The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has considered a long-term lease on parts of the old air terminal at the VC Bird International Airport to the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT.
The government said that the matter had been considered at the weekly Cabinet meeting where ministers were informed that the old terminal is being equipped with new cab, from which air traffic controllers will operate air traffic in and out of the airport and that new equipment will also be installed.
The statement issued after the cabinet meeting noted that the long-term lease to LIAT is being undertaken “as the airline expands its services to routes outside of the region.
“When a greater portion of the airline shareholding is purchased by Antigua and Barbuda, the Cabinet is hopeful to present LIAT with several alternatives,” the statement added.
Antigua and Barbuda is seeking to become the biggest shareholder of the financially strapped airline by purchasing at least 39 per cent of the shares held by Barbados.
Apart from Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, the other shareholder governments are Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
Earlier this week Prime Minister Mia Mottley said her Barbados administration is still willing to support the struggling carrier, but not in its current format.
“Barbados is committed to LIAT and regional air travel [but] we may not be committed to LIAT 1974 and that’s the fundamental difference.
“There’s more than one way to do that which we have to do, but at the appropriate time with respect to the details of any discussions, I’m not going to disrespect the process and the people with whom we do business. There’s a right way to do things and I will follow that right way,” she added.
If Antigua and Barbuda is successful in acquiring the shares from Barbados, it would now hold 73 per cent of shares.
Prime Minister Mottley has maintained that she will not negotiate the sale of the shares in the public domain.
Mottley said when the time was right she would use the floor of Parliament to speak to the people of Barbados.
“I do not shout across the Caribbean Sea and if that is an article of faith for me last week it is still an article of faith for me today.
“I give you the assurance and the people of Barbados that when the Cabinet has reviewed and is in a position to be able to do so, that I will speak in the place to which we have become accustomed to speaking, which is the Parliament of Barbados, that I will speak to the people of Barbados.
“But I am not in the habit of sharing correspondence that I have written to anyone, far less colleagues of heads, in the press before they have seen it and I don’t think there is anything which would cause me to alter those basic precepts of behaviour that I consider dear,” she told reporters.