Plans for the launch of Antigua Airways on track

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The government has confirmed that plans are on track for the launch of Antigua Airways by the first week of November at the very latest.

The airline was first announced in July by Prime Minister Gaston Browne who said an October start was the goal.

The new airline, which will operate flights to Nigeria, Ghana and Canada, will be based in Antigua and Barbuda.

Other flights to countries in West Africa will be added as the airline grows. The government of Antigua and Barbuda is a part owner in the company and will enjoy 20 percent of the profits generated.

The majority shareholders – a Nigerian investment group – will receive 80 percent of Antigua Airways’ profits. Ambassador Lionel Hurst recently confirmed that plans ahead of the official launch of the airline are being finalised and added that Antigua Airways will begin offering service from the V. C. Bird International Airport very shortly. “I can offer you the assurance that we’re going to see Antigua Airways touchdown at the V. C. Bird International Airport sometime within the next five weeks.

“They are working out all kinds of logistics – not only baggage handling, fuel, permission to fly into Antiguan airspace and so on, they’re working all that out, but you know when they leave Antigua, the plan is to fly on to Toronto before going back to the African continent, and so they must work that in as well,” he explained. Hurst also confirmed that the Cabinet received a positive update on the progress of plans leading up to the launch of Antigua Airways as recently as last Wednesday. “It’s going to be really nice, I can assure you.

From what has been announced in Cabinet yesterday, it’s going to be a really nice event when that airline leaves the African continent, the homeland of the largest number of descendants of Antiguans and Barbudans. It will be something to applaud.” Antigua Airways plans to operate a Boeing 767- 300ER in a 16 business and 251 economy configuration.

The aircraft, which have been secured under a wet lease arrangement, will offer amenities including a modernised interior with touchscreen in-flight entertainment and charging ports.

To entice travellers to use the service, a members loyalty programme will be offered, although the details of this enhancement has not yet been revealed. Antigua Airways is also establishing a “Visa on Arrival Programme” with the African nations it will serve, which will allow travellers to bypass the process of securing a VISA ahead of their trip through third parties.

The launch of Antigua Airways is also expected to pump much needed business into LIAT, as the hope is to establish timely connections for its passengers to other Caribbean islands via the V. C. Bird International Airport homebase.

The launch of the new airline has not been greeted warmly by all, however, and critics are predicting that the airline will be fraught with issues, and perhaps, even failure.

The pronouncements of these harbingers of doom have not shaken the resolve of Prime Minister Gaston Browne and his administration, who continue to express confidence in the venture’s potential for success.

In Parliament on Thursday, the prime minister said that unlike other ventures which have attempted to offer service to West Africa that failed, the plan for Antigua Airways involves sound research, a carefully thought-out plan for the growth of the business and a solid network of local and international resources.

He also made it clear that Antigua and Barbuda has nothing to lose as the government has not invested financially in the airline. “What we did do is to list it as a CIP (Citizen by Investment Programme) project and one in which we have allocated up to ten CIP files, and if and when they are subscribed, then we will get, I believe, about 20 percent of the shares. “My understanding is that the service will start as a charter service. They are also trying to have a sustaining relationship with LIAT 2020 when we would have operationalised LIAT 2020, and we have been told so far that the arrangements to lease the plane and to start operating are on target,” Browne told the Parliament.

Last month, Minister of Tourism, Charles Fernandez, said that Antigua Airways is expected to offer three flights per week out of Antigua and Barbuda at its inception. (POINTE XPRESS)

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12 COMMENTS

  1. ANR why are you running all these paper airplane stories and not carrying the comments with them?

    Is the idea ppl will get worn down & no longer comment?

    ONDCP/ IMMIGRATION/ FINANCE what deep, clear, specific forensic due diligence have you completed?
    Will you give Magic Mike & cohorts a public clean bill of fiscal health, that Antiguans can read & hold you & PM & Hurst etc al accountable to?
    Possibly then, the public might give the benefit of the doubt.
    We would appreciate transparency in this venture.

  2. Now that we have provided our bank account details, We are just waiting for the 200,000,000 to be transferred from the recently deceased prince of Nigeria, then we can move forward.

  3. Not all Nigerians are crooks or hustlers, but a good percentage of them are connected to corruption. To just freely open your border to Nigeria, will certainly embolden many of these crooks, and a small island like Antigua cannot absorb the impact of so many crookish people on it’s soils.The process of elimination will be a burden on the already burdened island that is filled with corruption. Yes Antigua needs investors, but good investment is what it needs more than anything else, investment that’s sustainable.To just have investment just for investment sake, is a bad move by the Government. I warned again, Stay away from Nigerian politics. The people are Good people overall, but their business practices are fraught with corruption, all the way to the top. And don’t give me the garbage that I’m bias towards Africans, I know what I’m saying . Has anyone of you ever heard of the ” fraud 9 hustle”? Go and Google it and educate yourself. It started in Nigeria, and even the FBI, CIA, Scotland Yard could not put a dent in this crime, many of the ill gotten riches and the people who are behind it are still in power in Nigeria. Good luck to Antigua with this.

    • Do you many born crooks we have in Antigua? Just because we can’t Google then doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Think on this…

  4. It is now called ” 419 letter” way back when it was called fraud 9, but over the years it has involve.

  5. Typical Gaston Browne narcissism. Reminds us of YIDA. He admits that he realized that YIDA could not deliver, but continued to BS the people for more than 5 years by putting it each year in the budget.
    After 26 ABLP failed promises, let just add this as # 27. The only person Gaston is BS-ing is himself. Not even his cheerleading squad can defend this nonsense.

  6. Is this the airplane chartered by the printer Magic Mike that school children say will be bringing the election ballot paper . School children also say that that some money laundering will be in the air ( pun intended).

  7. Where are the ABLP apologists to defend this ANTIGUA AIRLINES stupidness>

    TENMAN
    FROM THE SIDELINE
    JUST SAYING
    HMMMM
    SMH
    TESSA/SHERFIELD

    What happen! Shame have you! Or you only get pay to attack UPP.
    Bunch of hypocrites!

  8. Approval in 5 weeks. Must be nice. Meanwhile local companies still waiting on approval after 2 years. Guess they don’t pay enough. Hmm

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