Grenada airport remains open despite Taiwan’s squeeze

The government of Grenada has assured its citizens and visitors to the island that the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) will remain in full and effective operation.

This assurance came following a U.S. court order for airlines and ships doing business with Grenada to pay their fees due to Grenada into a special account in the U.S.

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.

Information Minister Senator Glen Noel on Monday said the administration will make the necessary financial arrangements for the Grenada Airports Authority to ensure the facility remains open to daily traffic.

“The government will do whatever is necessary to ensure the airport remains operational. The MBIA is vital to our economy and we will ensure that the daily operations of the facility are not compromised,” Senator Noel said.

He said, while it is a fact that the airlines servicing Grenada have been directed to pay monies due to the Airports Authority into a special account, the government of Grenada will act “promptly and decisively,” to ensure that the Authority continues to service the airlines, visitors and the travelling public.

The government is expected 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 in March.

The Grenada Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation in a release states, “The St. George’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is 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 (GAA).

The Taiwanese have 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 has been 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. The Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation will continue to work with other government departments to ensure this matter is resolved quickly and does not severely disrupt airport operations, which would directly impact the economy at a time when it can be least afforded.

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