Expansion Plans at ORIA Herald Optimism for Grand Cayman Tourism and Travel
Thousands flock to Grand Cayman hoping to see the unique green sea turtle. But soon they’ll see one as soon as they arrive at Owen Roberts International Airport.
But this one doesn’t paddle or dive; in fact, it doesn’t move at all.
Grand Cayman is expanding its airport facilities, and the design is based on the shape of the native green sea turtle.
The Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman (ORIA) will be undergoing a massive expansion that will more than double its current capacity. There will be larger arrivals and departures areas all of which will significantly improve passenger traffic flow.
Three Year Expansion Plan at ORIA
The three year expansion project is definitely timely because Grand Cayman has become a top tourist destination. In 2014 it was recognized by the Caribbean Travel Awards, as the Caribbean Destination of the Year.
According to the March 10, 2015 Media Release by the Cayman Islands Airport Authority (CIAA), “the airport will more than double the capacity of ORIA from 77,000 square feet to 207, 000 square feet.”
ORIA currently can serve up to one million customers, but the renovation will mean an increase to 2.7 million annually.
World Class Architecture Company
The design and architecture company RS&H Group won the bid on the project. Reynolds, Smith & Hills is an award winning architecture, engineering, and consulting agency which has built up an impressive portfolio including launch platforms for the national space program NASA and facilities for many Fortune 1000 organizations.
The RS&H airport design will fit in with the current airport structure as well as with the island culture. The structure will mirror the shape of the sea turtle, a creature deeply rooted in Grand Cayman history, as an important food source and integral to the economy of the islands. The structure will feature a flattened curved shape that extends outward into paddle-like arms. There will be three A-frames incorporated into the central part of the design which reflect the three Cayman islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.
In the March 10, 2015 Media Release Honorable Moses Kirkconnell, Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism states, “I believe the public will be happy with the contemporary design of the new airport expansion which artistically reflects the three Cayman Islands.”
Groundbreaking Ceremony at ORIA
A groundbreaking ceremony took place on September 10, 2015 to mark the beginning of Phase 1 to this exciting and important event for Grand Cayman. In his address, Cayman Islands Airports Authority’s CEO Albert Anderson confirmed the first phase is scheduled for completion by March 2016 and will cover, “the construction of a new outgoing check baggage preparation area, checked baggage screen room, office space and second floor mechanical room.”
Phase II of the airport expansion project will follow immediately after with several sub-phases, and will include the, “expansion of the departure lounge and check-in lobby followed closely by renovation of the existing departure lounge and check-in lobby,”confirmed Anderson.
By performing the expansion in incremental portions, the airport is aiming to minimize disruption to travelers while maintaining security. Upon completion in the summer of 2018 the expansion will include a larger arrivals area to the east, construction of new arches, and a series of internal renovations.
Travel to Grand Cayman during Airport Renovations
If you have vacation plans in Grand Cayman for next spring, please be aware of potential new signage to guide you through the airport as Phase I gets underway. Soon Grand Cayman will invite travelers through the doors of its contemporary international gateway inspired by cultural significance. A fitting welcome to a memorable vacation in a beautiful setting.
For further information, contact Kafara Augustine, Business Development and Marketing Manager, Cayman Islands Airports Authority’s via email Kafara.Augustine@caymanairports.com
Lacovia Condos on Seven Mile Beach would like to thank the Grand Cayman Airport Authority for providing permission to use the renderings of the airport expansion project and for their generosity in providing the photo of the groundbreaking ceremony and details of CEO, Albert Anderson’s speech.