It’s the news local plane spotter in Trinidad have been waiting on for quite some time. In one announcement, the Airport Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (AATT) has confirmed in a release that it will facilitate the development of a dedicated and secured area for local plane spotters and aircraft enthusiasts at the Piarco International Airport. An additional area is also being converted at the south ramp, giving spotters access to a secure lounge.
In an article published by the Trinidad Guardian, AATT General Manager Hayden Newton told the newspaper that an area on the 2nd floor previously occupied by a pizza restaurant will soon be re-developed into a secured viewing area. This area will eventually be extended, giving decent coverage of the eastern side of the airport’s operations. Unfortunately the article caused some confusion as the title alluded to a “waving gallery” being in the works.
The AATT eventually released a statement, clarifying its intentions, saying:
In an effort to manage the expectations of our customers, the [Airport] Authority wishes to advise that as a result of security protocols and modern terminal designs with boarding bridges, airports worldwide have moved away from the nostalgic waving gallery model. In this context, the Authority does not intend to create a replica of the old waving gallery concept, but we will create suitable options that will give airport users that relatable experience and access to safely view flight operations on the airfield at the Piarco International Airport.
The project is set for completion some time between late 2023 and 2024.
In a separate development, Charles Carvalho, the president of the Light Aeroplane Club – Trinidad & Tobago, also announced plans to develop an area dedicated towards aircraft enthusiasts and spotters. He is currently working with the AATT to transform the space that once served as a waving gallery at the old Piarco International Airport. In those days, friends and relatives could wave to travelers who boarded aircraft via air stairs rather than the jet bridges we are accustomed to today. The old terminal now handles cargo and other fixed based operations traffic.
According to the development plans, the decommissioned waving gallery will be transformed into a viewing lounge for plane spotters, with the inclusion of a food and drinks area, along with relevant office space. There is no time frame yet when this project will be completed, but Mr. Carvalho did say that further updates will be provided once they become available.
[Featured Photo: Bradley Wint/Gate Checked]