February 13, 2008
The Vance Amory International Airport in Newcastle will be back in full operation by the end of today when the first American Airlines aircraft re commences flights into Nevis.
Nevis Air and Sea Port Authority (NASPA) Manager Mr. Spencer Hanley made the announcement shortly after midday when an overseas technician assisted by local personnel completed repairs and gave the green light on the fire tender which had been out of commission in late January.
“It is my pleasure to tell you that a moment ago the fire truck at Vance W. Amory International Airport was returned to full service and we have already notified the Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority that is the official agency that will indicate to the world that we are back.
“At about 10 past 12 today we started the truck and gave it the first test run. We drove up and down the runway and then late on we had to fill the tank with 1,500 gallons of water and then we did another test run this time it was for us to shoot out the water and the foam to make sure that everything is working fine. So I am happy to announce that everything is working fine,” he said.
Mr. Hanley noted that due to the broken fire tender, the Vance W. Amory International had been subject to a down grade in its level of from a Level 5 to a Level 3 and therefore could only facilitate smaller aircraft.
Notwithstanding, since the NASPA general Manager received the nod of approval from the mechanics, he had notified American Airline personnel in St. Kitts who had indicated that the late afternoon American Eagle flight would be routed to Nevis.
He also indicated that the fire tender now had a completely rebuilt transmission with several brand new parts within the engine which was believed would hold for some time but plans were already afoot to source another truck.
“The truck now has a completely re built transmission and lots of brand new parts within the body of the engine so we believe that this truck will hold up for some time. We hope and pray that we never have to repeat this. I believe the plans are on the way to get a back up vehicle in the near future.
“I just want to let you know that a fire truck is not an item that you walk into a show room and you pick up like you would buy a car. It is something that is custom built and it takes approximately six to eight months for the truck to get completed so again we have already begun the process to source another truck so that we would never find ourselves in this position again,” he said.
Mr. Hanley took the opportunity to thank all the personnel who he said worked tirelessly through the crisis to return the Airport to its fully functional status. He made special mention to the taxi drivers and ferry operators who had exercise patience and who had also formed part of the team “while we were struggling to get back on our feet. Now that we are back am really thankful to all of you and again I want to ask for your continued patience,” he said.