Within two weeks, Barbuda Air is to begin offering twice-daily flights between Antigua and its sister isle, Barbuda. These flights will be done by one aircraft, with services expected to increase when a second aircraft comes on-stream by December.
According to the government, the additional flights will be possible “when technical approvals on a second aircraft are expected to be completed”.
The agreement for those services was signed yesterday between the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and the privately owned Caribbean Helicopters Ltd (CHL).
For years, residents have been lamenting the lack of consistent air service between Antigua and Barbuda.
Minister of Civil Aviation Sir Robin Yearwood, pledged in a press statement 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.
Sir Robin noted that despite the launch of Barbuda Air, other airlines can continue to operate into Barbuda and this would give travelers another option.
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 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.
The minister said it “would therefore be important in meeting the demand of the residents of Barbuda for reducing the cost of travel between the two islands.”
Minister Nibbs indicated that the new airline, along with the development of a new airport, would boost Barbuda’s economy and spur up-scale tourism development on Barbuda.
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 emphasised CHL’s dedication to the initiative and noted that it would be operating the service on behalf of the government of Antigua & Barbuda in what is expected to be a unique public-private partnership in regional aviation.