American authorities have wasted no time in granting LIAT permission to operate flights including those within its territorial air space.
The Caribbean airline has, however, failed in its effort to have its permit exemption extended to two years. On May 1 the carrier, through American lawyer Lee A. Bauer, applied for the exemption to fly to several areas in the region including Barbados, and also American soil in Puerto Rico and Miami.
Director of the Office of International Aviation, Paul L. Gretch, granted the permission but just for one year from two days ago until June 12, next year.
“We found that LIAT has been properly licensed by the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to conduct the operations at issue here, that it continues to be substantially owned by a consortium of Caribbean countries, and that reciprocity and our overall aviation relations with those owner countries support grant of the renewed authority sought by the applicant,” the US Department of Transportation said.
But they added: “LIAT sought authority for a two-year period. The one-year duration of the authority we granted is consistent with our usual policy of granting exemption authority in the circumstances presented. We, therefore, dismissed the application to the extent that it sought authority for a longer period.”
American officials said they granted the exemption, which is a routine requirement for the international airline industry, on several grounds including that it was consistent with policy, and because LIAT “was qualified to perform its proposed operations”.
They added, though, that they “may amend, modify, or revoke the authority granted … at any time without hearing at our discretion”.
LIAT’s permit of exemption covers its transportation of people, property and mail to a number of destinations, including Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Trinidad.
Barbados, which has 1.4 million shares (49.33 per cent) in LIAT, is the lead stock holder in the airline, followed by Antigua and Barbuda (32.3 per cent) where its headquarters is located, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines (11.19 per cent). The airline is currently in the middle of its first major fleet renewal programme for many years, and received its first new aircraft yesterday. (SC)