Antigua & Barbuda spending half a million dollars a month to keep LIAT flying

LIAT aircraft

Antigua and Barbuda is currently dishing out almost 17 thousand EC dollars per day to keep regional airline LIAT airborne.

The colossal figure was revealed during a post Cabinet press conference held in St Johns on Thursday.

The money is coming from resources borrowed over a year ago for the purpose of re-capitalizing the airline.

A sub-committee of three ministers – Robin Yearwood, Molwyn Joseph and Lennox Weston – has been formed t track LIAT’s  – namely  – who will be tasked with tracking LIAT’s progress.

They will be meeting with decision makers and reporting back to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

Information Minister, Melford Nicholas, gave further details on the costs that LIAT is currently racking up.

He said the monthly payments amount to approximately $500,000 a month.

“So, over the next three months we would expect that we are going to be able to up the ante. By the time we get to the window where we have identified a suitable partner, the cost may run approximately $4 million to $4.5 million,” the information minister disclosed.

He said the funds are available but management is fundamental at this time.

“The funds are available and it’s the whole question of managing it effectively and dealing with the other operational challenges that we have with respect to LIAT going forward,” Nicholas added.

The minister said the government still has the bulk of a 15 million US dollar loan from the ALBA bank in Venezuela at its disposal to help fund LIAT. The money is being held in an escrow account.

He said talks with prospective investors are also ongoing.

In the meantime, the Antigua and Barbuda government is shouldering the financial burden alone.

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  1. Tt
    January 11, 2021

    That’s the money it takes but the issue isn’t money it’s management. How do you keep this airline viable during covid, in the height of steep competition. The Eastern Caribbean would have to pull together and make changes that will allow the airline to thrive or privatize it.

  2. Rhonda
    January 9, 2021

    In think we need to understand that LIAT or any regional carrier is of vital importance to our islands. ARL AH DEM. Ebry single Wan! So let’s try to debate solutions. It’s not just people that move through the islands, but goods too. Imagine going to the post office and being told your documents can’t be posted because there are no flights to the US, to the UK, to (insert your closest Caribbean island).
    Leave the false pride and the bad management comments at the door. Covid has taught us a lot, I think one being we need each other more than we realize. The Caribbean is a brand. Protect it.

  3. RastarMarn
    January 9, 2021

    Allyou Doh ready yet man what allyou dere crying for nuh!!!

    Skerrit dere paying his pardner for a house he doh need to be staying in,,,

    All mistadem have to do is make Skerrit an offer wi to Buy LIAT and stop crying!!!

  4. January 8, 2021

    I cannot see LIAT ever making a profit as long as it remain in Antigua. I am now 64 Years old and have been flying on LIAT and that airline always full. Not even after Judgment Day it will make a profit as long as it is in Antigua`s care. So Mister skero
    You are doing the most prudent Build your Country International Airport. If you
    Look at the map of the Caribbean Dominica is the most Central and will attract
    business. Thank you for not wasting our tax payers money and put it in a pocket of holes. yours is yours. and when disaster strike and we cannot get access from others
    you will have access from yours. We in the BVI are with you in this long awaited Venture

  5. Ibo France
    January 8, 2021


    I just read Talldog’s (the name should be smalldog) comments. I thought the same . It’s just a fantasy to think that an investor would want to throw money at LIAT in the very near future.

    I would like the airline to rebound successfully. The reality is that it’s going to be tremendously difficult. The airline industry, at this point in time, is underwater. Pilots are being laid off in droves. This line of business is one that has been hardest hit by the onset of the covid pandemic.

    Smalldog, stop living in la la land and be realistic.,

  6. Bwa-Banday
    January 8, 2021

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
    Venezuela don’t have money to pay civil servants or even feed it’s people yet still they playing heavy and providing capital financing for LIAT. When will regional politicians get it? Gaston know why he insists on keeping LIAT running because he is not paying for it. He wants the money financed by Venezuela to be spent in Antigua of course because like Dca’s $100 Million loan forgiveness from Venezuela, the $15 Million will be defaulted on and forgiven by Maduro as a gift to Antigua.

    Questions are; How much of that money will actually go into LIAT? How much will be unaccounted for since after forgiveness Maduro will not ask for any accounting? All these caribbean leaders who ‘pretend” to like Venezuela are just taking advantage of a system they know how to manipulate. Mark my word….time will tell!

  7. Peter Lee Foon
    January 8, 2021

    LIAT cannot be run by pilots. Its web site unprofessional and hard to navigate. Even harder to book ! LIAT have not appointed a single travel agent in each Island. Its very backward. No wonder single digit passengers. Gaston need to know that there is absolutely no one in charge of this airline. LIAT is allowing a non-Caricom airline to take business right from in front of its nose and do so very professionally. Time will tell.

    • RR
      January 9, 2021

      All of a sudden you guys forget they are hundreds of workers and thousands of ticket holders owed millions of dollars still how could a business survive like that those people were needed to be taken care of first to restore credibility in the company and until that happened liat is done to failure.

  8. L C Matthew
    January 8, 2021

    This is like trying to carry water in a straw basket.

  9. Talldog
    January 8, 2021

    Very stupid comment… How could providing regional connectivity be considered false pride???
    False pride is the foolishness going on in Trinidad with that embecile that is running CAL.. Who was rebranding the airline whilst the world market was collapsing. Spending millions on branding community shops with CAL livery, and now a large percentage of those shops are closed for good owing to the pandemic.

    • Tt
      January 11, 2021

      Clearly mistaken, a rebranding campaign is not something you wake up tomorrow and undertake. You start planing years months in advance. So the roll out could be postponed but at that rate it may cost more. They’ll reap the rewards at the turn around. Running any business requires both intellect, luck, guts and a leader unafraid to make difficult choices

  10. Ibo France
    January 8, 2021

    There is a great need for proper intra-island connectivity among the Lesser Antilles, in fact, the entire Caribbean.

    The efforts by the Antigua-Barbuda government may be laudable but not at the financial health of the country. LIAT should become financially viable to continue to operate. It makes no sense for LIAT to become, once again, a financial burden to the state of Antigua-Barbuda and the rest of the OECS by asking for a bailout yet again.

    Imagine that pensioners in Antigua-Barbuda having great difficulties getting their monthly payments but the government sees it fit to spend so much on an airline with no guarantee of making a profit or even recouping these mammoth sums of money. Insane!

    • Talldog
      January 8, 2021

      Apparently the wording of article is a bit too difficult for your brain, and you obviously don’t know business. The Antigua govt is in possession of the capital needed to operate the carrier. A portion of that obviously must be used for working capital : that is what the govt is currently covering. When the get a partner that would bring additional capital, the airline would be in an even better shape.
      Management role now is to keep the cash burn within budget: market and develop the routes that could be at this time : continue to make the carrier attractive to investors.
      So calm down, and support will thought out efforts at manning regional air travel. Trust me, this is all e in the Caribbean truly have at this time, as CAL is in a stinking mess that they are incapable at all levels to get out of.

      • Malatete
        January 8, 2021

        I cannot see anyone in the aviation industry partnering with LIAT and provide new capital, while leaving the government of Antigua and Barbuda in control. That is not going to happen.

  11. Channel 1
    January 8, 2021

    ….meanwhile in a place called Portsmouth in the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Ross University School of Medicine, which provided direct employment for close to 300-400 persons, indirect employment and business to more, was ‘lost’ to Barbados while under the reign of Roosevelt Skerrit.

    Over 3 years later, the investors for a supposed new university at the site – some whom Skerrit said were ready to take over the Ross campus site – are yet to show up.

    P.S. – Can a psychologist and/or psychiatrist out there pursue a PhD project on the following topic – The Type of Madness that Possesses the Minds of Portsmouth Labourites.


  12. Mike
    January 8, 2021

    Antigua knows the importance of LIAT to the Antiguan economy and jobs so Browne is fighting doing what he supposed to do to keep LIAT what he is spending is small change compare to the impact of LIAT on Antigua. If Dominica had a competent leader who was interested in Dominica economy and jobs he would have fought to keep Ross in Dominica maybe even offer to fix Ross damaged buildings to keep them in Dominica such an expense is also small change to keep 30% of Dominica GDP.

  13. Me
    January 8, 2021

    An exercise in futility and false pride.

    • Goodlove
      January 8, 2021

      False pride ?? If you don’t know what to say best you stop that nonsense liat is important to Gaston ppl stomach and the Caribbean to but because the Caribbean cannot unit thay os the problem we need to come together and make things work for our region don’t do like greedy Barbados take everything for themselves abs leave the other islands to crumble

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