Increases in cargo shipping and passenger arrivals to St. Kitts and Nevis are positive signs that the economy is beginning to gain steam as the COVID-19 health emergency is moving to an endemic.
Minister responsible for Ports, the Honourable Marsha Henderson, shared the positive news on Sunday, September 26, 2022, as she addressed the congregation of the Antioch Baptist Church. The Minister and staff from the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA) worshipped at the church to mark SCASPA’s 29 years of service to the public.
At the seaport, Honourable Henderson, who also is the Minister of Tourism, said that cruise tourism is expected to return to pre-pandemic numbers barring any unforeseen external shocks.
“There has been an uptick in cargo imports which is a clear indication that the economy is steadily, albeit slowly, getting back to 2019 levels,” she stated. “Cruise operations have resumed with a bang. I’m pleased to announce that for the 2022-2023 cruise season, barring any cancellations, we expect over 350 calls and just over 900,000 passengers. Things are indeed looking up, and we expect that 2023-2024 cruise season we would once again surpass the one million passenger mark.”
It was reported that American Airlines and LIAT have increased the frequency of flights coming into the R. L. Bradshaw International Airport while Delta and British Airways maintain a regular schedule. SKY High Airlines is providing passengers with added capacity by utilizing a larger aircraft, while Air Canada is expected to resume service to St. Kitts in November 2022.
The Minister also reported that upgrades to the R. L. B. International Airport are well underway. The installation of a new air conditioning system is 90 percent complete, a new escalator is being installed and plans to rehabilitate the tarmac are underway.
“Better days are ahead church,” said Honourable Henderson. “We have all been hard hit by the pandemic. The challenges may seem insurmountable, but we remain resilient.”
SCASPA has plans to modernize and streamline operations at the seaports and redevelop the airport master plan with a view of constructing a new modern international airport with enhanced capacity.