Prime Minister Gaston Browne has revealed that Antigua Airways has been listed as a Citizenship by Investment (CIP) Project, although he has failed to say, directly, that the airline has been duly registered in Nigeria.
Asked how much money was used to capitalize Antigua Airways, Browne told the Lower House, last week, that the listing includes 10 CIP files, which – when subscribed – would allot 20 per cent of the airline’s shares to the Government.
He said the airline service would start as a charter that connects Antigua and Barbuda and the wider Caribbean to Africa – with some relationship with LIAT when the carrier becomes operational under the 2020 brand.
Asked by Barbuda MP Trevor Walker whether the investor – identified only as Marvelous Mike – has any prior experience in the airline industry, Browne said the company will be engaged in what is called a wet lease.
Accordingly, all that is required is for the investor to have the financial resources to lease the planes and pay supporting personnel, he added. Browne also claimed that LIAT has been providing technical support to the company.
Meanwhile, although he would not say whether the company was registered in Nigeria, Browne was adamant that Antigua Airways is duly registered here.
Two weeks ago, United Progressive Party Senator Damani Tabor revealed that Antigua Airways and Marvelous Mike Press Ltd. were not registered in Nigeria.
According to Tabor, the parent company was first registered on July 24, 2006, but its status, at the time, was inactive. Meanwhile, the airline was then under registration.
The Cabinet Notes of Wednesday, July 20, indicated that Antigua Airways was being financed by wealthy Africans and would soon be permitted to operate flights from West Africa directly to Antigua.
Reportedly the route would be between the African continent, the Caribbean and the Americas with a tagline “Connecting the Caribbean with Africa and the Americas.”