Equipment failure is not acceptable in ground aviation activity, and if there is such failure back-up is a pre-requisite in order to provide the level of service demanded of Aircraft Ground Services, especially in fuel.
It is important that fuel supplies and equipment are foremost on the list of imperatives of any airport, especially where a small aircraft hub feeds from the wide body and long haul aircraft.
Clearly the frustration of air movement in the hub offered by Antigua airport as a result of Avgas fuel truck equipment failure, has cost connecting passengers and their carriers heavily, causing the efficiency of the airport hub to be questioned.
Avgas is unequally yoked to Private Aviation and the FBO, which has the monopoly of Avgas dispensing on the airport. However, the slow period for Private Aviation is the busy period for small aircraft which use Avgas.
This however is no excuse to cause a ripple effect of inefficiency, embarrassing and upsetting the seamless transfers which are expected of a busy hub.
Montserrat has been so well served that their passengers to Antigua rely almost totally on air, as their ferry was discontinued.
Antigua is their hub for traveling anywhere commercially, and as a consequence of the inability to uplift fuel in Antigua, their airline is grounded.
Small aircraft which use Avgas, make up the majority of the feeder aircraft for our smaller sister islands, which have a large sector of the upmarket also are restricted.
It imperative that the link with the similar interests be maintained on location so that we do not have a repeat, where Avgas equipment failure immediately means failure and loss for the passengers, the Aircraft Operator, the Airlines by empty seats on all of those failed connections outbound – Avgas belongs on a commercial schedule, and not the private aircraft schedule.
The reason for this is that when Private Aviation fuel sales are on vacation, their trucks are on holiday routine, no wonder Avgas equipment is down.
Avgas must return to commercial operations on the main Terminal in order to best serve the small aircraft hub at V.C.Bird International Airport.