LIAT’s fate remained up in the air Friday as the debt-ridden island hopper’s shareholder governments are yet to agree on a date for its annual general meeting.
In April, the airline, which is in debt to more than EC$100 million (One EC dollar = 74 cents), suspended commercial flights until June 30, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that resulted in many Caribbean countries shutting down their borders.
As the resumption date loomed, the carrier pushed back its decision until 15.
But earlier this month, the major shareholder governments of the Antigua-based airline, announced plans to liquidate the company. The government in St John’s, where LIAT is based, backed away from the idea put forward by the other shareholders, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.
Antigua and Barbuda has already announced plans for a new “LIAT 2020” and said that it has so far raised EC$20 million towards the venture. But Bridgetown and Kingstown claimed there are six privately owned airlines waiting to take over LIAT’s role in intra-regional travel.
So far, only one carrier, One Caribbean Airlines has announced services to some island destinations.
LIAT issued a statement Friday saying that during the suspension of its services it has “been working with a view to restart our operations as soon as possible”.
It said: “While the board and shareholders have considered numerous proposals to safeguard the survival of LIAT, the COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented challenges. These challenges have led to options which include a proposal to liquidate the airline.
“Further information about LIAT’s future will only be available after LIAT’s next Annual General Meeting which has not yet been scheduled.
“As a result, we deeply regret that we are unable to provide any further information to assure you, but promise to update you as soon as a decision has been made.” (BT/CMC)
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