ROSEAU –– The Douglas-Charles Airport which was severely damaged and lost every piece of equipment in the floods caused by Tropical Storm Erika two weeks ago, will start receiving commercial flights in a few days.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says regional airline LIAT, which successfully completed a test flight, has indicated that by Monday, or Tuesday at the latest, it will resume service to the airport on the north-east coast of the island.
This follows the removal of debris from the runway and the airport terminal which were battered by the floodwaters, and the all-clear given by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA).
“The CEO of LIAT, Mr David Evans, and the director general of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority and a contingent from that authority and also the chief pilot and other senior staff of LIAT were all at the airport doing their own independent assessment and investigation and both are satisfied that the Douglas-Charles Airport is at a state where commercial flights can be channelled through,” Skerrit said during a media briefing yesterday evening.
Skerrit had previously indicated it would take about EC$39.5 million to get the Douglas-Charles Airport back into full operation.
The prime minister used the opportunity of yesterday’s update on tourism and travel post-Erika to give kudos to LIAT for sticking by Dominica and demonstrating its commitment to and care for the island.
LIAT, as well as the Puerto Rican-based Seaborne Airlines, had increased flights into Guadeloupe to facilitate travel into and out of Dominica via ferry services since the storm hit.
The country’s smaller Canefield Airport continues to be operational for helicopter and small aircraft, with WINAIR, Caribbean Helicopters and Hummingbird Air offering scheduled and charter services.
All seaports remain functional and open, and the L’Express Des Iles ferry service, which brings passengers from the islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and St Lucia
is running. Meantime, many of Dominica’s tourism sites and attractions are open for business. Some of them had not been affected by Erika. Additional, as far as visitor accommodation is concerned, 72 of 94 properties are currently operational.
Almost all roads in Dominica are passable, as temporary bypasses have been put in place where there were damages, to facilitate travel until permanent repairs are carried out.
Utilities have also been restored to most consumers. Water has been restored to 70 per cent of the island; electricity have been restored to 97 per cent of the island; telecommunications (primarily cell sites) has been restored to approximately 98 per cent of the island; and television and Internet service has been restored to the majority of the island.