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Dr Gonsalves issues another call for private sector investment at AIA

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Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves is one again calling for there to be private sector investment at the recently opened Argyle International Airport (AIA).

This call was made during a press conference at Cabinet Room on Monday.

“This Government, from the very beginning in relation to the construction of AIA, we have reached out and urged the private sector to be involved with us on the international airport at Argyle,” Gonsalves stated.

He noted that since his initial speech in 2005, in which he outlined his plan to construct an airport at Argyle, he hoped that there would have been engagement for private sector financing.

“Like, for instance, you may wonder why is it that we waited so late before we built the cargo terminal… because we were asking private sector people and we had put it out publicly, inviting them to build and operate the cargo terminal.”

However, he stated that while a couple private sectors investors had shown interest, there was never anything concrete, and since there was nothing concrete, the Government made the decision to finance and build a cargo terminal because they could not have opened the AIA without one.

“Now even at this stage, if a private sector entity wants to get involved with us to manage that aspect of the facility, the cargo terminal, that’s fine, but please remember… we have built it with millions of dollars … built and equipped it with millions of dollars and there is an investment here for which we expect a return,” Gonsalves pointed out.

He indicated that there were still opportunities for private sector investment at the AIA.

The Prime Minister stated that the location where the opening rally for the airport was held last Tuesday, February 14, has space for two hangars and a fixed base operation.

“Fixed base operations is for people bringing their guests for hotels…they would want them to be dealt with in a specific area of the airport. You will pay for customs and immigration services for that…,” Gonsalves explained.

However, he stated that he has been advised that the Canouan Developers have already expressed interest in both hangar spaces and fixed base operation spaces.

Gonsalves noted that there is, however, still space on the other side of the runway for development.

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