OPINION: Ministry of Aviation in Chaos


By Makeda Mikael

Minister Max Fernandez admirable legacy in his Tourism development of Antigua & Barbuda is clearly being tarnished with the rot and mound which envelopes the APUA building in Cassada Gardens, housing the Ministry of Aviation and the officers therein.

Based on reports emanating from within the Ministry, an air purity evaluation, minus instrument, seems to have caused the Ministry to be closed now at midday, thereby reduction by 50% the intake of mound for each worker daily. 

This however does little to clean up the intellectual mound and aviation rot that emanates from the failure of the previous Ministerial governance of the industry, and inherited by the new Minister. 

It all started with the retirement of the previous Permanent Secretary, Mr. Cordell Weston, who was an exemplary aviation expert, who knew the Rules and Regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which knowledge gave confidence throughout the aviation operators in Antigua & Barbuda.

 In those days, the Ministry of Aviation operated Antigua’s lone airport as a department, before the organization of the airport into first, a government owned company, swiftly followed by the current Antigua Barbuda Airport Authority.

All this was done through the work of a team headed by I. M. Ken Hurst, who moved quickly to establish Antigua’s new Chinese built Airport Terminal.

Antigua’s strategic location in the islands’ chain, a gateway to USA, Canada, Europe, the island has been in the forefront of aviation in the Caribbean attracting high-end Tourism, which first brought Pan American Airways to Antigua and then BOAC, now BA, and BWIA, now CAL, followed by LIAT, the Caribbean Airline founded in Montserrat, an island without a runway. 

Today, with all of Antigua’s accomplishments, and with a management team of three Antiguans, our airport has been receiving serious complaints of protectionism and exclusivity which is anathema to aviation.

 Additionally the Rules and Regulations specifically designed to govern Aviation with Safety and Security, are being localized to serve the interests of deep pockets instead of the industry.

Further, operators and the airport staff are all being frustrated with personalized interpretation of the Rules & Regulations which are leading the airport operations to chaotic conclusions.

The Airport Authority has refused to be guided by the Permanent Secretary whom they say have no legal authority over their statutory body.

The logistics of the Ministry Aviation is also creating difficulty in operations, as there is no real Ministry of Aviation, it having been located previously in the APUA building of the former Minister, in Cassada Gardens.

 The Minister of Aviation is alone in his Ministry of Tourism, surrounded with his Tourism technicians and Permanent Secretary beefing up Tourism, while aviation is absent, grounded, waiting to lift off since January elections.

If the Minister is not careful, all of his diligent work in bringing tourism back from the ravages of COVID will be tarnished by the failures of his Aviation Management.













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  1. Geeez!!
    What exactly is going on here?
    This is terrible..
    All these tourists and locals coming home, this is terrible..
    Omg, this needs to be resolved now, sooner rather than later .
    Are we actually operating in a failed state??
    Government answers please!!

  2. Install the author as the new ÇEO for the àirport and there will be no more complaints about the airport and its surroundings.

    Only solution.

  3. When some people done have their cake eat it and then waNt it back,everything and everybody is a problem,

  4. Lady doesn’t know anything about aviation. She had all the property in the world and never done anything with it. Ignore this editorial

  5. Makeda is all over the place, trying to lay blame on any and everybody except herself. She would like us to forget how she landed in the airport business.
    Anyway, the only thing I would like to address what she pointed out is that both UPP and ALP now ABLP are distorting the reporting lines of command in our system of government when they create these statutory bodies and companies. Cause they bypass the authority of the Permanent Secretary. The Minister is the only one they report to. The heads of these bodies get all the benefits the Civil Servants get but they do not get paid from the Consolidated fund. Heads to mention are; CEO of the ABTA, ABTB, ABSSB, Medical Benefit Scheme, Board of Education, APUA, ABAA, NSWA, CMC, NAMCO,
    There is a bit of a dilemma as to who is really in charge of the Department of Environment. Is it the PS of the Ministry of Health or the Chief Environmental Officer, who also carries an Ambassadorial title? If you draw up an Organizational Chart of the Government these positions would give some challenges as to whom they report to.
    Another thing I also would like to express my opinion on is that our airport is under utilize. And like Jamaica and believe me many other large airports they are run by private companies. Just like our Cruise Port. I think we should consider going this route. We will still be in charge of Custome and Immigration. These airport management companies have bigger and better networks with airlines and can entice them to fly to the Island.

    • Sidelines when you do make a little sense your bigotry and bad mind always gets the betters of you. Years ago Canadian Airports Authority was being considered to elevate our airport, only to be ’sidelined’ because the do not allow their systems to be diluted by Government interference.
      Please whisper into the ear of your man and have him bring Vancouver or Mexico(as Barbados) or the recommendations of the Afreximbank, to help take our Airport to the Next Level – that should take care of Runway 10 the most envied property in Antigua.

  6. This Lady reminds me of the speaker of Parliament. He is set to destroy our parliamentary democracy process because at his age he needs to retire. Assot was right. Hey take note I am not a supporter of any political party. Similarly this lady who I once admired is now trying her best to tarnish Antigua’s good name because she cannot have her own way. Her verbal attacks at the airport, the foul language she uses are all suggesting that she is not in full control. Madam you are loosing your esteem reputation.
    Note I have nothing personally against her since i once saw her as the most powerful, intelligent and astute business woman in Antigua.
    Remember Mohamed Ali – he did not know when it was time to hang up his gloves . Christano Roneldo during the last football World Cup made himself a fool by not knowing when to hang up his boots. Instead of playing a nice supportive role to his team , like the speaker, like Ali , like the lady they don’t know when to Call it a Day.
    So my advice to madam is to be positive in your approach, let your criticisms be constructive and respectful. If you cannot do that due to ego or old age syndrome, then hang up your boots and leave the stage while you still have some respect.

    • You appear intelligent, why don’t you deal with the issues raised rather than the person whom you clearly object to.
      If The Ministry is not properly functioning and she opens it up as a failure deal with that and leave the personality out of the argument.
      The speaker is old in the people’s parliament causing trouble, the woman is on her own property demanding proper administration from her government agency. Big difference!

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