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Closure of LIAT ‘Imminent’ – Chairman

-Barbados Tourism Minister says country is not an ATM
The closure of Liat would be a major loss for Virgin Islanders with roots in the Eastern Caribbean, many of whom depend on the airline, which has weekly flights between Antigua and St. Thomas, for travel. Photo: Internet Source
Current Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, who also serves as the Chairman of LIAT Airways, says the closure of the airline is imminent. Photo: Internet Source
Current Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, who also serves as the Chairman of LIAT Airways, says the closure of the airline is imminent. Photo: Internet Source
VI CONSORTIUM

St. Thomas, USVI - Current Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph E. Gonsalves, who also serves as the Chairman of LIAT Airways, says the closure of the airline is imminent.

The closure of Liat would be a major loss for Virgin Islanders with roots in the Eastern Caribbean, many of whom depend on the airline, which has weekly flights between Antigua and St. Thomas, for travel.

Mr Gonsalves’s gloomy prediction came after at least half of the Caribbean islands with an ownership stake in the carrier were mum on their decision, or unwilling to assist in providing the $5.4 million that the airline needed by March 15 to stay afloat, a deadline long past.

Liat seeking bailout

Liat is majority owned by four Caribbean governments, with Barbados being the largest shareholder with 49.5 per cent, followed by Antigua and Barbuda with 13 per cent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines with 12 per cent, and Dominica with less than 10 per cent.

The countries have been asked to contribute not necessarily based on their stake in the struggling carrier, but rather the frequency of Liat’s flights to their destination.

Barbados, for example, is being asked to contribute $1.6 million, as it has 116 weekly Liat departures from its airport, while Antigua, with 69 departures, is being asked to commit $960,310. St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with 52 weekly departures, has been asked to contribute $723,711, while Grenada has been asked to commit $487,133. Grenada has 35 weekly Liat departures.

Dominica, the country with the smallest stake and least flights—25 weekly departures—has been asked to contribute $347,9238 to save the airline.

Despirate call

But Mr Gonsalves said only his country had adhered to Liat’s desperate call for financial help, setting aside $1 million to help the carrier. Without funding from the other stakeholders, the airline will collapse, he predicted.

Barbados Minister of Tourism Kerrie Symmonds bluntly stated in March that Barbados, the majority shareholder in Liat, was not Liat’s ATM machine. He said this while at the same time expressing interest in keeping the airline alive.

“The governments have not been responding so the shareholders are reaching a critical point now and if you ask me, what is likely to happen … there will be a transitional restructuring leading to a closure of LIAT,” Mr Gonsalves said.

According to news reports from around the Caribbean, Liat stakeholders will meet in Barbados at the end of April to address the worsening crisis.

 

16 Responses to “Closure of LIAT ‘Imminent’ – Chairman ”

  • Spice (24/04/2019, 19:10) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Grenada also gave 1million to this bad managed Airline.
  • qc (24/04/2019, 20:25) Like (2) Dislike (27) Reply
    oh my Andrew you must help save LIAT
  • Tbe rock (24/04/2019, 20:54) Like (2) Dislike (26) Reply
    I think all csribbean islands including the USVIs, thst Liat flies too should of contribute to this cause, liat has been around a long,. Long time!
    • True (24/04/2019, 21:50) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
      why should everyone give money to a business model that does not work , let it fail another will emerge with better service and fair fares
    • l (25/04/2019, 09:02) Like (24) Dislike (1) Reply
      LIAT is the cause of their own demise. Too many years of bad service. We deserve better.
  • asking for a friend (24/04/2019, 22:05) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Where are the rich Caribbean islands?
  • Hmm (25/04/2019, 05:10) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Liat need to adjust itself... why sell tickets if you still going to run out of business
  • Ms. Penn (25/04/2019, 07:21) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
    Flying to Guyana is $1,100.00.. I could fly half way cross the world for that same money. The disservice that liat continues to provide Wild never entice anyone to invest. You are asking others for help and still bold face robbing them
  • 2cent (25/04/2019, 08:42) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
    They not telling the whole story they fired a guy in Cruz and he hit them a lawsuit and he won big !!!
    Years of over price flight and bad service coming home to roost !
    Sorry for who will loose jobs but management and top end needs fixing
  • 2 grand (25/04/2019, 11:15) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Price structure is a major part of liat's demise. Rediculous fares stifled traveling frequency for people who would enjoy traveling at will to going only when it is a must
  • Halo 19 (26/04/2019, 00:47) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    How much shares can $7 mil get the BVI? Let’s get the NDP government to give us back our money and make an offer to Liat under the terms, that it needs to restructure, downsize, improve its customer service and philosophy, rebrand, we want 5 planes homes based in the BVI, and some of our people working for Liat in all areas. Lastly, and most important we want a seat or two at the Board level and a few key management positions. After all we can’t do any worst than past or current management.
  • Die n peace (26/04/2019, 10:56) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time for liat and Ralph to exit the scene... They are not working for us..Just a few that getting richer and richer while things getting worst.. Give another Airline another leader a chance.... Ralph shut down Caribbean Sun the real peoples airline to benefit liat.. Yet liat failed miserably... God don't like ugly
  • E. Leonard (26/04/2019, 13:33) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Undoubtedly, LIAT (1974) Ltd closure will be a major body blow to regional travel. LIAT started in 1956 providing inter-island service between Montserrat and Antigua. And in time, it became a major regional passenger and cargo carrier, providing service from Puerto in the north to Guyana in the south. My first flight was on LIAT. LIAT currently owned by approx 7 regional countries, viz, Barbados, Antigua, St. Vincent, Dominica.......etc has had some good years; it has had some partnerships,ie, BWIA, Court Line, Caribbean Star....etc with mixed results. But of late, it seems to have fallen on hard times. The following is quote from Wikipedia: “LIAT has a mixed reputation among both locals and visitors to and from the Caribbean Islands.[31][32][33] Their flights often operate irregularly, with inconsistent arrival and departure. Baggage is often misdirected or not loaded entirely. They are known for having very poor customer service, late departures, flights cancellation and their staff are criticised as surly and unhelpful.“ This is a deep and tough hole but not insurmountable to climb out of.

    Moreover, the region cannot let LIAT fail, for it provides invaluable inter-island air transport services. The whole region should cooperate and collaborate on providing the approx $6M bailout. Clearly, as noted above, LIAT has a myriad of problems and before receiving the bailout, LIAT requires some structural changes, accountability, fiduciary responsibility....etc. The first order of business is finding out the cause(s) of LIAT failure, ie, falling demand, ineffective leadership and management, poor customer service, competition, ineffective oversight ........etc. The airline business is a labour, capital, and safety intensive business with a razor-thin profit margin. Passenger loading is a critical factor in any airline staying airborne. There is a fix cost with every flight take off and landing; this cost is covered with paying passsngers. The passenger loading at some destinations may not be sufficient to support flights without government subsidies. It is about airline economics.
  • Disinterested (26/04/2019, 17:42) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Let LIAT die a natural death. LIAT has had a monopoly on regional air travel for decades yet it failed miserably. If it cannot run profitably with a monopoly, how can it deal with strong competition? Save us from more pain and misery. Let’s invest our time and energy in something else.
  • The English Language (27/04/2019, 14:13) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    W

  • HAHA (30/04/2019, 22:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    liat and other carriers fight down red jet and now they are falling ,they should have left red jet so they would have an airline to compete with and still be alive, when you greedy this tends to happen


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