The Sir Grantley Adams International Airport is 12.9km from the centre of the capital city Bridgetown in the south-eastern portion of the parish of Christ Church, close to the southern tip of Barbados; the area is officially known as Seawell. The
airport has direct services to destinations in the US, Canada, Central America, South America, Africa and Europe and operates as a major gateway to the Eastern Caribbean.
The airport has excellent access to the ABC highway / highway 7 heading towards the capital and locations to the north and west coast of the island and so has a well placed ground transport infrastructure for passengers.
The airport is currently undergoing a $100m upgrade and expansion by the government, which will see the addition of a brand new arrivals hall adjacent to the current arrivals / departures terminals and the repaving of the main runway, and will
generally bringing the airport’s infrastructure into a modern configuration.
The upgrade of the airport has included the expansion of the terminal building, refurbishment and remedial work to the runway and new parking facilities ($4.9m).
The instigator of the project was the Barbadian government and the architect was Queens Quay (Q2) Architects of Ontario, Canada. The contractor and project manager for the project was Sypher Mueller International of Ontario, Canada. The upgrade was
completed and construction of the terminal building finished in the third quarter of 2006, ready for the grand opening in October 2006.
The government has also created a new company to manage the airport as a commercial entity. This organisation will be known as Grantley Adams International Airport Inc and is fully owned by the Government of Barbados, but will be governed by a board
The new arrivals terminal is a newly constructed building to the west of the existing terminal and provides more than a 50% increase in space for immigration processing. The new building also includes a new baggage claim area that is almost twice the
size of the previously existing baggage area. There are five large carousels, which provide sufficient capacity to process the passenger load from five wide-bodied jets every 20 minutes.
The arrivals terminal adds more than 70,000ft² of floor space to the airport. The new departure lounge gives passengers an increased level of comfort with great views and a new retail concourse, which is housed in the area that was previously
occupied by the arrivals hall.
The departure lounge contains the gate seating area, the retail concourse and the airside food court.
The new airport terminal has three times the amount of shopping and also a range of new restaurants. Passengers have access to four different types
of food, a bar and a gourmet coffee shop. In the public area (landside) there is a restaurant, bar and coffee shop, all of which are centred in the new landside courtyard.
The check-in area has also being improved; the counters are equipped with Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE). What this means is that any airline can operate from any counter, which will allow airlines to use more counters to cope with peaks in
demand. The passenger check-in process will be much quicker and more efficient than it has been in the past.
The airport expansion project has also included a number of membrane roofs (or tents) that form part of the structure. These translucent tents allow the natural lighting to filter into the terminal during the day, thus reducing the energy costs of the
terminal. At night they are illuminated from within, providing a dramatic visual effect on approach to the airport. Other enhancements to the terminal building include a new medical facility, a new chapel on the mezzanine level and new executive sky
The completion of the current project is only phase one of the construction intended at the airport. Plans are already far advanced for the addition to the terminal of four new passenger boarding bridges.
Bridges have always been part of the development plan at Grantley Adams; the construction of the four bridges will form part of the island’s preparations for the International Cricket Council’s Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Other improvements in the planning stages include expansions in the aircraft parking apron and further expansions of the departure lounge to accommodate the growing fly-cruise traffic.
To east of the main airport terminal, on the old Spencers Plantation, is the proposed site for the new British Airways Concorde Museum. The museum is to become a part of the new proposed expanded airport grounds.
British Airways has granted the Government of Barbados one of their retired Concorde aircraft, to be put on permanent display in the island of Barbados. The design company Q2 has entered a museum and exhibition facility design to the Government of
Barbados for the new aircraft museum.
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