Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, has accused his regional counterparts in St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados of discriminating against the new LIAT.
On Friday, LIAT announced a suspension of services to these destinations, less than a week after restoring its commercial passenger flights.
A scheduled flight to Barbados was made on Monday but LIAT says they have since been informed by both territories, that new arrangements must be made for entry into the countries.
Browne said over the weekend that the situation is very unfortunate and signalled a deliberate effort to undermine the work ahead to have a successful return of the regional carrier.
“It’s is an unfortunate development that these impediments are developed. Notwithstanding the fact that LIAT has valid flight approval to fly into these countries. LIAT is not a new carrier, they have been flying for decades,” he said.
Furthermore, Browne said the requirement from Barbados and St Vincent is not in line with the expectations of other airlines.
“LIAT has been asked to make pre-payment for landing fees and other carriers are not asked to do that. Why are they discriminating against LIAT? LIAT should be given preference, not to be discriminated against,” he added.
The Prime Minister is calling for a complete review of the decision.
“Who has this kind of gumption? To take this type of policy decision in order to discriminate against LIAT recognising we all have treaty obligations. It cannot be sustained and I recommend that it be reviewed soonest,” he demanded.
Meanwhile, LIAT’s court appointed administrator Cleveland Seaford said he is surprised by the recent turn of events that forced the carrier to suspend services to two destinations.
He said revenue will be affected as a result of the cancellations.
The carrier relaunched it services November 30, with the resumption of passenger flights to seven regional destinations including Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts & Nevis and St Vincent & the Grenadines.