Happy New Year and warmest greetings as we begin 2017!
The past year, 2016, has been another challenging but successful year for the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ) and NMIA Airports Ltd (NMIAL). Many would highlight that the preceding year, 2015, could be considered a “dream year” for the organization, filled with major developments and achievements such as: The smooth transition of organizational leadership (President and CEO) in March 2015; Visits by major heads of states, led by the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, in April 2015; Strong traffic growth of 7% for fiscal year 2014/15 from a cumulative decline of 15% over the previous 4 years; Phenomenal improvement in Airports Council International (ACI) – Airport service Quality (ASQ) ranking in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Region from 15th place in March 2015, to 2nd place in December 2015.
Airport (NMIA) was awarded by ACI World as the most improved airport in LAC for 2015 in our size category. NMIA also maintained its ASQ ranking in 2016, being rated 2nd in LAC up to the last review in September 2016. I am happy to announce that the strident moves and impressive outcomes continued in 2016 where: The Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) was awarded by ACI World as the most improved airport in LAC for 2015 in our size category. NMIA also maintained its ASQ ranking in 2016, being rated 2nd in LAC up to the last review in September 2016. NMIA was nominated by World Travel Awards, along with the Sangster International Airport (SIA) and other airports in the region, for the Caribbean’s Leading Airport award.
SIA won the award and as such we congratulate the team at MBJ Airports Limited (MBJ) in retaining the award for Jamaica. In addition, the team at NMIA Airports Limited (NMIAL) feels sufficiently recognized for being in the select group of outstanding regional airports. The Government changed in February,and so were the Boards of AAJ and NMIAL. We welcome the new Boards as they seamlessly continued to support and guide the forward move of the organization. We also thank the previous Boards for their support and direction, which aided in our achievements.
The impressive traffic growth continued, with a 6% out-turn for fiscal year 2015/16. We therefore posted an all-time best financial performance for the organization, driven by strong growth in traffic and the significant aeronautical rate increase, which combined to generate a phenomenal 41% growth in revenue for the Group. I must recognize the contribution of MBJ, our concessioned airport,to these outstanding results.
Our airports were spared from the horrors of Hurricane Matthew during the year and for this we give thanks, while we empathize with our neighbors who were not so fortunate.
Our NMIAL netball team went all the way to the finals of the Business House Netball Intermediate ‘B’ League. NMIAL was awarded with the runner-up place in a hard-fought match, with a score of 41 to 43 in extra time. We congratulate our netballers for their stellar performance. I wish to highlight that the achievements of the year were not accomplished by the efforts of a single organization. As such, I wish to thank our parent Ministry (Transport and Mining), and the Honorable Minister; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, our Board of Directors, the Management and Staff of AAJ and NMIAL as well as the Board, Management and Staff of MBJ Airports Limited for the dedicated service given throughout the year.
I also want to express sincere gratitude to our key stakeholders (the Airlines; Concessionaires; Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority; Jamaica Tourist Board; Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association; Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency; Customs; Min. of Health; Min. of Agriculture; the Police; Port Security Corp and the private security firms; Manpower Maintenance Services; and the many others), whose combined efforts have enabled us to seamlessly deliver the high quality of service to which our customers (our travelers and the general public) have become accustomed to receiving.
For the New Year, 2017, there is much to anticipate and we are looking forward to the challenge. Some of the major activities will include: (a) The government’s plan to re-launch the NMIA Public Private Partnership (PPP) transaction in January 2017, with Commercial Close before the end of the calendar year, and Financial Close around the end of Fiscal Year 2017/2018; (b) MBJ’s plan to upgrade the airport terminal and extend the runway at the Sangster International Airport; (c) Initiatives, in partnership with key stakeholders, to optimize the operations of our domestic aerodromes and build general aviation; and (d) Plans to further upgrade the Ian Fleming International Airport to accommodate larger aircraft as well as facilitate increased commercial operations in support of the local tourism industry.
All these strategies, plans and activities will require the continued close working relationship with our many partners, stakeholders and clients. I wish to encourage everyone to proceed into the New Year with great anticipation and readiness to addresses the inevitable challenges, towards successfully attaining our respective goals. Once again, I wish for you and your family a peaceful, pleasant and productive 2017.
Audley Deidrick AAJ President & NMIAL CEO