Trinidad government considering selling BWIA to British Airways, says newspaper report

The Trinidad and Tobago government is considering offers to sell the cash-strapped BWIA and one of those being considered is by British Airways, the Trinidad Guardian newspaper said on Friday.
But speaking at a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Prime Minister Patrick Manning remained tight lipped on the future of the airline, telling reporters the situation confronting the airline was not discussed at Thursday`s weekly Cabinet meeting.

But he admitted that an offer had been made without elaborating. “The answeris yes. I have answered your question,” he told reporters.
The newspaper, quoting “government sources”, said that British Airways had initially made its offer to purchase the airline six months ago. It said “Manning received the “recent” offer to purchase BWIA in a written document”..
The paper said also “an offer for BWIA had been made within the last few weeks by a local businessman in conjunction with a foreign-based investor”.
Last month, Manning warned that some “hard decision” would have to be madeabout the airline`s future, including the possibility of government ending its financial assistance to the airline.
BWIA said it could offer no comment on the offer of purchase.
In April, Texan billionaire R Allen Stanford, owner of Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun Airlines, met with Manning here, but denied he had any interest in purchasing or investing in BWIA.
One month later, Virgin Atlantic Airways chairman British billionaire, SirRichard Branson, said he would be willing to invest in BWIA, but only if Government made such a request.
BWIA`s 2002 Annual Report stated its current liabilities exceeded its assets by more than TT$313 million (US$52.1 million).
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