By Orville Williams
Developers of the Peace, Love and Happiness (PLH) project on Barbuda will be granted permission to build and manage a fixed-base operation (FBO) at the new Barbuda airport.
This will be part of the wider aviation project on the island, which includes the completion of a new runway and terminal – responsibilities shared between PLH and the government.
FBO is the term used for entities allowed to execute various private aviation services at airports, such as departure/arrival lounges, flight planning and weather assistance, aircraft refuelling and, in some cases, aircraft maintenance.
Cabinet spokesperson, Information Minister Melford Nicholas disclosed during yesterday’s post-Cabinet press briefing that the FBO at the Barbuda airport will be focused on passenger transportation and indirect aircraft services.
“No aircraft maintenance; it’s purely on the basis of being able to manage the type of clientele that they have who may wish to travel to Barbuda on their own private jets and how they would actually manage and control those in the airspace.
“So, it’s no different to the FBOs that are at VC Bird Airport at this moment and such will apply,” Nicholas said.
He spoke further on the economic impact the development is expected to have on the island, as the government looks forward to its completion.
“The government is very excited about that new potential in Barbuda, because when it is complete, I think it’s going to change dramatically the fortunes of the economy of Barbuda and so we are looking forward to a degree, to the completion of this project with some excitement,” he added.
Despite earlier plans by the government for quick completion, Nicholas also disclosed that the project could go up to late next year.
“The estimates are that both facilities – in terms of the Barbuda air terminal and the FBO – may not become available before the last quarter of 2021, but in any event, the financial and the legal obligations that came with it are to be tidied up just now and that was the effect of the team of legal professionals that visited Cabinet [on Wednesday] for final advice and instructions, which they were given,” Nicholas explained.
Observer tried to contact a PLH spokesperson for comment on the recent disclosures but, up to press time, our efforts were unsuccessful.
Construction of the airport on the sister isle has been fraught with controversy from the outset, with campaigners expressing concerns about the environmental impact.