By Robert A Emmanuel
The government continues to stand behind Antigua Airways and its principal shareholder, Marvellous Mike, who has reported to the government that he is exploring various options to resuscitate his “defunct” airline.
Antigua Airways—a partnership between the government and the Nigerian printing serving entrepreneur—has been declared “practically defunct” by Prime Minister Gaston Browne after a series of incidents that had made the air route between Nigeria and Antigua temporarily untenable.
Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lionel Hurst, told reporters that the government stood fully behind the Nigerian in this venture.
“It is open to him as he has not done any wrong; it is others that did some bad things which resulted in almost six hundred Cameroonians being stranded here in Antigua; Marvellous Mike was not part of that operation,” he said.
Hurst said that “if [Marvellous Mike] can find those wealthy people to fill those seats on the aircraft and also hotel rooms in Antigua” he would be welcomed.
During a recent press conference, Minister of Information Melford Nicholas did acknowledge that some of the Africans who were stranded in Antigua did indicate that they entered the country through Antigua Airways.
However, beyond the issue of the stranded Africans remaining in the country, and a chartered flight which the government maintained took advantage of the agreement with Antigua Airways, it remains to be seen whether the airline would be able to obtain an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) which limits the airline to chartered operations.