The Central Planning Authority of the Cayman Islands has reportedly approved the proposal to extend the runway at Owen Roberts International Airport.

Expected to entail an investment of $30m, the project will extend the runway’s west end by 870ft and build a new apron at its north end.

The apron is intended to provide extra space for aircraft to turn-around in and to allow one aircraft to wait in while another departs.

This extension is part of the authority’s plan to increase the airport’s capacity, enabling it to handle large aircraft such as the Boeing B777.

Central Planning Authority CEO Albert Anderson said: “The configuration will make operations more efficient, enabling the reduction of the minimum time between commercial jets taking off from four minutes to two minutes.”

He added: “The average time between landing and take-off can be improved by 50% or more. We expect 50% improvement or two minutes, to be the worst-case timing. This is a very significant improvement on a busy day.”

Work will also include filling the ponds at the west side of the runway. The ponds contain mosquito fish, crested goby and tarpon.

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Following a recommendation from the Department of Environment, the pond must be gradually filled in and then the fish must be relocated.

Regarding residents’ concerns about noise levels, Anderson stated that while the airport’s master plan includes monitoring noise levels, it is yet to be implemented.

To reduce noise levels, a blast wall will be built along the airport side of the road.