“From all indication, LIAT will be liquidated,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne has just announced.
The Prime Minister said there will be a meeting of all shareholders shortly to discuss collapsing LIAT.
A new entity will be formed.
“COVID would have actually, let’s say increased the losses exponentially, so whereas in all of 2019 LIAT made a loss of about EC$12 million, that was within the means of the shareholder governments to subsidize,” Browne said on local radio in Antigua.
“You would have found that since COVID, the planes have been grounded, they have to pay the lease payments and they are not getting any revenue.
“A decision will have to be made to collapse it and then maybe the countries within the region will have to come together to form a new entity,” Browne added.
The Antigua and Barbuda leader says he cannot see the region moving forward without a form of connectivity and you cannot have an integration movement if people cannot connect.
New entity will require full cooperation
Browne said the new entity will require full cooperation with a mixture of public and private capital.
“What I’m hoping that we do not have going forward with the new entity, is any squabble over the location of the headquarters,” Browne said.
“At the end of the day, the only service that Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed … within CARICOM is LIAT and this has been the case for several decades.
“So I just hope that we are not going to have countries within the region opportunistically fighting us to get the headquarters in their country to displace Antigua and Barbuda,” added Browne.
Leeward Island Air Transport was established in 1956 on the island of Montserrat. In 1971 Court Line Aviation of the UK acquired control and renamed the airline LIAT. Ownership of the airline was acquired by 11 Caribbean Governments in 1974 and it was renamed LIAT (1974) Ltd.
Formation of new entity must be swift
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Browne said the formation of the new entity must be done swiftly.
“Back in 1974 when LIAT was collapsed, my understanding is that it took a day to start the the operation of a new entity,” he said.
“It may be a little more difficult to get it done within 24 hours and I do understand that there are a number of stakeholders that we have to satisfy, especially creditors and I believe that we could do a work out with the various creditors and to literally get some arrangement in which they can accept that we are not conveniently closing LIAT 1974 Ltd. The governments cannot go any further with it.
“And these creditors, including the staff of LIAT, have to understand that there will have to be some level of cooperation to include possibly some cuts on their liabilities in order to facilitate the creation of a new, viable and sustainable entity,” Browne said.
Not enough assets to satisfy all creditors
The Prime Minister made the point that LIAT does not have sufficient assets to satisfy the requirements or claims of most of its creditors, including the airline’s employees.
“LIAT only owns three planes and those planes are charged to the Caribbean Development Bank, so clearly they have a superior claim and after they would have covered their claim there will be hardly any assets available to liquidate severance and other liabilities to staff and other creditors, so there has to be a negotiated position,” Browne said.
“The governments won’t be bandits and just walk away from the staff, they will have to pay some form of compassionate payments to assist them. But they have to understand that they are legally vulnerable and that they have to look at the bigger picture and to cooperate, not to become litigious and to prevent the creation of a new LIAT.”
‘We should not run away from the name LIAT’
Browne is already making it clear that he would want the new entity to retain LIAT in its name.
“We should not be running away from the name LIAT,” he said.
“LIAT is a Caribbean institution built by Caribbean people of which we should be proud. Many institutions in the US in the aviation industry, including American Airlines, they have gone belly-up many times over. They never discontinued the name American Airlines. Americans are proud to support the name American Airlines, but whereas they have their Chapter 11 protection, we don’t have that in our laws.
“And that is why you need this level of creditor cooperation in order to ensure that we can form a new entity,” Browne said.
Hundreds will lose jobs
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the new airline will be much leaner that the current LIAT, which employs hundreds throughout the region.
“Let’s face it, it’s going to be a right-sized entity. You are going to have significant job losses, there’s no doubt about it. Hundreds of people are going to lose their work, it is inescapable” Browne said.
“But if you are going to have a new entity that is scaled down, that is viable, that is efficient, that can meet the connectivity needs of the Caribbean people, then clearly that has to be the option that we pursue.”
LIAT was founded by aviation pioneer, Sir Frank Delisle in October 1956. He was LIAT’s sole employee, operating one three-seater Piper Apache aircraft flying between Antigua and Montserrat.
In 1957 the airline extended its route structure to include St Eustatius, St Maarten and St Kitts. It also added one six-seater Beechcraft Twin Bonanza to its fleet.
LIAT made its first operating profit of EC$653,000 in 1982.
88 Replies to “LIAT to be liquidated and new airline formed – PM Gaston Browne”
If another air line is formed it should be completely fresh and definitely not have Antigua as it head office. Liat has been mismanaged by the Antigans .
Sorry Browne, if you ain’t got no dog in the fight, you can’t determine where to build the kennel. Who got the money, got the say.
LIAT should be relocated as the first order on the agenda whenever a new airline is formed , you Minister Brown you had a chance to put your money where your mouth is and only because you was getting free milk you declined.Antigua is one of the least shareholders with over two third of LIAT’s employees from Antigua , do the maths PM Brown , the time has come for you to carry your own oats and stop manipulating your Caricom partners .
Gloria Paul. Having the Head Office in Antigua doesn’t means it was mismanaged by Antigua. Everyone is to be blamed, but the board members comprises mostly of Bajans. Are you from Barbados???
That is EXACTLY why LIAT is where it is at today … now as it is … governments have to come together to make the new entity happen but he is jumping the gun suggesting that the HQ not move from Antigua.
But if we are talking a business model which is looking at efficiency and profitability what happens if its logistically cheaper to HQ in another Caribbean territory. Clearly he already doesn’t care about nothing but historicity.
Next thing … suppose the name its self brings the curse? Why cant they completely rebrand the new entity?
LIAT also gained some acronyms over the years which were not positive…
Leave Island Any Time.
Is he really open to the formation of a new entity?
Finally, hes now crying for a private/public partnership right? But a few years back governments did all they could to see the backend of Red Jet. I smell a bit of hypocrisy here.
I’m all for a new start. All now I want to attend a conference in Jamaica in August. As a trade unionist and a Lions club attendee I welcome frequent and fair-priced regional travel with open arms. But I just hope our leaders can be mature about its start up and operationalising.
While Browne makes some sense, he only represents one voice out of many shareholders. When they meet around the table it’s no telling where this is going to end up. Liat has had misfortunes for too long. I’ve always craved to have a business where people pump money into it whenever it needs like the shareholders have done with Liat for ages. Surely not a sustainable situation.
In my view the governments need to let a privately owned commercial airline or airlines operate to provide the links we need as a region; just provide the support mechanisms to make it affordable for passengers to want to fly, making it viable for the airline(s).
One of the things that annoyed me deeply a few years ago was to hear chairman Dr Gansalves declare that Liat cannot be profitable. I thought he should have simply resigned and say HE cannot make Liat profitable… simply because he is a socialist and Liat needed to be managed like a managed like a commercial entity…. leaving the opportunity for entrepreneurs or other airlines to fill in the gaps.
Gloria Paul, which Antiguan mismanaged LIAT? I am sure you are aware that it is all expatriates we’re at the helm of LIAT. Those from our region who were given a chance also didn’t do any better. Look at LIAT now, it appointed its first female CEO with a financial bank ground, who we all thought would be the game changer LIAT and instead of taking it to a new altitude, it nose dive.
I want to know what goin to happen to me I stuck in st Vincent wen I really going bbk to guyana what will happen to my ticket
I disagree They should not keep the name LIAT too much mismanagement. Start fresh and give the Caribbean people value for their money and respect of time. That’s one thing I hated about LIAT. The inconvenience of time. Time is money. Fresh start me say!!!
And the fight already began….
The purpose of an airline is to transport people. Unfortunately LIAT has been unable to deliver this function in a satisfactory way. The opportunity now exists for a rethink of how we and our goods travel between the islands. Air routes would be better served by smaller operators working in a competitive environment, giving priority to customer satisfaction. And the time is ripe to introduce ferry services that serve travelers and trade.
We as travelers should not be inconvenienced by politicians fighting turf wars – come on how does a 30 minute journey between two islands turn into a day long excursion because passengers must pass through the “holding pen” in Barbados. This is clearly not acceptable and it is not rocket science to have better routes and schedules.
Customers first or perish.
And the insularity begins. As much as I don’t like Browne, no government is to blame more than any other. The major shareholders have all tried to have their way and made huge mis-steps. When are we going learn in the Caribbean that we should stop fighting each other and share? In a globalised world we will ALL suffer alone. Chalkdust needs a “seawater and sand ” part two.
A change in headquarters might make the big difference in not only revenues but shareholders. Try another country.
Good idea, now LIAT headquarters will be moved out of ANTIGUA. His strangle hold will be removed completely. COVID-19 bringing something GOOD. The end of LIAT as is…………………..Thank you.
sam i agree with you 1000% you is so Right Antigua has no say in the matter so pm Browne please step back and let the new owners make they decision its time the Headoffice fine a new home.
PM Browne, if you want the head office to be in Antigua and reap the most benefit then you must be the main investor. A re-imagined airline might not even require a single head office, if any at all or maybe it could be rotated between the investors.
However a new airline can not be based in Barbados, unless it is entirely privately funded. A new government owned or part owned airline will be impossible until the financial footing of the country is on track or risk the wrath of the IMF.
Browne is wrong – a cooperation between islands is simply unrealistic, for example look at the current LIAT.
A airline also has a value to the various economies of the region which is more than a few dollars – people need to think.
Barbados is not the right place for this even with funding, unless they suddenly find a department of civil aviation and tear up some of the stupid red tap that the Barbadians love…
The true begining of any “new” regional Caribbean airline is with the COLLAPSING of the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation. (“ECCA”) debacle we have to “regulate” (obstruct) regional civil
Aviation. Which is staffed by “bitter because we failed in real world aviation”..so let’s flex our muscles and throw our weight around. HIRE COMPETENT PEOPLE. Next, those fairies that sit in the cockpits of LIAT should be left OUT of the decision making process of what aircraft suits LIAT’s mandate, which should be first and foremost MAKING MONEY, while providing affordable service. Next LIAT should be repackaged into a PUBLICLY traded company, on the London Stock exchange or wherever the financial gurus see fit. Next , this thing about CEO’s arriving and changing entire fleets of aircraft for commissions they get from manufacturers MUST STOP! (Make it a capital offense). Headquarters? Who cares? Also screw the IMF, slavery done and reparations still pending. So now is the time to collapse the import duties that goes directly to the IMF and call it reallocation of funding to start new regional airline in lieu of reparations. Next go back to Bombardier and get four (4) Q400’s and expand into Brazil, Panama, Venezuela, Belize, Jamaica, Bahamas, A TRUE REGIONAL airline. And most importantly STOP the fairies and other employees from running personal businesses under the complicit noses of upper management, which is leaving paying passengers, freight, luggage, down to accommodate their home construction or remodeling and or informal freight business at expense of the airline’s fuel and other costs. All that S – – T must STOP. If not this is an exercise in planned obsolescence. Also, in parting, an outside knowledgeable auditor should be hired to secretly fly the line unannounced to make sure all is being done correctly.
On the issue of ECCA, a regional body of civil aviation law that matches the FAA of the US must, shall and will be constructed and mannned by QUALIFIED and dedicated personnel so Caribbean aviation can be in par at all levels. On the issue of rapid startup? Wet lease and entire airline and give them concessions and viola new entity starts tomorrow. Or just maybe I need to form a new party and become prime minister in the fiefdom of the share holder country that spit me out and fix it myself…among other things the regional heads of state too scared to address? Come on people. Time to join progress and stop barking at the moon emotionally.
Gloria Paul if they are majority chairholder in the airline. As far as am aware Barbados had or have the majority shares in the airline. As far as I know the Chairman for many years was Jean Holder who from Barbados and I think the present chairman is also from Barbados. I only did a few management courses in my degree because management was not my major.But are not the management decisions not made at the level of shareholders and the chairman.So how can it only be mismanaged by Antigians.
Sorry Mr Browne, Barbados still offers the best hub for a Caribbean airline …even if it means that your countrymen get a guarantee of the most jobs … also Barbadians should back Bizzie Williams to be a major shareholder plus Caribbean governments should drop their taxes by at least 60% in the first three years… Let’s get it done by the end of July …I want to revisit St.Vincent, Antigua, Montserrat, Guyana and St. Kitts-Nevis as a 21-day package before Covid-20 or 21 gets me…
The New airline could be named “LIAT COVID 19”
Here goes one of the Caribbean Islands rogue! For so many years now the rogues if the Islands have been throwing away millions of dollars in subsidising lie-at and still no progress and profits. The dominican rogue a few years ago throw away eight million dollars in lie-at. These Caribbean rogues like all the African rogues can only fail and bring misery to the Islands they hold power in. Lie-at is more about corrupt politricks than giving good air travel service.
Whatever the final out come is a focus must be placed on ensuring much more affordable air travel between the Caribbean islands. If for no other reason let it be for students attending universities, persons attending sporting events and some of us who prefer to do vacations in the beautiful Caribbean. If more affordable fares is achieved then we all will be better of financially. I love the Caribbean
I am in full agreement with David Bristol. Customers should Come first not last. Travel between our nations should be affordable and efficient. Politicians have made it impossible for an airline to provide either.
1. Taxes have killed any chance of a regional airline to be profitable forcing airlines to reduce their prices to get the load factors higher at the cost of good customer service. So get rid of all the taxes for at least three years to give the airline a chance to become profitable
2. We as a region must invest in ferries. We can never be an integrated region without been
able to trade with each other and currently LIAT is the only regular Regional freight service. Ferry services are essential.
3. The hubs at Barbados and Antigua are appallingly badly managed. Get rid of them and put in direct flights. We have all had experiences of flying over our final destination only to arrive there hours later. Cut the cost of fuel by taking people to where they want to go and not to where they don’t want to go.
4. Head quarters. It Doesn’t matter where it is. Technology and rapid communication render location unimportant . Let the interested countries bid for it.
5. Get the politicians fingers out of the pie.
6. Lets get regional travel started as soon as possible so we can get our economies walking again.
Mr. Browne, why are you commenting about the future of LIAT if the meeting with the shareholders has not been held as yet?
The primary focus should be on getting the entire Caribbean region running quickly with an effective and efficient regional air service. If we continue to procrastinate on ‘headquarters location’ as the focus of the discussion together with all the faults attributed to LIAT from 1956 (groan) we will continue to go around in circles getting nowhere, meanwhile the whole region suffers. This is a great opportunity to get it right and stimulate regional trade and to do so profitably. International airlines have reached common ground to form successful alliances and our regional governments can make this work too. As we have seen during Covid, much of what we do now is ‘virtual’, so do we really need to be squabbling about headquarters location in 2020, rather than uniting as one people to make the region profitable and sustainable? The egotistic squabbles are a major hindrance to progress!
A new Airline to replace Liat would be better served Caribbean people if it’s headquarters not be place in Antigua and Barbuda.
New name, same game. It’s time for LIAT to move back to Barbados. Otherwise that name change will be a waste of time and money.
LIAT was a disaster waiting to happen. For many years they have taken passengers for granted, with high ticket cost and a dismal punctual record. It is now the right time to form a new airline under a new name. The headquarters should be moved as well. I would also suggest investing in larger aircraft to service international routes.
I think this a very healthy discussion. We in the Caribbean must learn to talk openly, agree to disagree and respect each other’s views!
I think the name should change as one post said before the name has a bad taste in Caribbean people’s mouth. I think the Head Quaters issue Should be a part of a feasibility study where what is best for success is the most salient point.
Customer satisfaction of the utmost impotance in this brand new venture!
Can we solicit some informed comments CV certainly they must be in some qualified airline people in the region. Someone said customer service first ok let us peg that as #1 now add to the list what are the next 6 things we need to create a successful airline. I believe LIAT as a name has lost all customer appeal could a name change be #2.
Bye Bye Antigua. My God, at last. Bye bye brownie. Running a country with shareholder’s money. Now find a way and means of employing Antiguans.
PM Browne speaks like he is already aware of the new owners…. maybe Mr. AYRE, the islands new Stanford has expressed great interest?
Liat has to return on a much smaller scale as a new entity.
It seems more apparent to me the
people of Antigua where most employees reside will suffer the most.
There is a new 19 seater in
production works with less operating costs liat must look
Into. I say get rid of the ATR’s they are unaffordable.
There must be an airline to provide
regional transportation in the area,
however if 30 plus years of Government subsidies have not made Liat profitable then Liat has
to be allowed to liquidate and get
out of the airline business.
As far as comments go David Bristol you hit the nail on the head. Most who commented have no idea what they are speaking about. Please go do research before posting negative comments. It will be a sad day to see LIAT go after so many years. I pray that the employees will get paid their severance.
Air Transportation is a very costly business enterprise, particularly maintenance, which is governed by International Regulatory Agencies. The failure of LIAT has little to do with one single territory but rather collective responsible and, just maybe, a reflection of an institutional educational system that has failed to produce the required talents to manage businesses like an airline, inspire of having a monopoly advantage. LIAT has transported millions of passengers across this Caribbean region together with undue intervention by our heads of governments, who have imposed a lot of costly demands, to include LIAT being a good corporate citizen to provide FREE air travel.
Over the many, many years other airlines have tried and have also failed and I am hard pressed to remember those names. Under tremendous odds, LIAT has served this region well, particularly with its safety record. For considerations, let us look at the take-off and landing stresses because of the regions’ geographical makeup; certainly these conditions have not helped. The LIAT route structure consists of destinations that are very closely separated by water.
LIAT has survived many, many competition and if I had to bet, any new airline formation with the same Caribbean mentally, will suffer the same fate. LIAT is a reflection of the failure of our Caribbean politics. How are the Caribbean doing politically? What are we teaching at our Caribbean Colleges and Universities? Are we just satisfied with having graduates for the same of degrees? How are these graduates contributing to the regional development? We are witnessing some of the laziest Regional Leaders, who, for some, are taking the region back into a new form of colonialism.
So LIAT being used as whipping horse will not solve a real inherit problem, which is a larger issue. We as a Caribbean people need to do some real and honest introspection, starting with education. We need to look at a new approach with new thinking; until then, collapsing and changing a name and Head Office will not solve the challenge that we are now faced with.
We need some means of transportation between the islands so let’s get is right and the world we could work together for our own good
They need to look at making regional travel less expensive. Why is it cheaper to travel to the United States from the Caribbean than it is to go from Antigua to Barbados? Its ridiculously priced for a region that is contributing to such an Airline. Are we still stuck in a Colonial mentality that money clouds even having real integration among the people of this Region?
What If LIAT cannot be viable? What if we should be running it as a loss leader? Regional unity has been crippled as a result of ridiculous cost of air travel, that needs to stop. The solution of all islands investing in a regional carrier but there needs to be a bit more SMART planning with a strategic consideration to running the regional air carrier in a manner to encourage travel and not restrict it as a Luxery. A point of focus should be solving a simple issue…. make it so that when I purchase a ticket from St Lucia to Dominica or Grenada true price isn’t comparable to travel to NYC! Solve that and if it is that cannot be solved and keeping the carrier viable then consider a strategy to run it by the islands as a loss leader, but keep the cost of travel down!
It is very simple we need to work together as a Caribbean people
Looking at the LIAT Ticket Prices is a grave concern. About 80% goes to government taxes and 20 % to LIAT. Can’t governments give LIAT tax exemptions for a few years, like they do with the major White owned Hoteliers. This will in turn help the airline to recuperate some funds. Finally as black people do…. stop bickering son the small issues like Name and HQ and concentrate on financial bakers like myself who’s willing to put money in , or start a Campaign in the UK to save our airline!!!
Will the new entity be selling shares so that the airline belongs to the people to be supported by the people.
I have started a social media campaign to highlight Liat”s predicament. I will also apply my comment I sent to your news paper,that you refuse to profile. We think because I stated WHITE HOTELIERS getting Tax Exemptions. It’s time banana leave the Uncle Tom Mentality in the closet and stop worrying about offending those White Supremest. Your truly COMBERMARIAN
Unfortunately the bickering has started. CARICOM needs to get real and finally do move towards a Federation.
A clean sheet for LIAT does not necessarily mean either a change in name or headquarters. Airline economics may well dictate Antigua as the most suitable location, certain fixed assets and expertise already exists there.
Geographical location is important for a viable route system.
Let’s face it, LIAT in some form must exist, as a family we must pull together to get both our future and regional airline right.
For quite some time now LIAT has been in trouble financially. One of those reasons could be that the fares fares are too high to travel between the islands it service. In some cases the fares are just a few dollars different to places like Canada and the U S. There are a lot of persons wanting to travel through the Caribbean but after comparing fares option to travel else where. If by liquidating LIAT and starting fresh means reasonable fares through the islands and on time departures I am for it. If not this is all just hot air and a waste of time.
Bim Jim, where are you ?, this is your pet piece. All ideas welcome.
Let us FLY the Caribbean and not SAIL the Caribbean. Price sell ticket seats.
Time to go private with government support, Barbados also does not have any track record for successful airline management, LIAT’s CEO, former CFO, two successive Board Chairmans and more are all Barbadians. We have already forgotten RedJet, and the small 4-engine jet Caribbean ??? that “node dived”. Antigua also had Caribbean Star and Sun, and we all know where those “birds” flew. Bickering and finger pointing gets us no where, let the market decide.
Relocate the headquarters to the nature island Dominica and see wonders happen. I know some of you are burying you alls head in the sand with such sarcasm but who knows if given the chance.
Although I can share some sentiments aired on this platform, I must ask the question; are some of you people for real. Didn’t covid teach us anything. We here ranting and raging about Headquarters and LIAT meanwhile none of us can even feed ourselves, we got bigger fish to fry. There should be no blame game here, however mismanagement comes from each party involved so we must see the equilibrium point. Let’s just come together, which is what we were trying to do since West Indies federation. 2020 and still no successful integration plan/processes. Wake up my people and stop the bickering. Let’s just do this thing together, we are not only black but we are one Caribbean. Love you all. We can do this together so let’s get to it.
I’m not a aviation specialist but the fact of the matter is LIAT needs an internal restructuring of management, people with vision and an attitude for prosperity. Over the years the approach management took cannot work in this modern world. They will have to find a way to manage the situation moving forward completely differently. One way, subdividing the entity for two locations to handle leeward flights and windward flights. Controlling and handling air transport totally differently and by adding or extending new destinations according to hub locations. Obviously everyone is fighting for control. Why does have to be a competition amongst ourselves. Everyone want to shine but not see your brother or sister shine also. Bring back the slavish mentality for control in a modern era. It is time to think outside the box and listen. What used to work doesn’t work like it should anymore. New times call for diversified changes within the transportation industry. We need to stop bickering amongst our Caribbean brothers and sisters. I tend to hear the arguement of this big island small island talk like back in the WICB days. We seriously need to realize that there are entities outside looking at us praying for the our collapse. We are vulnerable. We are hurting because we cannot come together with fear or malaise. If ever country had money they would sure start their own Airline. That’s not going to happen. The power that be need to change they mindset and rethink re-strategize and empower for our great Caribbean dream.
LIAT should have never used the ATR-42 airplanes in the first place. They should have done a better job researching cost effectiveness and do a break even point analysis. Secondly, having governments involved created a bias situation by limiting competition that drive prices down. Having politics involved with business created overstaffing and IOU situations. LIAT never explored the option of using small, cost effective airplanes, expanding routes, and taking advantage of routes where they had no competition.
The heads of governments got to get real they made this bold declaration Freedom of moments of Caribbean people , how will this manifest when we do not have a reliable Regional transport systems why not invest in sea transport like we had before the Federal Maple and the Federal Pam it will be a more affordable and more reliable means of transport
A new Caribbean Airline, managed efficiently as a private entity makes sense, although it will be at the demise of LIAT. It makes no sense to continue pumping money in an unprofitable enterprise. The government shareholders were the biggest free-riders. Stop looking to place blame … Look Forward. New Airline…new name…New Ownership..(If a Gov. put in money it is as a private entity) New Management (not influenced by gov)…HQ where it you get the best ROI…
It can happen….
Get Ready for Mayor lawsuit from all Liat creditors in the States !
Governments will have to pay there debts !
From a long time aviation professional…
1. For **_DECADES_** LIAT has been mismanaged from the very top – shareholder chairman down to top management – by political appointees and friends of the Board. Antigua had its share of political appointees, but no appointee from ANY country has ever been competent for a Board or top management position.
2. Barbadians cry out for LIAT to be based there, but on a practical note there are THREE very good reasons why Barbados should NOT be the new airline’s Head Office –
– a) Between overwhelming Bajan bureaucracy and local taxes the airline would NOT be profitable and would recede back into today’s begging” model
– b) With Barbados having its own currency – and with its overwhelming ever-braking time-wasting bureaucracy – the new airline would ALWAYS have a problem sending and receiving money overseas for the range of transactions which every airline MUST have
– c) Barbados does not have an independent CAA, and due to political lack of interest (and resignations by Officers in disgust) its CAD is unqualified, incompetent and unable to oversee the few small aircraft it has on the registry now. Excessive stupidity (or political instructions) made the BCAD accept a Boeing 747 on its registry – even though the BCAD does not have the personnel or qualifications to approve maintenance on just its nose wheel alone.
3. However you may feel about Antigua, it is the one place where most of the facilities already exist and where an airline of this size can operate without the usual political and bureaucratic harassment. To recreate that somewhere else (hangars, offices, infrastructure) would be a load of some US$30 million on the new owners. Not to mention the hardship in resettlement of all the licenced professionals (half of the company – pilots, engineers) who would have to relocate
4. The fault of the crash of LIAT lies not in COVID or in the people of the Caribbean whose hundreds of millions in taxes have supported it, it lies in the politicians who have for almost 50 years steadfastly refused to make LIAT into a commercial entity. In particular in Marxist Dictator Comrade Fat Ralph “Ganja Man” Gonsalves who has made sure for the last 15 years that the taxpayer supported the airline in increasingly greater costs, and that no qualified or competent person sat on the Board or in executive management positions. Even now, there is not a single person on the Board who really understands aviation, far less airlines.
Dictator Comrade Fat Ralph “Ganja Man” now has Argyle, SVG Air and One Caribbean on site, and no longer needs LIAT. Why he has not been rotated out as Chairman, as all regional leaders are, is a complete mystery, and smacks deeply of political corruption.
Maybe it is time for LIAT to go. But what may replace it – Caribbean Airlines – may be worse for the rest of us. Trinidadian politicians and CAL management have already made it crystal clear that any routes they fly MUST make money, so whether they get sweetheart seat subsidies or they charge excessive fares – or even operate the routes you want to fly at all – will be a Trinidadian decision which has nothing whatsoever to do with our needs. So if you think CAL is the solution to our problems, wheel and come again.
I have travel extensively throughout the region, using our regional carrier, LIAT, only to be met with much inconvenience, poor service especially in Antigua.
I would incline to think that LIAT would be better manage from Barbados. Furthermore all Caribbean countries that is service be LIAT should contribute to the financial viability of that carrier.
All landing fees should be abolished, and passed on that cost to every tax payer of the region that is serviced by LIAT. I would support a name change. Would like to suggest Caribbean Regional Connection Flights.(CRCF). Or Connect Caribbean Flights (CCF). Or Regional Connection Airlines (RCA).
Why don’t you ask O’Leary to do the job?
A new entity must be private sector driven. Must not be a government monoply and allowed to compete with other entities like WINAIR, AIR ANTILLES, SEBOURN and CAL which operate similar equipment in the caibbean. Let the individual governments subsidise tickets for their nationals. If they wand to not the airline as an entity. Good that Mr. Brown who has a national vaested in interest could come around to this. Hope it s not an old present in a new wrapper. Know our Caribbean politicians are very good at this.
Booked a flight from St Vincent to Antigua and because of Covid19 the flight was cancelled what happens to our money
We actually live in England
No profits, means not much people travelling, noticed how empty those small planes are lately?? That is because y’all prices are
outrageous. A 25 mins journey shouldn’t turn into a whole day, especially after paying a thousand and some $$ for just 1 week round trip. People can’t even consider weekend trips anymore as they might either miss work on a Monday or probably reach extremely late. We can’t even enjoy each other islands without feeling the burden on our pocket. There are so many things you all need to evaluate. Think about your people and the opportunity you want to create for them. Give us something different this time. I still have faith
Reform of ticket pricing is needed, carefully budget what it takes to make an airline profitable in the region. We need growth and not stagnation and even bankruptsy.
Look at some successful business models. You not only loosing an airline but also tax dollars..be fair to the share dear governments, we need an airline, no question so pull up your sleeves..talk alone would not help..
Overjoyed to hear this crap airline has gone bust. Badly managed, badly operated, terrible ill-mannered staff with minimal training.
I just hope Trinidad government doesn’t get involved…..they wasting enough money on Tobago!!!
I appreciate the comments but please leave out the name calling. Does not help the situation here. Promote ideas for a new way forward. The Windward & Leeward need an airlines for inter regional travel.
FYI, LIAT was NEVER based in Barbados. LIAT has a pilot and flight attendant base in Barbados, but the Head Office and official Base was ALWAYS Antigua.
Any airline the management has to have a background in aviation. From the time Liat started not making a profit something needed to change. Guess countries without international airport at a loss. Back to taking boats to migrate between the Caribbean region. And since Liat issuing travel vouchers when they bankrupt how are we going to use those vouchers on which airline
Newsflash. Any entity created to replace LIAT operating under similar conditions of governmental control with regards to its route structure as well as the burdensome passenger taxes and other onerous fees levied is doomed for failure regardless of its headquarters. I would like to suggest that prior to any new undertaking that the governments of the various islands agree to substantially lower taxes and fees also if possible assist in negotiating fuel prices which constitute a significant operational cost.
Also they would need to look at the possibility of having mix fleet of aircraft depending on the passenger traffic available on certain routes.
Good comments by all ,however we have missed the key issues
affecting the sustainability of LIAT throughout the years.
The many airport taxes, the short routes , the operational cost on these routes, the load factor caused by the cost of inter island travel and the list goes on.
If only there was money to be made in regional air transport we would have seen a host of investors trying to get a piece of the market.
In short no airline can survive this regional airport tax environment without government subsidies.
Too much mis management by those governments.
Liat pricing was not too bad however they were all using the Liat ticket to levy all kinds of taxes against passengers.
Lord have mercy.
We in the caribbean could create our own tourism but for those taxes.
How am I going to get from the St.Croix to Antigua now? I hope this situation is fixed fast. Liat plays a very important part in air transportation in the Caribbean. No one wants to be put in more expense to travel to the states first to get where they are going. Fix this fast.
The challenge of airlines in the region have been three fold .
Firstly, governments and politicians want to dictate its operation/ headquarters based on their own agenda.
Secondly we continue to acknowledge its strategic importance to movement around the islands yet we heavily tax the passengers rather than look to the benefits of increased traffic on economies.
Thirdly pronouncenents are made on its future based on historical and ideological reasons and not commercial considerations. Hence the reason PM Browne can put conditions in without even a meeting and an idependent commercial assessment. It will simply fail.
If the head doesn’t function, how is the rest of the body supposed to function? The entire leadership team needs to be replaced with qualified leadership and not who knows who/family members. You need a team who can EFFECTIVELY run the organization without bias. When too many hands are in the pot, you will end up with a disastrous outcome. Until the Board recognizes these issues, there will be no change.
Remember Wicbc move to Antigua.Mr,Browne has a chance to become largest shareholder.No where does a minority rule.
When Frank Delisle founded LIAT he recognized that an Airline in the Caribbean can only function cost effectively and efficiently if its Overhead Costs are kept to a minimum. He appointed agents in each Island who received a commission on their sales of tickets and who operated the Airport counter and ramp staff. He had no employees in these Island neither did he own any infrastructure and had no Unions to deal with. His costs were his Pilots,flight attendants and engineers and his hanger rental and thus was he able to be profitable. When the Various Caribbean Governments took over after Court Line went bankrupt in England they bought and built edifices in each Island hired hundreds of employees and basically guaranteed that the new LIAT could never be profitable.
The Only hope for a new Caribbean Airline is to go back to the basics. Start from scratch with essential employees only and thus ensure that the Airline can be sustainable.
A well known saying in Aviation Circles is ” If you want to make a little money in Aviation…you must start with a lot.”
Private enterprise without Government interference but with negotiated Nav/Com costs and reasonable Landings Fees and Ticket Taxes is the only way forward and that is in normal times!…with COVID-19 all bets are off that any Airline can survive until the World returns to some level of normalcy. This is very evident by the number of major Airlines that are surviving only because of their massive Government subsidies.
As far as location is concerned economics should dictate the location not Politics.
Without going to deep into this discussion. The first thing governments need to look carefully at the logistics of operating a new airline. One of the main focus should be on lowering the cost of ticket prices to influence intra-regional travel. The airport fees, taxation on tickets etc need to be structurally strong to influence profitability. For far too long it has been too expensive to travel throughout the Caribbean.
Liat. ..Covid 19..Cruise ships,,,race wars.. China .lrussia..hurricanes ..Ralph Gonsalves. Gaston Browne.l ..People read the Bible.l ..more to Come.l Man has no answers .
Almighty God and Creator alone does ..Remember the Lords Prayer we all learnt.. Thy Kingdom Come .. aonly aGods Kingdom can save us. pray and look to God and stop all the worrying and anxiety. read Luke 21:25,26.
My only comment is that in a world of business and legality the Board of Directors would be held responsible for creating a plague over all these years that only a pandemic could bring an end to! I would not worry about where the Headquarters will be as It is my understanding that no Caribbean Govt has the finance to fund an Airline, so let whoever is going to throw a life line with a new operation, make all the decisions based on were is best for the future of the their Investment.
LIAT 2974 Ltd. Will be liquidated, the first question we must asked and find answer to here is: how did PM Browne arrived to this conclusion? Were there dialogue with the head of governments the primary stake/share holders? Were there consultation with economic and business legal expert to determine the best possible course of actions to this end?
What form will liquidation take? Is the entirety LIAT going to file bankruptcy? What are the best business course of actions available to ensure, the least financial impact on or to shareholders? Were all possibilities examine?
This is one of the reasons LIAT have failed to become profitable over the last four (4) decades; because it has, a ready source of financial bail out, each time it’s needed, so why apply business sense or diligent business practice in running LIAT? When it’s needed, the money will come!
It is folly like that of the concept of PM Browne that give rise to the failure of LIAT. How selfish can PM Browne be, it is clear, his main concern is, Antigua losing the headquarters of LIAT and all of the commercial benefits that comes with LIAT’s location; to some other country. We understand that the country that is home to the HQ of LIAT economy benefits tremendously, employment in several sectors, rent of facilities for business operations, storage and aircraft service and repair.
PM Browne, don’t care or took the time to give consideration to things such as operational cost, of operating from Antigua compare to some other country; he did not considered strategic point, labor cost and other economic basis that would benefit LIAT as an entirely and the Caribbean in general. It is time LIAT is properly restructured, and is actually run like a for profit business. A serious study need to be done or we will be spinning our new tap in mud.
Simple consideration should go to getting different size aircraft, so the appropriate size craft can service the routs that has small travel number tickets sold on a first come basis until the route regular travel numbers increase. There must be an efficient connection system, to ensure these passenger are connected to their destination with the least expenses to the company and travelers.
Their need to be greater management accountability.
Every blessed thing that Government is/has been involved in is horrendously badly managed and LIAT was/is no exception. Change the head office, name etc. will make no difference whatever.
It is so sad to see Caribbean Leaders fitting the stereotype of $h!tH0le country. After all these years you own only three planes and the loan on these planes are still being paid..smh..Antigua already making noise for the headquarters. Antigua already saying they got nothing from the Caricom. We will always fight for the crumbs that is falling out the plate of the super powers of the world because we cannot even act like we are together. If it going to be a fight for HQ then just deep for a special symbols each country have three tries to get it.
Hello all, I am not surprised, my thing would be that the liat that I have been traveling with from Trinidad, Barbados, to Guyana, has always been substandard, the staff being very rude. The schedules terrible, which cost me in extra time taxi fares, on more than one occasion.
If they regroup, they need to have international customer care. Who ever ends up running it. And instead of one airline , at least two as competition keeps you on your toes. If it goes back to the one donkey cart, nothing will have changed, every day eating porridge with no milk or sugar, just water
My understanding of insolvency, bankruptcy, and liquidation law tells me that these workers — unsecured creditors — will never get a cent after the airline’s assets — mainly aircraft — are sold. It is the banks that lent money to LIAT to keep it flying with these loans secured by the ability to seize and sell the aircraft and other assets who will get anything in this process.
Some people are opining that a new government entity should be formed from LIAT’s ashes. Such people are mad.
I understand Browne’s position from the post… Secure Antiguans positions and compensations as they are probably the largest employment base… However, my expectation with the new entity is that the “Caribbean Airline” can not have Leeward Islands in its title… LiAT has to go… If my tax will be part of the new entity, it has to reflect the entire Caribbean… GRENADA included… I suggest the new name to be “Caribe Airways” or “Air Caribe”…
Instead of focusing solely on air transport, Caribbean governments should partner with Tesla to develop solar- and battery-powered ferries for inter-island travel…
Empty seats ensures a grounded airline. High ticket cost makes it difficult to fill seats. Governments need to revisit the number of different taxes included in the cost to the passenger with a view to making air travel affordable and attractive.
Essentially, the governments collect exorbitant taxes which prohibits travel much to the poor financial performance of the airline, only to pump it back into the airline down the road to keep it flying. What’s the sense. Just remove the brunt of the taxes to stimulate travel.
Governments being shareholders of an airline unfortunately make it difficult for other operators to enter the market and be competitive. I believe governments should ‘stay out of it’ and facilitate to ensure competition and viability.
Don’t matter how you cut it, Barbados will not be burden with putting out the lion share of Dollars while others get FREE service. You must add to the pool or suffer the consequences. COVID-19 finally brought the Caribbean Leaders to their senses. We can not go on willy-nilly soaking the Tax Payer and then wasting the funds. The only thing leave for the Tax Payer to do is
vote out parties and replace them with another that do the same with no positive results. Hopefully the time is NOW.
Having taken a look at the present situation we the Caribbean people are being confronted by, I believe that good reason (don’t want to say common sense) calls for a definite change in how we proceed from here. It is a fact that The COVID 19 phenomenon has exposed everyone. Are we really serious about regional integration. Why are we taking so long to define LIAT problem the real problem. I mean no one has been able to come up with one viable solution. Like my good friend says he believes in the Psalms.
There is a need for regional connectivity via the airline modality, whatever entity that you create going forward if LIAT case is not solved from the existing issues, I am afraid that future generation will revisit this fiasco under the same sun.