The Rt Hon Dr Vere Cornwall Bird Sr was the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. After his retirement, he was declared a national hero and in 1985 Antigua's international airport, which was first named Coolidge, was renamed V.C. Bird International Airport in his honor. The V.C Bird International Airport is currently in the process of constructing a new Airport Terminal in parallel to the growth in country’s tourism industry.
Tourism dominates Antigua and Barbuda's economy, accounting for nearly 60 percent of GDP and 40 percent of investment. Minister of tourism, John Maginley said, “The first and last impression you have of Antigua and Barbuda is the airport. So if we have an efficient entrance into Antigua and people leave the country comfortable we think this will all augur very well for our tourism product.”
The terminal will be 23,000m2 (247,570 ft2),with four jet bridges, Modern Security Screening Facilities, Up-to-date Passenger Processing and Monitoring Facilities and a CCTV Security System. It will contain 46 check in counters, 15 self-check in kiosks,5 Baggage carousels, a mini food court, multiple VIP lounges, Bank, Retail stores, First class lounges, Restaurants and other Facilities. The old Airport Terminal will not be fully out of use, some offices will still remain there. All incoming and departing flight will be operated out of the new facility once completed. The opening of the new Passenger Terminal Building and its supporting facilities, which was scheduled to open the last quarter of 2014, has been rescheduled to March 2015.
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda; Gaston Browne who made a tour of the new terminal has expressed his satisfaction with the progress being made in construction of the new terminal at the V.C. Bird International Airport. Prime Minister Browne said that upon completion of construction, the V.C. Bird International Airport will undoubtedly be the most advanced airport in the region.
“With the most sophisticated security and baggage control systems in the Americas, our airport once opened within the next three months, will be on par with any international airports in North America and Europe. We have increased the baggage carousels to five and will introduce four jet bridges; the first in the sub-region,” said PM Browne.