Antigua: Airport storeowners not optimistic ahead of VCBIA reopening

Business operators inside the VC Bird International Airport (VCBIA) are expressing doubts over their market prospects, ahead of a resumption in commercial travel.

The Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda recently announced that the airport will re-open on June 1, with several regional and international flights scheduled to arrive over the course of the month, and while some sections of society are looking forward to the benefits of the resumption, some business owners inside the airport are not as hopeful.

Michelle George, the managing director at The Tailor’s Daughter – a boutique gift shop located in the VCBIA’s departure lounge – said while she is happy that things will be turning around, she is not really expecting any significant return to business in the short term.

“As a business person, I’m very excited about the fact that we seem to have gotten the virus under control [but] I am not optimistic about the business prospects opening. Okay, we’re going to open, we have a flight coming in on June 4 [but] it’s going to be mainly Antiguans coming back, from what I have read. [The flight] is incoming [and] we only deal with outbound passengers.

“Now, if there are outbound passengers that day, we don’t really have an idea of the demographic, so I don’t know. I’m going to assume that they may have been Americans that were here and maybe some Antiguans that are looking forward to just travelling, but I’m not expecting much from that initial flight,” she said.

Jeff Hadeed, the owner of Big Banana – another business located in the VCBIA’s departure lounge — shared similar sentiments.


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