PM Skerrit, willing to work to fill gap left by LIAT

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that the Government of Dominica is prepared to play its part in any effort towards improving air travel within the Caribbean. He made the announcement while addressing a press briefing recently.

According to him, air transportation is crucial for the economies of the Caribbean.

“In regards to LIAT 2020, as I have said before we are prepared to play our part as a government and as a country in any effort towards improving air travel within the Caribbean,” he said.

He continued, “And if we go back to contemporary times, you would recall that we invested in LIAT 1974 Limited and [as] a matter of fact when we invested then we were heavily criticized because we felt we were investing in a failed company, in a company that was losing money and we are just throwing good money.”

The Prime Minister told reporters that he indicated to those critics that if LIAT doesn’t fly for one day in the Caribbean, “we are in trouble” and if it doesn’t fly at all, “we are in real deep trouble.”

“Unfortunately, this has come to pass and we have seen the dramatic impact on air travel in the Caribbean, on our economies, on the tourism industry, because all the countries in the Caribbean–all with no exception–regional tourism is either number one or number two in terms of contribution of tourism to these countries,” he explained.

Despite the investment by InterCaribbean Airways, Caribbean Airlines, and Winair Airlines, there is still a gap because of the absence of LIAT.

“And therefore, we have to work towards filling that gap if we are to get back to LIAT servicing of operations,” Prime Minister Skerrit stated.

LIAT (1974) Limited, a regional airline owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, St Vincent and the Grenadines, permanently ceased all commercial flying operations on January 24, 2024.  This decision was taken by the court-appointed administrator, Cleveland Seaforth, after careful consideration and evaluation of the present operations.

LIAT (1974) Limited has been under administration since July 24, 2020. The airline serviced several regional destinations before it entered administration. Since then, it has scaled down its operations and is now only serving Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, San Juan Puerto Rico, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Maarten.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, during his country’s national budget presentation, said that his government had embraced the responsibility to restructure and resurrect LIAT, “with a vision of returning the airline to the regional skies.”

Browne also mentioned that LIAT has long been an essential thread in the fabric of Caribbean connectivity.

Browne shared that in 2023, LIAT 1974 Limited, which resumed flying operations after a hiatus, on November 1, 2020, operated a limited schedule, despite several hurdles, including unserviceable aircraft, unresolved issues for former workers, financial constraints, staff attrition, and disruptions caused by the hurricane season.

The airline ensured vital connectivity across destinations with 167 dedicated staff.

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  1. Safe
    March 26, 2024

    Every time that LIAT is mentioned in any press briefing, I have to shake my head. No one is willing to address the shoddy treatment of the flying public, by Silver Airways, on the San Juan to Dominica route.
    Time and time again, persons are left stranded, with no recourse, with Silver accepting no responsibility or accountability. With all the alleged resources, being put into our tourism product, and visitors being treated so poorly, our Nature Isle will soon become an undesirable destination.

  2. Lin clown
    March 26, 2024

    But when did skerry say that nun . The man in china eating fake food and watching tofu dreg projects and begging for money . I wonder when the man say that
    Lennox and the workers party would not be wasting the countries money with such a failed enterprise

    Lennox my good partner would know Liat is a failing entity and needs to be binned

  3. Truth
    March 26, 2024

    “Unfortunately, this has come to pass and we have seen the dramatic impact on air travel in the Caribbean, on our economies, on the tourism industry, because all the countries in the Caribbean–all with no exception–regional tourism is either number one or number two in terms of contribution of tourism to these countries,” Skerrit explained.
    Roosevelt Skerrit, regional tourism may be number one or number two in importance to the economy of Dominica but not to the economy of all countries in the Caribbean, you are talking nonsense! Trinidad, Haiti, Cuba, Guyana are all exceptions and even some of the obviously top Caribbean tourism destinations dependent on international tourism from Europe and North America like the Bahamas, Caymans and the number one tourism destination in the world, the Dominican Republic, certainly does not benefit from regional tourism and LIAT! What are you talking about? Speak for Dominica and stop pretending that you understand world economic affairs, you don’t!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0
    • Stay Focused
      March 27, 2024

      I like the way you put it however the DR is not the #1 tourism destination in the world. The U.S has Key West which by far outshines the DR, and if they want to stop it they simply issue a travel advisory like they did to k*** tourism in Jamaica.

  4. Ibo France
    March 25, 2024

    Millions and minions of dollars were poured into LIAT 1974 very again and again by not only the shareholder governments but many others. The more they invested, the more LAT failed. Why should the governments of the sub-region continue to use taxpayers hard owned , scare dollars to we a sunken ship afloat?

    If so of of the ‘leaders’ in the sub-region were to sed their own money to keep LIAT alive, none would have dare to invest. The private sector should invest in the aviation business. These governments fail at almost everything. Why would we expect that be successful at such a fickle industry?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
    • Sugars
      March 27, 2024

      Are you aware that more monies are put into foreign carriers in excess of 30 million yearly because the demand a minimum guarantee to operate in those islands? Compare that to 20 million given to liat every 10-15 years. Do u think it is easy to provide the kind of service liat did daily? The answer is no since none of the other airlines having been able to do so in 4 years.

  5. Zandoli
    March 25, 2024

    @Skerrit……if as you say regional tourism is so important to the tourism sector, why don’t you and the other regional governments reduce those exorbitant fees to make travel more affordable?
    I guess you and the other Caribbean leaders have not had to buy an airline ticket in years so you don’t have an appreciation for the plight of tge Caribbean traveller.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

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