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AIA breaks ground for Mustique aircraft hangar

AIA breaks ground for Mustique aircraft hangar

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According to the Prime Minister, his government has received all outstanding monies needed to complete the construction of the Argyle International Airport (AIA).

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves confirmed this last Friday at a Unity Labour Party (ULP) public meeting at Dorsetshire Hill, and again at a groundbreaking ceremony at the AIA site yesterday.{{more}}

“Please, for heaven’s sake, do not believe any propaganda that we do not have the money to finish the airport,” implored Gonsalves, who was addressing the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony of the site for the new Mustique Airways hangar at Argyle.

He informed the chief executive officer of the International Airport Development Company (IADC) Dr Rudy Matthias that the remaining sum of EC$10 million for the sale of 20 acres of crown lands in Canouan had been received, and would be transferred to the IADC’s account the same day.

Gonsalves further noted that, last week, he had received wiring instructions for some US$6.1 million that had been committed from the government of Venezuela through ALBA.

At the ULP meeting last Friday, the Prime Minister said: “I have signed, last week, the final legal documentation in relation to the money for the US$16 million sum of which we have to get back for the refund – about US$4 million – from the agency of the United Kingdom government… we have all the money to finish the airport and begin the operation of the airport.”

In September 2015, the Prime Minister presented the Economic Diversification Loan Authorization (No. 2) Bill, through which the Government borrowed US$16.5 million from a UK trading entity – which was passed in Parliament without the support of the Opposition.

It became necessary to borrow this sum because some of the money which was expected from sales of crown lands in Canouan and from ALBA had not yet been realized.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Gonsalves also said that he is “very happy” to see Mustique Airways owner Jonathan Palmer move forward with his plans to build a hangar for his aircraft; and he predicted that the move would prompt other airlines to follow suit.

Mustique Airways representative Marcus Dabriel also spoke at the function, explaining that the hangar would be greatly beneficial to the maintenance of the company’s aircraft – in terms of protecting them from the elements and reducing corrosion.

“This was not possible at ET Joshua, due to space constraints. Our hangar facility would also accommodate a fully functioning maintenance department, and will extend umbrage to our alliance partners.”

Also giving brief remarks were Corsel Robertson, director of Airports; Dr Rudy Matthias, CEO of the IADC; and Frederick Stephenson, ULP candidate for South Windward.

The construction of the hangar was financed by Mustique Airways and the Argyle Aviation Services Inc, and was designed by Chris Cunningham (architect) with Glenford Stewart as the structural engineer. (JSV)

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