Fri 22nd Jul 2011

Argyle airport - a dead duck?

People in favour of the Argyle airport must come to terms with the fact that the site has many inherent problems and is an unsafe site.

No matter how many adverts the ULP regime puts on tv and radio and how many buses of school children they take there, the argyle site will always be unsafe. No engineer can override the very serious and dangerous flight safety hazards Mother Nature has endowed upon the Argyle airport site.

The most sensible economic approach is to abort the argyle airport project now, rather than waste tens of millions of dollars on a terminal, and then be forced to abandon the project in the future. The proposed construction of a terminal building is pointless ULP propaganda and another illustration of how this ULP regime throws money down the drain.

The Argyle airport Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), commissioned by the ULP, clearly shows the inherent dangers of the Argyle airport site. It illustrates that:

  • there are very strong dangerous perpendicular crosswinds at Argyle. This is a very serious flight safety hazard;
  • the runway will be unsafe for landing by instruments alone as the runway will be too narrow;
  • the culvert system the ULP are using on the Yambou river, could be at risk of blockage during bad weather. A heavy flood could turn the culvert into a massive dam, which on breaking could destroy the runway. The EIA was against a culvert, instead saying the Yambou river remain in its original river bed;
  • the argyle site has a history of marine submergence and intermittent uplift due to tectonic shifting;
  • the proposed runway construction ends in the sea;
  • the salinity of the atmosphere is very high for aircraft parking for long periods and will damage aircrafts;
  • it is questionable whether an aircraft can survive a tyre burst on landing with the gusty crosswind and two rock faces on both sides of the runway; the runway is very low and over time, with climate change, the runway could be submerged by seawater;
  • it is unlikely that Argyle will get the required category one or two licence needed to operate international passengers flights, because of the major inherent flight safety hazards that are apparent.

Given all these dangers - and not all have been listed above - the argyle airport should be aborted now. It will be a waste to spend millions of dollars at Argyle and highly irresponsible, given that the SVG economy is so weak. Is the ULP regime waiting for a hole to appear before they abort the project?

The airport will not benefit SVG people, especially the poor. At a time when poor families struggle to feed their children and pay their light bill, what use is an airport? The poor cannot afford a plane ticket. What use is an airport for children who don't finish primary school or fail the Common Entrance Exam?

Oil prices are increasing and Caribbean-wide tourism is decreasing. Even Buccament Bay Resort is laying-off staff because they don't get enough guests.

No amount of ULP regime propaganda and no engineer ' Taiwanese, Cuban, Iranian or Venezuelan ' can overcome the very serious flight safety hazards Mother Nature has endowed upon the Argyle site.

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