An agreement between IAM Jet Centre and the St Lucia Air and Seaports Authority that will see the FBO build and operate a new facility at Hewanorra International Airport on the Caribbean island.
The agreement is the result of a process that started three years ago and will complement the proposed master plan for Hewanorra. The hub is one of two airports in St Lucia and is positioned at the southern tip of the island in Vieux Fort.
IAM Jet Centre St Lucia will span 7,000ft² (650m²) and provide comprehensive international arrival and departure services, including in-house customs and immigration processing, bespoke passenger and crew lounge spaces, meeting rooms and modern security screening.
As part of the design, particular attention is being given to the use of energy-efficient cooling systems and window, door and lighting materials. The facility is also being built to remain functional regardless of hurricane season weather conditions. Although unaffected by the hurricanes that ravaged the Caribbean and surrounding areas in recent years, St. Lucia is near the Hurricane Belt, a part of the ocean where storms gain strength over warm and open water.
The official groundbreaking of the new FBO took place on June 13 and completion of structural work and a grand opening is slated for December of this year.
Paul Worrell, chairman of IAM Jet Centre said, “The decision to pursue development of a full service FBO for Hewanorra International Airport comes after several years of us providing supervisory support for an increasing number of visiting operators, all while making use of the public commercial terminal facilities. As St Lucia’s premium tourism and international business sectors continue to grow, the timing was right to create the dedicated FBO.
“Passengers using private jets are typically attracted to St. Lucia because of its amazing offering of luxury hotels, villas and yachting facilities in an island that boasts a bountiful geography of sandy beaches, rainforests, mountains enhanced by premium golf courses, world class horse racing and a rich Anglo-French local culture.
“IAM Jet Centre St Lucia will cater to all business aviation passengers and crew visiting the island for leisure or business, as well as a very select number of high-end passengers travelling on commercial airlines,” adds Worrell.
As with many Caribbean islands, St Lucia’s business aviation market is directly linked to the scope and pace of the local luxury tourism and international business industries. St Lucia has been focused on developing these sectors and business aviation activity has reflected this dynamism year after year. Typically, Caribbean markets are small when compared to major metropolitan regions and some airports would not justify capital investment for a dedicated FBO.
IAM Jet Centre’s team of architectural, engineering and quantity survey consultants are coordinating the construction of the new FBO, working in tandem with the commissioned St Lucian contractor. All professional services will be sourced within the Caribbean region, using their local experience and knowledge and creating jobs in the relevant areas.
IAM Jet Centre is striving to create an intimate private gateway for business aviation and premium commercial passengers visiting the island. A new commercial terminal facility is also part of Hewanorra’s improvement plan.
Daren Cenac, acting general manager at St Lucia Air and Seaports Authority said, “The construction of the new FBO is part of a 30-year master plan that will create several opportunities for both the locals and visitors to St Lucia. This is particularly true for the tourism and travel industries, specifically providing a unique experience for premium class passengers.”
Worrell added, “At IAM Jet Centre, our service philosophy is based on the simple notion that premium passengers travelling on luxurious aircraft to visit St Lucia’s amazing holiday and business offerings should enjoy an elegant standard of service and facility on arrival and departure.
“Anything less than a remarkable experience will not do. As we mark 30 years in 2019, we are both pleased and excited to be bringing our services and business aviation experience to St Lucia.”
IAM Jet Centre St. Lucia becomes the fifth full service FBO in the company’s portfolio, joining Barbados, Montego Bay, Grenada and Tortola. This regional presence includes a further 20 island network locations that provide IAM customers with a range of service and fuel options.