Year 2008

It was on April 23rd, 2008 that Cabinet granted approval for the acquisition of all vacant land parcels within the area at Mt Pleasant for the first kilometer of the runway. The estimated value of the vacant lands within the first kilometer at the time of the acquisition was $22,017,242.00.

On May 19th 2008, the first 13 pieces of heavy earth moving equipment promised by the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for earthworks on the airport project arrived. These first pieces were followed by several other shipments, altogether numbering 37 pieces of heavy equipment and a variety of spares, costing US$10 million (EC$27 million).

Austria too made to the Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines a grant of US$185,000, to assist with the purchase of three compactors needed, as part of the full complement of heavy machinery, for the earthworks.

In June 2008, a complement of Cuban workers arrived in St Vincent bringing the total then to 47. Shortly thereafter, another 4 (including a doctor) arrived and they all eventually joined a team of 50 Vincentian workers to form the Chatoyer-Che Contingent to do the earthworks on the project.

July 13th 2008 saw the groundbreaking ceremony to signal the start of construction of the Argyle International Airport. This date marked a defining moment, as thousands of Vincentians flocked to Argyle to witness the symbolic blast on Johnson Hill and to hear from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, C.E.O. of the IADC Dr. Rudy Mathias, representatives from the Eastern Caribbean Aviation Authority and well wishers from friendly and supporting governments, regarding plans for the construction of the airport.
To many, the ground breaking ceremony signaled the beginning of the realization of a dream.

Earthworks began on 13th August 2008. Since then, the work team has concentrated on clearing and grubbing the area, demolishing the houses, and removing the top soil in the first kilometre of the runway, which stretches from the Stubbs Bay cliff to the intersection at the Estates of Colonel Sydney Anderson and the Johnsons at Argyle.

Later that same year, on November 10th, 2008 St Vincent and the Grenadines welcomed Airline Operators and Managers to the first symposium dealing with the international airport. They were welcomed by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves and C.E.O. of the International Airport Development Company (IADC) Dr. Rudolph Matthias.
In his address to the delegates, Prime Minister Gonsalves noted that:
“In August 2005, my government accepted the advice of experts, both local and foreign, to build a new international airport on mainland, St. Vincent. The decision to construct on a green field site at Argyle was based mainly on the potential contribution of the international airport to tourism and agriculture development, and the physical restrictions on expanding the E.T. Joshua Airport.The Argyle International Airport will replace the E. T. Joshua Airport at Arnos Vale as the only international airport on mainland St. Vincent. This new airport will have a runway 2,743 metres long and 45 metres wide, and a terminal building of about 8,700 square metres of floor space, designed to handle 1.4 million passengers annually. This airport would allow us direct flights to North, Central and South America, and Europe, using commercial jets as large as the Boeing 747-400."

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