In December 2008, the initial meeting was held to launch the first Master Plan 2008-2028 for Sir Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica’s second largest city in terms of population and the tourist capital of the country. It was Ineco’s first job, completed in 2009, at an airport that receives more and more visitors every year, almost four million in 2017.
The growth of the airport in recent years has required various expansion and modernisation projects implemented by its operator, the company MBJ Airports, which was granted a 30-year concession by the Jamaican government in 2003. Over the course of these ten years, Ineco has collaborated with MBJ not only by producing the Master Plan, which it updated in 2015, but also by providing various specialized engineering and consulting services for both land and airside facilities.
The company is currently overseeing resurfacing work on the airport’s taxiways, which is being carried out in stages so as not to disrupt operations. Although other improvements were made previously to the runway, also under Ineco’s guidance, (see the box at the end of the article), this is the first time that Sangster International Airport has undergone a project of such magnitude, with work also being carried out during the day.
This required careful planning and maximum attention to operational safety, and Ineco, in collaboration with the operator, was responsible for providing the contractor’s personnel with specific training before the work started in 2017. Ineco also advised MBJ Airports on the design of the public tender for the works, which are expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Check-in area refurbishment
On the landside, the check-in area, which covers some 5,000 m2 and boasts 100 counters, will also be modernised thanks to an Ineco design and architecture project. The design is inspired by the natural environment of the island, which attracts holidaymakers –mainly from the US and Canada, but also from the rest of the world– who come for its beautiful beaches, the warmth of its tropical climate and its lush natural surroundings. Diving is one of the most popular tourist activities, and the airport space has been designed to convey the seabed and coral reefs. The new design uses modern and sustainable materials to refurbish an area that shows signs of intensive use and the passage of time.
The floor will be covered with large rectangular tiles made of a special porcelain stoneware for high traffic, with a polished sand-coloured finish. The existing check-in hall has different heights and irregular planes that need to be made more uniform in the design, so two suspended ceiling solutions were chosen to fulfil this purpose, and, at the same time, differentiate the various areas: a suspended metal ceiling consisting of corrugated aluminium panels that evoke ocean waves in the check-in area, and another suspended ceiling consisting of vertical mineral-fibre slats arranged in a pattern of zigzag lines, which highlights the access routes to the domestic flight area and security controls. These materials form a lightweight and sturdy suspended ceiling that covers and adapts to the existing height differences, and leaves room for the installation of an efficient and completely renovated LED lighting system and upgraded HVAC.
The use of BIM tools has played a vital role in the client’s decision making
As different building services elements (fire protection, HVAC, electricity, etc.) cluttered certain walls and columns, a die-cut sheet metal wall covering solution in three shades of blue was selected, evoking the bubbles and the tones of the Caribbean Sea. The Ineco project also includes a complete refurbishment of the toilets on the landside, with improved accessibility and equipment. It should be noted that the use of BIM tools has played a vital role in the client’s decisions to select the materials, colours and designs from among the different alternatives.
Ten years of Ineco in Jamaica
Air transport is doubly important for Jamaica, as it is for all islands, especially since tourism is its main industry. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2017, it contributed a total of more than 30% of the national GDP, in addition to generating 318,500 jobs (direct and indirect).
Residents and business travellers mainly use the airport in the capital, Kingston, which also manages 70% of the country’s air cargo, while Sangster International Airport mostly receives tourist traffic. The work carried out by Ineco since 2008 includes planning, support for the development of tenders, site supervision and management, and project drafting.
- Master Plan (2008-2009). A Master Plan is a planning tool that makes it possible to anticipate the needs of the airport in the short, medium and long term, on the basis of different demand scenarios. Ineco boasts extensive experience in this field, acquired in Spain’s 46 airports and abroad. It is currently working on one for King Fahd International Airport in Damman, Saudi Arabia.
- Project for a new fire station (2012-13). The runway improvement work required the relocation of the airport’s fire station. Ineco studied different sites and finally decided to locate it north of the runway, next to the security fence. The new building was designed with 1,529 m2 of floorspace and an outdoor parking area for five fire engines. The building includes offices, rest areas, storage rooms and workshops, as well as an access road to the runway for emergency vehicles.
- Project drafting, monitoring and supervision of various works on the runway and the construction of a new fire station (2012-2014). The company drafted the project for extending the airport runway in the threshold 25; the project for resurfacing the perimeter road and constructing the fire station and its access road from the runway; and undertook monitoring and supervision of these works, which were carried out at night (in seven-hour shifts per night).
- Update of the Master Plan (2015-2016). Every Master Plan requires periodic updating based on the evolution of demand. Ineco started the updating of the Sangster Master Plan in August 2015, works that lasted for 16 months.
- Design of the airfield’s resurfacing works (2015-2016). After the resurfacing of the runway in 2013, certain areas of taxiway and apron still needed improvement, and Ineco was responsible for drafting the preliminary and detailed design projects. The execution of these works started in July 2017 and they are scheduled to end in December 2018.