CHL injunction denied

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By Elesha George

Billionaire businessman and owner of Luxury Hangar Holdings Ltd, Calvin Ayre has been given permission to reclaim his hangar at the V.C Bird International Airport.

This comes after High Court Justice Rosalyn Wilkinson refused to uphold an application for an injunction filed by Caribbean Helicopters Limited (CHL), that would prevent Luxury Hangar Holdings from restricting access to its aircraft storage facility.

The injunction, which was filed in the High Court of Antigua and Barbuda on September 20th, 2019, made a claim for CHL to access Plot 100, despite owing Ayre rent for more than nine months.

In a press statement sent to OBSERVER, the Ayre Group said CHL sought “to prevent Luxury Hangar and its principals from taking occupation of the hangar”.

However, in a ruling handed down on Thursday, October 10th, 2019 by Justice Wilkinson, the injunctive relief sought by Caribbean Helicopters was denied and Caribbean Helicopters was given 14 days to remove its possessions from the hangar and deliver up the hangar to Luxury Hangar Holdings Ltd.

According to Ayre Group’s statement, the judge ruled that Caribbean Helicopters had no legal right to remain in occupation of the hangar.

The ruling of the Court, it said, also highlighted the contradiction in the evidence of Tanner Jones, the new CEO for CHL, who had asserted in his affidavit that Caribbean Helicopters had been earning annual net profits of EC$2 million, when in fact the company’s audited financial statements had revealed that the company had been operating at a significant loss over successive years.

Mark Fleming, the Aviation Manager of Luxury Hangar, said that the ruling of the High Court “represents a complete vindication of Luxury Hangar and its owner, Mr Calvin Ayre”.

Without stating the actual payment, he noted that the award of costs by the Court against Caribbean Helicopters was gratifying.

Meanwhile, it is not clear if CHL will take additional steps to secure the hangar. When contacted Jones told OBSERVER media “to shoot him an email with the questions”.

The basis of the dispute stems back to December 2018, when Caribbean Star Hangar was sold to Luxury Hangar Holdings Ltd, after billionaire Calvin Ayre purchased Parcel 100 at the V.C. Bird International Airport from the Stanford Liquidators.

The hangar, which had previously been leased to CHL by disgraced financier, Allen Stanford, remained under its lease the Stanford liquidators remained in CHL’s possession, until September 14th 2019, when Luxury Hangar took physical possession of its hangar, in what it told OBSERVER was “an effort to safeguard its assets.”

Caribbean Helicopters was at the time reportedly indebted to the previous owner for rent arrears of thousands of dollars and as a result, a Notice to Quit and give up the property was served by Luxury Hangar in March 2019. Caribbean Helicopters was given three months to vacate the property but, at the expiration of the Notice period, the Ayre group said CHL refused and continued its occupation, in total disregard of the rights of Luxury Hangar as the legal owner.

Luxury Hangar, in July 2019, commenced legal proceedings against Caribbean Helicopters in the High Court, claiming that the company is insolvent and therefore has been unable to pay its debts.

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