– additional work needed on South West runway, as delays continueDespite promises that the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) expansion project would be completed by 2017, it seems that only one component of the project — the northeast expansion of the runway — will meet that deadline.Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson informed the National Assembly that the northeast expansion of the runway will be completed by December, but allAn artist’s impression of the expanded airport at Timehriother components would have to be completed by next year.“Work on the airport expansion project continued in 2017,” he said. “Final completion and commissioning of the facility will take place in 2018, with the newer arrival (terminal) to be completed in the first quarter of 2018.“The departure terminal is scheduled for completion shortly after. The extension of the runway to the northeast will be completed by December 2017, and completion of the southwest expansion will be completed by December 2018.”Patterson noted that one area on the southwest runway had experienced “slippages”. As such, he said, the contractor was asked to do additional work from the foundation upwards to mitigate any safety concerns.The Minister noted that overall completion of the project is at 77 per cent. According to Patterson, the departure terminal is 50 per cent completed, while the new arrival terminal is 70 per cent completed. The northeast runway, he noted, is 95 per cent completed, while the southern runway is 60 per cent completed. The US$150 million project was scheduled to be completed within 32 months of its commencement in 2013. However, Thorne noted, the deadline was extended to December 1, 2017, since the project would have experienced several delays.In 2012, Guyana, under the leadership of former President Donald Ramotar, had secured a US$138 million loan from the China Exim (Export-Import) Bank to fund the expansion and modernisation project, for which the Guyana Government has injected some US$12 million.However, when the coalition Government came in to power in 2015, the project was put on hold, but following discussions between Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and the contracting company China Harbour Engineering Corporation (CHEC), it was announced that the project would be continued.Last year, Project Manager of the Public Infrastructure Ministry, Carmichael Thorne, had been optimistic of the project being completed by 2017. At a project update briefing, Thorne noted that of the US$150 million, only US$37.3 million had been expended to date. Of this amount, some US$33 million was spent by CHEC, which included US$1.9 million of local funds put up by the Government of Guyana. As it relates to the works being done, the Infrastructure Ministry’s project manager told media operatives that while the initial plan was for the northern end of the runway to be extended, because of difficulties with the terrain, a decision was taken to extend the runway from both the northern and southern ends, in order to minimise the cost.