Antigua & Barbuda Aviation Special Economic Zone
By Makeda Mikael
Once again major plans are afoot for the development of Runway 10, the aviation dedicated peninsular, made famous by FBO 2000 Antigua Ltd., the first Full Service FBO in the Eastern Caribbean, and the first black owned & operated FBO in the world.
The plans by Runway Ten Development Company Inc. include an MRO, long opined by the Government and other Private Sector operatives, as the next best step to carry forward Antigua & Barbuda to the next level of aviation.
To establish an international space which will attract long haul travel from exotic and travel conscious places like the Middle East and far East, Antigua & Barbuda will have to expand its investment and get some real ‘skin in the game’ to attract long range aircraft.
The Caribbean has to uplift itself, if the potential which this prolifically attractive chain of islands exudes, is to continue to attract the wealthy, the famous and the royals of the world.
The select 1% of the 1% wealthy folks discovered the relatively safe and calm nature of the islands as they cruise their yachts, fly their private planes, party or just enjoy their exclusive villas and homes on the small islands which make up the Caribbean archipelago. They are already here, awaiting more services which require corporate investment.
The plan of the owners of the Airport lands on Runway 10 is to encourage the Government to establish an Aviation Special Economic Zone whereby the development of Runway 10 is incorporated into the ASEZ as its first investor.
Extending investment possibilities to Antiguans in the ASEZ is expected to take Antigua & Barbuda nationals to the next level of business, to include Antigua and the region among the movers and shakers of Aviation manufacturing and services which brings education, skills training, products and marketing in a brand new area of high tech development.
With Afreximbank having pledged US $1.5B to Caricom countries, with a promise to double if Jamaica signs on, Antigua & Barbuda is pressing forward early in the race, to develop with a new thrust and new money on the market.
Further plans for Runway 10 will include an a corporate aircraft parking lot, a Heliport, and a Fuel Tank Farm locally owned and operated.
The Government is being wooed into establishing the ASEZ (ABASEZ) as a government owned SEZ including all the lands formerly controlled by the US Base, and adding more where businesses along the way to VCBIA are all within the Zone.
Antigua & Barbuda will be establishing a new level for its own people to elevate their businesses for the first time with financial help, as permitted within the Aviation Special Economic Zone, and now with incentives, as have been available to foreign businesses for ages.
A real Next Level Development for Antigua & Barbuda.
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Thanks to the writer for the partial inside information on what at foot. In Antigua and Barbuda the public learns of economic development projects after the deals are done.
The Government creates these economic development companies: Runway Ten Development Company Inc. is a prime example. As someone who has been an entrepreneur, in the aviation industry you certainly deserve a place at the table.
Looking at other successful FBO’s such as at Cyril King Airport in St Thomas, and in Anguilla where the FBOs and related businesses are majority owned and operated by local blacks; not politically connected. They are entrepreneurs such as yourself, who have been allowed to thrive based on their ingenuity and hard work.
It’s time for Antiguans and Barbudans to examine analyze who are the beneficiary of the economic growth.
Recently a group out of the UK was given a license for cannabis, while the Rasta community seemingly is being excluded from such opportunity.
The Government artificially creates high barriers to entry for industries they are not familiar with. Outside operators’ jets in, make the right political contacts. They meet with Cabinet they then are off to making money, and the local blacks become low paid the service workers. That is then defined as economic growth.
Excellent piece by Makeda Mikael. Where is the public debate on issues such as this?
Antigua government will probably not involve local blacks because they cannot or will not pay bribes.
No black person with money will act as front for any minister. The government is not interested in seeing black people get rich. Only them and family.
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