OPINION: Ministry of Aviation to Rival Tourism


‘Seek and ye shall find; ask and it shall be given unto you.’ And I gladly add demand rights and they shall be realized.

The Ministry of Aviation will soon be revolutionized as it was at the dawn of the century when it entered the twenty-first century creating a refurbished runway, and a new Airport Authority plus a brand new terminal with air-bridges.

Plans are soon on the way to give the entire airport area an economic uplift using the foundation already built, to establish an aviation marketplace linking the airport to modern amenities and Duty Free malls, restaurants and conference facilities.


The idea is to develop for the airport a similar attraction as St. John’s Development Corporation has done for the Cruise business with Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay.



The Ministry may even get its own Ministry Headquarters befitting such an important industry which attracts aviation business people and airline executives.


It may even be considered important enough to be located in the Hon. John St. Luce building, where alike aviation businesses are beginning to be accommodated.



This location is ideal for proximity to the Ministry of Tourism where its substantive Minister sits, and just down the road from ECCAA.



When Ministries are not properly housed and manned, their efficiency slows and their staff become commonly unenthusiastic, morale and standards drop and local attitudes replace Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS).


It is important for the Ministry to begin oncemore to train their technicians in specialized areas of its portfolio, and learn to depend on the officers while Ministers deal with policy.



Soon we expect to see a Director of Aviation, whose role will encourage a consciousness of altitude instead of attitude, and for the concentration to be on implementing proper fee structures to operate the airport and Aviation in general.



When airports use fees as a management tool it removes the need for personal attitudes interfering with the work of the airport, and also creates a fair practice attitude in the business of a government statutory body.



Maybe we need Ministers with more heart than headstrong ideas, and more dependence on knowledgeable technicians than political influencers.


Aviation which is based on Rules, Regulations and Transparency does not do well with political interference.


Considering how politically involved Antigua’s airport has been in past political issues, the time has come for a Director of Aviation to build bridges between the asset, ABAA, the Permanent Secretary and his Ministerial staff, and the Minister of Aviation, who seems ready to work.


By Makeda Mikael

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