Antigua and Barbuda will challenge Caribbean Airlines’ expansion

The government of Antigua and Barbuda announced on Friday that it plans to challenge the expansion of Caribbean Airlines (CAL) into the Eastern Caribbean, which would harm the regional airline LIAT 2020.The Cabinet issued a statement after its weekly meeting stating that it had taken note of CAL’s growth plans, including its purchase of several ATR aircraft that the company plans to use on routes currently serviced by LIAT 1974 Ltd. The statement claims that Trinidad and Tobago, whose leaders are determined to capture the aviation services that Antigua and Barbuda once exported, has no interest in reviving LIAT.

Lionel Hurst, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Prime Minister, confirmed that LIAT 2020 is expected to be fully operational by Christmas, but that Antigua and Barbuda will not allow CAL to expand in the region without a fight.The government has been working with Air Peace, which plans to bring capital, expertise, and a great deal of interest in ensuring the survival of LIAT. The government believes that this approach is better than the plans announced by CAL through a parliamentarian in Trinidad and Tobago.

In a recent statement, a spokesperson mentioned that CAL plans to take over the aviation services that Antigua and Barbuda have been providing for over six decades through LIAT.This move is expected to adversely impact the country’s economy and lead to the loss of over 600 jobs. In response to this, Antigua and Barbuda will continue to resist CAL’s efforts to take over LIAT’s role as a provider of inter-regional travel services.

Last month, the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, announced plans to replace the struggling LIAT (1974) Limited with LIAT 2020. As a part of this plan, the country intends to collaborate with Air Peace, a Nigerian airline. LIAT (1974) is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Due to mounting debts and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, LIAT (1974) went into administration in July 2020.

The plan to create a new airline for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) has been in the works for a while, but progress has been slow because of difficulties securing funding commitments from all member countries. As a result, the Antigua and Barbuda government has decided to partner with Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, to create a new entity called LIAT 2020. The new airline will not assume any of the liabilities of LIAT (1974), which has faced financial difficulties in recent years.

The involvement of a private sector partner like Air Peace is expected to bring greater efficiency and avoid the legacy issues that plagued LIAT in the past. The launch date for LIAT 2020 has not yet been confirmed, but negotiations are ongoing to purchase at least one aircraft from LIAT (1974) and two others from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The CDB claims ownership of the two aircraft under licensing and lease arrangements.

The new airline hopes to use these aircraft to get off the ground. The idea is to have the airline up and running by Christmas, which is a peak travel period in the Caribbean.

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  1. October 11, 2023

    Hello and good afternoon my people. Well years ago I suggested that Caribbean Airlines should take over Liat. I suggested that they should take over Liat debt but they should refinance the terms in that way the employees would get at least eighty cents of each dollar. Make Antigua a hub for flying further down within the Caribbean but they should keep the maintenance of the planes in Trinidad which has more space at Piarco International Airport. If that happened then Gaston Brown get to keep most of the current jobs in Antigua and we get service from a Caribbean owned and operated airline. I have been flying with Caribbean airlines for years to Trinidad and to St Lucia. We can’t allow a Africa based Airline to take over our routes when we have our Caribbean owned airlines.

  2. Donna
    October 10, 2023

    Amen to that!

  3. Truth Be Told
    October 10, 2023

    I could not stop laughing throughout this article. CARICOM people do you all see why our region cannot develop and take its rightful place in the league of self-sufficient developing nations? Read the backwards mentally of a Caribbean Prime Minister here! He dared to write and publicize his foolishness and show us why we are still so backward in the year 2023!
    If you do not laugh at this you will surely cry, so please laugh.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  4. interested Party
    October 9, 2023

    How can i purchase shares in LIAT 2020?

  5. Weh
    October 9, 2023

    There is nothing wrong with competition, it will help to keep flight prices low for everyone.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1
  6. October 9, 2023

    Liat is a dead cause. I think that is time for Caribbean government drop Liat. They have never given good service to the Islands except Antigua so I think that we would be better of having some competition in the region. Liat have never on time never that I can remember. As a matter of fact. I will fly any other airline that can get me from point a to point b but Liat.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1
    • Black Nobility
      October 9, 2023

      I’m 51 years old and I remeber LIAT at age 8, the saying back then was Leaving Island Any Time. and it’s the same 40+ years later.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
      • Man bite dogs
        October 9, 2023

        @Black Nobility, I fully agree with you 100 % just take for example these nasty b*****ds so-called UWP hypocrite corrupt club and their arrogant supporters, how the hell could black people work together except if it is with a white person.

  7. Quatto
    October 9, 2023

    As a former Liat pilot, the region should be weary of foreign intervention who does not want to assume the liabilities of Liat. Safety first , liat has had a long safety record,well trained pilots. Caribbean Airlines also enjoyes that safety record. I’m not sure and can’t speak for Liat 2020.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1
    • Greg
      October 9, 2023

      Anything good ever came out of Nigeria?
      Research this new partner very carefully.
      It’s a country with an international reputation for scammers

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  8. Our parrots are laying eggs
    October 8, 2023

    Here’s an idea. why not “merge” into a single unified Caribbean airlines company that serves the entire Caribbean? And whilst you’re at it, why not create a single Caribbean currency called the CD. The Caribbean dollar. Only then, with this show of unity and strength that we may be a global powerhouse.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1
    • Black Nobility
      October 9, 2023

      Since when you know black people coming together to do anything.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3
      • Man bite dogs
        October 9, 2023

        @Black Nobility, I fully agree with you 100 % just take for example these nasty b *****ds so-called UWP hypocrite corrupt club and their arrogant supporters how the hell could that be, for a start black people don’t respect one another they only have respect for white people final!!

    • Joyrose
      October 10, 2023

      Great idea, but
      most likely will not happen, since it seems more like waning to create a legacy above anything else.

  9. derp
    October 8, 2023

    Tell Liat and gangsta Brown mash eh! They want to stifle competition just like how they do RedJet the more competition the better for the consumers eh

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1
  10. Ibo France
    October 8, 2023

    That guy Brown Paperbag is always bent on creating animosity, mischief and mayhem locally, regionally and internationally. Monopoly is never good for the consumer. The more competition the better. Let the marketplace determine the outcome.

    LIAT was used like a welfare institution in Antigua. There was too much redundancy. Many with the right political connection were given employment at LIAT to the detriment of the airline.

    Nothing Lie-nel Hearse, the spokesperson for the current Antigua Grabberment says ever comes to fruition. CAL! Hurry up and come.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
  11. Shaka Zulu
    October 8, 2023

    how can the private sector in the region grow when this is the behavior of our governments. liat has been a fishnet with gaping holes for a long time. this is a joke

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2
  12. Zandoli
    October 8, 2023

    So Gaston Browne wants to collaborate with a non-regional entity to the detrimental to Caribbean Airlines, all in an effort to preserve jobs in Antigua.

    Perhaps, he should have LIAT fly from VC Bird Airport to English Harbour and other points within his island.

    If Air Peace is a good partner, they should be able to compete with CAL.

    This guy is as arrogant as I have ever seen.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

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