons have offered their small planes for use.

Those making their way to Dominica can do so through Guadeloupe and Martinique. Skerrit said LIAT has been taking persons to those neighbouring islands from which they have access to Dominica via ferry services.

Moreover, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda has agreed to facilitate a ferry service to Dominica using an operator in Montserrat. His Government will waive all landing fees and associated charges once the ferry is going to or from Dominica.

An airport office rendered inoperable by water from the storm
An airport office rendered inoperable by water from the storm

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16 Comments

  1. Baz
    September 2, 2015

    This crappy airport has needed fixing for a long time, so let’s hope they now take the opportunity to make it a first world facility. (Locating it at the other end of the island would of course help, but I suspect the taxi driver lobby will oppose that…..

  2. Mrs.Reid
    August 31, 2015

    I think its a wake up call for present and future government to look into building an airport somewhere else. Whatever happen to the plan that was set in place some years ago to build an international airport?
    Dominica is the largest of the windward islands and it doesn’t have an airport where by one could take a direct flight from the US . That turns me off from wanting to travel back to my birth country. My fellow Dominicans you are in my prayers, and for all those who lost thier loved ones my deepest sympathy. I remember what it was like when hurricane David striked 36 years ago .

  3. The Real Facts
    August 31, 2015

    Dominica got more water than it needed.
    Erika caused a lot of destruction which was mainly rain. Once there are rivers, the amount of rain that fell, 10 inches in 4 hours, it was expected that rivers would overflow their banks and caused flooding throughout the island.
    I feel for you, fellow Dominicans for also the disruption of your life. God is good. In time, you will return to normal. I only hope that the numerous critics will cease their criticisms and learn to love their fellow Dominicans and appreciate the effort of the PM and his government.
    I had previously stated that God is angry with some of you who have projected on this Website that your hearts are unloving to the point of being hard. God knows even better than I do.
    People are also judged by what they state. Make up your minds and by praying to God to mellow your hearts and love one another. This is a way of harmony and peace and one which will also give you peace of heart and mind.

    • The Real Facts
      August 31, 2015

      What you give is exactly what you will receive and two-fold.
      Do not deprive yourself of God’s blessing and graces.

    • Looking
      August 31, 2015

      The Honarable PM should cease playing Jesus Christ and God. There is only one who can provide us. He is still bragging about I got this and I got this etc. Give God the glory. If he does not stop it and humble himself worst will come. They were warned about building an airport at melville hall. They called Edison a monkey. Please tell your PM to humble himself.

      • MY 2cents
        August 31, 2015

        Sherrit that built That airport? And do you know of any where on the island that was spared? The last I check the ENTIRE island got hit and damaged.Typical Duminican.

      • Barbara Saunders
        September 2, 2015

        Looking

        I agree that people including the PM must humble themselves. I can name a few others who should. I also agree that unless we stop cursing our country and believe that it is Mr. Skerrit that we are hurting worse will come. It seems that some of you are still hell-bent on assuming that Mr. Skerrit brought the rain and the damage done by the rivers and streams. I am not sure if he had also brought hurricane David in his previous life.

        My comment is really about the airport. I am a senior citizen and that airport has been there from my youth. Mr. Skerrit did not build the airport it was probably built before he was born. What he did was modernise it no doubt in an attempt to improve access and the ambiance of our facilities.

        If you were not so busy to repeat negative propaganda you would have thought this through before writing.

  4. Very Important
    August 30, 2015

    Are the Government, banks, credit unions, other lending institutions, in collaboration with the ECCB, grant persons with mortgages, and other credit facilities, a grace period on repayments for a few months? Mostly everyone has to recover, with houses, vehicles, clothing, food, school issues etc. Despite external assistance, residents in Dominica will need this time to pull together before they can repay anything. Will the Ministry of Finance inform of the possibility?

    • Interested
      September 3, 2015

      I totally agree with you. As a small business, I am already starting to feel the pinch and wondering how am I going to meet my payments month end. I might as well declare bankruptcy.

  5. Gazette Corde Kapi
    August 30, 2015

    Fellow Dominicans my prayers are with you as you struggle to cope with this destruction that has been unleashed on our beautiful island. To the families who have lost loved ones my family and I extend our heartfelt condolences even as we ourselves have suffered from the ravages of the rains and overflowing rivers. To the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition please work together for the good of the nation. Let’s rally round our flag for the good of all our people.
    Now is the perfect opportunity to start putting plans in place for the construction of a new airport. I hope we have learned from nature that some structures are not suited for certain locations. Case in point The Douglas -Charles Airport. Let’s all plan to move in a different direction for the good of Dominica and all its people, Nationals ,residents and all those in between.

    • Really
      August 31, 2015

      Do u know how long the airport has been at this location?

  6. diabless
    August 30, 2015

    When the decision was made by the Frank Baron Government to locate the Terminal Building at this site next to the Melville Hall River in the late 1950’s,circa 1958/59 ,Wills Stratmore Stevens,of blessed memory raised his concern about that location . How very right he was!

    • Looking
      August 31, 2015

      Edison James also recommended moving it, he was called a Monkey

    • Barbara Saunders
      September 2, 2015

      Diabless

      Thanks for the history lesson. I just noted above that the airport was built before Mr. Skerrit was born. I’m glad I was right and you are actually providing a date. Please tell “looking” that Mr. Skerrit cannot “move” an airport. Correction! perhaps he can, since he can bring rain and floods and other natural disasters on the country he might well have supernatural powers!

  7. planman52
    August 30, 2015

    Of course no one expected TS Erika to be this bad. However, the damage to the airport is not to be unexpected since it is built right next to a river. Someone should look into building a levee along the river as it might be cheaper than the cost of repairing and replacing everything caused by the river overflowing its banks. Never say never, this could happen again.

    • Mr.reid
      August 31, 2015

      Let this be lesson learned for present and future government that this present location for the airport need to be reconsidered.Find a new location for the airport. My prayers are with my fellow Dominicans , especially those who lose thier loved ones. Lets work together to rebuild

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