Speaking at the brief signing ceremony at his office, Minister of Civil Aviation Sir Robin Yearwood noted that the airline represented the fulfillment of a commitment by Prime Minister Gaston Browne to improve connectivity between Antigua and Barbuda. Sir Robin pledged his ministry’s support for the venture pointing out that the signing represented over two years of work to arrive at the establishment of the airline. Minister Yearwood noted that Barbuda Air was yet another example of the government’s commitment to the development of Barbuda which also included promoting Barbuda’s development as a green energy destination and expansion of the island’s economy.
Sir Robin noted that the launch of Barbuda Air did not mean that other airlines would no longer be able to operate into Barbuda, so that persons travelling to and from Barbuda would now have greater choice in their travel to the island.
The Honorable Arthur Nibbs, Parliamentary representative for Barbuda and Minister with responsibility for Barbuda Affairs, expressed his appreciation at seeing the establishment of the new airline. He noted that this was something that Barbudans had long called for and he indicated his appreciation to Prime Minister Browne and the Cabinet for their commitment to the venture. He pointed out that the cost of a return ticket on Barbuda Air would be comparable to the ferry services and significantly less than current air fares and would therefore be important in meeting the demand of the residents of Barbuda for reducing the cost of travel between the two islands.
Minister Nibb’s noted that the start-up of the new airline was particularly timely given the government’s plans for the development of Barbuda and the need for improving accessibility to the island. He indicated that the new airline along with the development of a new airport would be a considerable boost to the islands economy and serve as a spur to up-scale tourism development on Barbuda. He noted that the establishment of an airline dedicated to the Barbuda market would eliminate the problem of lack of adequate air transport between Barbuda and ensure a reliable service between the two islands.
Neil Dickinson, Managing Director of Caribbean Helicopters, also expressed appreciation at seeing the formal establishment of the airline and welcomed the commitment of the Gaston Browne administration to the joint venture. He emphasized CHL’s commitment to the initiative and noted that it would be operating the service on behalf of the government of Antigua and Barbuda in what is expected to be a unique public-private partnership in regional aviation. Mr. Dickinson noted that advertisements for the service were already placed on various social media and the company looked forward to working with stakeholders on Antigua and in Barbuda in developing the service into Barbuda.
Barbuda Air will begin service within the next two weeks offering twice daily services between Antigua and Barbuda. Services will start with operations by one aircraft but this is expected to increase to two aircraft by December when technical approvals on a second aircraft are expected to be completed.