Rendering of the passenger terminal at Argyle AirportConstruction of a passenger terminal will begin later this year at the $240 million Argyle Airport now being built on St. Vincent in the Grenadines.

The new airport, slated to open in the spring of 2012, will replace the existing E.T. Joshua Airport.

The facility is designed to handle approximately 1.4 million passengers per year, nearly four times the capacity of the current airport.

"The full realization of the potential of our country's growth and development hinges on this international airport," said Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Glen Beache, minister of tourism, described the new airport as a "game changer" for the destination as it will "finally allow us to attract direct flights from major North American and European cities."

The current airport's short runway can only handle small intra-island planes.

The Argyle Airport is being built on 175 acres with a 9,000-foot-long paved runway and will be able to accommodate 747-700s.

The project broke ground two years ago, and the earthworks phase now underway involves moving three mountains, spanning a river and filling two valleys to level the site.

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