December 4 2018  |  Airlines & Airports

Suriname to seek loan from China to modernize airport

By Ronnie Lovler

The government of Suriname plans to seek a US$205 million loan to expand and modernize the country’s international airport.

President Desi Bouterse is requesting Parliament approve his proposal to seek the funds from Exim Bank of China for the improvements to Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (JAP), according to Caribbean News Now.

The Suriname constitution limits government borrowing and Bouterse wants to amend that law to raise the obligatory national debt ceiling to cover airport financing.

Suriname seeks to make Paramaribo a hub in the region and has determined the current airport infrastructure is unable to meet the needs for increased passenger traffic and flight movement.

Improvements planned include a new terminal that connects the arrival and departure facilities, and doubling the current airport size. The terminal will have four passenger bridges, and efficient and modern transfer facilities.

But at the same time, the airport improvements must meet international safety standards as laid out by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

A new fire station will be built to meet the international standards as well.

Included in the plans is the re-enclosure of the entire airport area to comply with international standards.

Bouterse said that his government is opening Suriname to tourism and will conclude various aviation treaties.

The draft law requests that the minister of finance authorize the loan. Permission is necessary because the ceiling for borrowing has already been maximized according to the constitution.

Suriname doesn’t want to remain behind while other countries in the region are modernizing their airports to afford travellers more comfort and better services, said JAP airport director Vijay Chotkhan.

Chotkhan said the loan is being negotiated with China Harbour Engineering Corporation.

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