Antigua Airways inaugural flight landed at VC Bird International Airport on November 1, 2022. (File photo)
Following numerous news articles about Antigua Airways, the airline’s Managing Director, Opoyemi Olorunfemi, issued a press statement seeking to temper controversy and assuage Antiguans and Barbudans.
Since its first flight on November 1, many questions have been asked about Antigua Airways’ value to the country and other issues related to the fledgling airline.


In an article sent to Observer media, the airline wrote:

The Caribbean and Africa have a long history of close relations. The West Indies were the first to experience the slave trade, with slaves shipped from Africa to Jamaica, Barbados, Grenada, Montserrat, and Tobago.

The consequence of this trade is reflected in the fact that in many Caribbean cultures aspects such as calypso and soca derive from African traditions, African dances such as mambo are performed by Caribbean dancers, and food such as jerk chicken and roti canai can be found on many menus in the region.

There is a growing linkage between these countries and Africa.

Nigeria has become one of Antigua and Barbuda’s top 10 trading partners and an important hub for Nigerian businesspeople looking for tax havens or property investments in Asia or Europe. For years, the African continent has been an important player in the Caribbean’s economic development, intricately linked through trade, migration, foreign direct investment, and cultural exchange.

This has been based on factors including shared history and geography, common language, religion, identity, and similarities in the way they have developed their economies since decolonisation.

The development in African countries is an indication of the growing linkage between the Caribbean and Africa, with Antigua and Nigeria having a lot to offer each other. Therefore, the linkages must be strengthened by all means at a regional level as this will help in the further economic development of both countries of interest.

The growth in air connectivity between Nigeria and all island states has been phenomenal over the past decade, especially within the West Africa sub-region which includes Nigeria.

This was due to an increasing population, rising demand for travel, tourism products, and services as well as better economic conditions within some countries in the West African sub-region.

In the last decade, we have seen major growth in the African economies, and this has brought about a renaissance in Africa.

Industries once dominated by countries outside of Africa are now owned and operated by companies on the continent, creating more opportunities for Africans to travel to other parts of the world.

Antigua Airways is well poised to offer them direct flights to Antigua and Barbuda, also allowing comfortable travel.

We expect this development will not only be beneficial to our local industries but also for our Caribbean neighbours, who can use our hub as a way to connect with Africa.

An example was the recent opening of the Nigerian Embassy in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Done at a time when there were some diplomatic issues between both countries, it helped strengthen bilateral relations and facilitate better trade ties, especially between the two countries’ manufacturing industries.

Additionally, the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Cooperation between Nigeria and Antigua and Barbuda was a milestone that will further strengthen these links.

This memorandum establishes a framework for enhancing cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, finance, tourism, education, and technology transfer.

Linkages can be effective means for businesses to reach their customers and get satisfactory returns.

The development of linkages between Africa and the Caribbean will be beneficial in promoting tourism, technology transfer, skills transfer, and doing business with one another, ensuring Nigerians get a fair chance in these global industries.