Airport Management Continues To Fall Apart
Upheavals in the management of Antigua’s V.C.Bird International Airport continue in the wake of the sensational departure of the CEO, in a finger-pointing open feud with the P. M. over control of a U.S. $100mm loan.
The next person chosen as CEO was placed in an acting position, only to be forced to absent himself from the job while the investigation into his violations was completed.
Meanwhile, the third acting CEO in one month stood in Court refusing to speak in his own defence, but getting the report on his violations by the Commissioner of Police excluded from the eyes of the Court.
One wonders where is the Minister of Aviation in all of this chaos, in an industry tightly controlled by rules, regulations, and transparency, and which requires gateway oversight. Antigua is a final gateway to destinations in America and Europe, and recently a non-stop to Saudi Arabia, and has responsibility for maintaining specific standards, training and certification.
Under the management of the three CEO’s acting in their various capacities in Administration, Safety & Security, airport Human Resources have been devalued in number and certification, causing the once 24-hour airport to early closing, and raggedy around the edges generally.
Airports are expected to create a balanced, certified, and alert workplace; constant maintenance of buildings, runways and ramps is imperative in creating a risk-controlled zone.
The Minister has been given the opportunity to update and properly staff the administration of the airport with qualified and certified airport management personnel as expected of an important gateway, and historically a leader in aviation growth in the Caribbean.
The pressure is on for the Aviation Minister to rouse himself, and share his energies properly between Tourism and Aviation.
The time has come for the Minister of Aviation to either grapple with the opportunity to reorganize his Ministry and make it work efficiently, or give it up.
Further, the US $100mm loan which was being negotiated with Credit Suisse may have been placed in jeopardy by exposure that only US $10mm would go to the airport, with the balance going to ‘other’ government projects.
It is understood that the plans to develop the airport further are now shelved except for urgent Aviation demands, in a functioning Ministry.
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