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[Antigua] Gov’t secures reduced Barbuda flights for 2 years

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[Antigua] Gov’t secures reduced Barbuda flights for 2 years

Unread post by bimjim » Sat May 07, 2016

http://antiguaobserver.com/govt-secures ... r-2-years/

[Antigua] Gov’t secures reduced Barbuda flights for 2 years
May 7, 2016

The government says its subsidized rate of US 50 for return flights to Barbuda has been guaranteed for the next two years. That is less than half the price for current flights between the two sister islands and is also less than a current return ferry journey.

Director of Special Projects Ambassador Daven Joseph says the rate will be offered initially for the period of Caribana from the 13th to 18th of May through Caribbean Helicopters. He says the rate will then become available again around 30 days later when the government with Caribbean Helicopters launches Barbuda Airways.

“That fare is a fare that will be around for the next two years at least. We are hoping that in order for Antigua & Barbuda to demonstrate a sense of oneness; with two small communities the community of Antigua, and the community of Barbuda, I do not think that we are close enough, so we do not generate the kind of trust amongst each other, so that inter-island business as a twin island state can be done to its maximum potential. The Prime Minister and his administration is of that same view. We cannot just speak about free movement of people in the Caribbean without looking at the free movement of Antiguans and Barbudans and it is quite cost prohibiting right now for leisurely and even business ventures between the people of Barbuda and the people of Antigua,” says Joseph.

Barbudans have long complained about the prohibitive cost of travelling to and from Antigua and Joseph says the lower cost flights will open up a number of new possibilities.

“Allow Barbudans to be able to come to Antigua not only to do business, but imagine that Barbudan school kids can come and do field trips in Antigua. Imagine than an Antiguan can decide they going down to Barbuda to have lunch. Can you imagine that you want to go to a beach and you can spare a US $50 return to go to Barbuda and buy lunch over there and basically support the Barbudan economy.”

Joseph explained why the government will not be running Barbuda Airways on its own.

“After consideration of a number of partners, we felt that Caribbean Helicopters it’s an Antiguan company. we could look at the possibilities of joining forces with them to make this air bridge a reality. Why Caribbean partners is because already they have the capacity in civil aviation there’s a lot of technical requirements and processes in order to operate an airline and the government is not in the business of developing that type of competence while that competence is already in the private sector.”

Joseph says the negotiations lasted 18 months. He did not disclose the cost of to the government of subsidizing the flights.

The government bought one aircraft and Caribbean Helicopters will purchase another aircraft as part of the deal.

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