Grenada government doing all it can to keep airport open
The government of Grenada is exploring all legal and financial options to keep its airport running.
ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Thursday February 16, 2012 – The Grenadian government is prepared to do whatever is necessary to ensure that the island’s Maurice Bishop International Airport remains open.
This was the assurance given by Information Minister, Senator Glen Noel, and other officials this week as government sought to allay fears by giving strong assurances that the Tillman Thomas administration would make the necessary financial arrangements for the Airports Authority to ensure the facility remained open to daily traffic.
The operations of the airport are under threat as thousands of dollars daily in international airline fees are being diverted away from the Grenada Airports Authority thanks to a judgement against the country in its legal battle with Taiwan.
The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation also issued a recent statement saying that it was working with other government departments, particularly the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Finance, to arrive at a solution to the current financial difficulties being experienced by the Grenada Airports Authority.
This situation arose as result of the EXIM Bank of Taiwan obtaining judgment against the Government of Grenada for outstanding loans in a Suit filed in the United States. The Taiwanese has made a claim for all monies owing to the Government of Grenada and its agencies to be paid against the loan. Consequently, a request was made to airlines operating on the Grenada route to pay monies owed to the Grenada Airports Authority to the Taiwanese.
An escrow account was established and carriers such as Virgin Airlines, British Airways and Delta Airlines have begun to deposit monies owed to the Airports Authority into the said account. This has placed the Airports Authority in a very precarious financial position.
“Mr. Rodney George, Chairman of the Grenada Airports Authority, has alerted us in the government about the situation facing our airport. I am doing all that I can from a civil aviation point of view. The Ministry of Finance is doing its part from the debt-financing angle and the Attorney General’s Chambers is working towards a legal solution”; said Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Peter David.
The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation statement added that all government parties were working toward a speedy resolution to given the negative impact that severe disruptions to the airport’s operations could have on the country’s economy at a time when it could least afford it.
The Government has promised to give a complete update on the status of efforts aimed at bringing a resolution to the debt with EXIM Bank of Taiwan, during the presentation of the 2012 budget.