By Makeda Mikael
Yesterday, Thursday September 14, 2023, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda met with AHI (Antigua Hangars Inc), a local family business owned by Makeda Mikael & Sons. The discussions centered on the way forward regarding the restoration of the lands of V C Bird International Airport (VCBIA) from private owners, Antigua Hangars Inc and CalvinAir Helicopters, where AHI made representation to the Cabinet for their continued developments on leased lands, including Private Public Partnerships to include government.
The Runway 10 Development plan includes assurances given by the Afreximbank, with the expertise of AriseIIP, referred to the country by the bank, that the Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and other developments would be seriously considered for funding, expert advice and participation. The plans are based on economic value to the people and government of Antigua and Barbuda, and supplying the high revenue aviation services currently on demand in the Caribbean.
The Barbuda Aviation Support is planned for the plots overlooking the Barnacle area, and includes Hangarage and Support for the many jets which will serve the developments in Barbuda, while the sister island develops its own aviation support system which could take years.
The much-touted MRO which the Government expects to establish is also part of the designated developments, which is a great revenue earner, and could hasten to serve the mid-Atlantic route, and also establish after nine years the Emirates Air Services Agreement. The MRO could also be the single best investment for LIAT as an additional revenue earner.
AHI has also sought the support of the Cabinet in their proposing a large section of the development lands as an investment in the new LIAT, as part of a greater initiative in carving out a private sector investment package to encourage OECS private investment in LIAT.
The meeting was alert, and supported by a power point presentation that sought to map out the aviation career of thirty-three years at VCBIA, establishing a small aircraft hub through Ports Services Ltd; FBO 2000 Antigua Ltd; Bizjet-to-Yacht Antigua Inc (fuel); and now, Antigua Hangars Inc. (Lands/development).
The Prime Minister, having recused himself from the meeting, it was capably concluded by Minister Steadroy Benjamin, AG.
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