The project wasn’t one of Odebrecht Construction’s biggest, but the Coral Gables, Fla.-based contractor’s sense of pride couldn’t have been higher after it completed repairs at Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, enabling commercial carriers to resume service to and from Haiti’s capital beginning Feb. 19.

Odebrecht Helps Reopen Haiti Airport

Representatives of Dallas-based American Airlines and Odebrecht toured the devastated city four days after the Jan. 12 earthquake. According to Odebrecht, the contractor immediately assembled a team to repair and rebuild the airport’s commercial terminal. The contractor is currently working at Miami International Airport’s North Terminal, where American Airlines is the primary carrier.

American Airlines gave Odebrecht just three weeks to repair the airport’s departures and arrivals terminal, as well as refurbish the carrier’s own cargo facility for passenger check-in and customs and immigration services.

For departures and arrivals, Odebrecht crews repaired three floors of an existing building that had sustained minor damage to provide 23,000 sq ft of terminal space. Repairs also were made to three passenger loading bridges, three elevators and three escalators. The contractor also rebuilt American’s existing cargo facility into a one-floor, 13,000-sq-ft processing terminal.

According to Odebrecht, no construction supplies were available in Haiti. American Airlines’ local staff was able to procure materials from San Juan, Puerto Rico, assisted by the contractor’s crews in Haiti. Items were then barged to the Dominican Republic, where Odebrecht has existing operations, and then trucked to Port-au-Prince.

Odebrecht had four of its own staff on the ground in Haiti, and three others supporting the project from Miami. The firm also mobilized 15 subcontractor workers, including carpenters from Commercial Interior Contractors of Miami, and electricians from Houston-based Fisk Electric Co.’s Miami offices.

The contractor also trained 30 Haiti-based baggage handlers in basic construction techniques and employed them as laborers.

“This has been a genuine labor of love,” Antonio Pinto, Odebrecht’s project executive, said in a press statement. “Odebrecht is honored to be a part of this important achievement.”

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