LIAT shareholders signal continued commitment to the airline

At a meeting in Barbados on Monday, LIAT’s three major shareholder Prime Ministers – The Honourable Freundel Stuart QC of Barbados; Dr. The Honourable Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda; and Dr. The Honourable Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines – have indicated their continued support for the airline.

Under the chairmanship of Dr. Gonsalves, the three Prime Ministers first met with members of LIAT’s Board of Directors and management to discuss the way forward for the regional carrier; and following this the shareholder Prime Ministers, Board of Directors and management met with representatives of LIAT’s 10 trade unions in an effort to foster communication and dialogue among LIAT’s stakeholders.

At a press conference following the meetings, Dr. Gonsalves pointed to the EC$60 million in losses which the airline had incurred over the last two years and noted that the shareholders had agreed with the airline’s management on certain steps for effecting the stabilization of the company. These would involve a range of measures including reductions in the airline’s schedule, enhanced marketing and promotions in a number of markets, improving efficiency within certain departments, and targeted staff reductions aimed at reining-in escalating recurrent costs.

Dr. Gonsalves indicated that the shareholders had noted the continuing challenges which the company faced, including high oil prices; continuing weaknesses in the regional and international economy; intensified competition on LIAT routes; the costs of maintaining an ageing fleet; and industrial relations problems.

Dr. Gonsalves noted that the company had been mandated to put together proposals for possible restructuring of LIAT which would be presented to the shareholders for their review.

He pointed to the significance of the company’s planned re-fleeting efforts, and indicated that following in-depth technical work by a LIAT technical team, shareholder governments would be reviewing the various proposals with the aim of meeting shortly in order to arrive at a recommendation as to the best choices for acquisition of new aircraft for the company.

In relation to the meeting with the unions, Dr. Gonsalves noted the need to continue the dialogue and indicated that a further meeting was planned for LIAT’s management with the unions for the following week to seek to address outstanding issues including discussion of the company’s strategic plan and objectives.

On the matter of outstanding pension payments due to LIAT staff members from CLICO, Dr. Gonsalves noted that information from the Government of Barbados indicated the likelihood of this mater being satisfactorily resolved in the near future.

Chairman of the LIAT Board of Directors Dr. Jean Holder pointed out to the meeting LIAT’s continuing lead role in the movement of people throughout the region. He noted that LIAT remained committed to closer cooperation with other regional carriers where the interests of the airline and its shareholders were sufficiently guaranteed.

In his remarks, Prime Minster Stuart noted the continuing importance of LIAT to the economic and social development of the region as well as its significance to its shareholder countries, and indicated the continuing support of the three shareholder governments to the airline including working with the company’s management to chart a way towards its long term sustainability. “We have, in our discussions today, laid the foundation for meaningful progress on the issue of LIAT,” Prime Minister Stuart said.

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13 Comments

  1. islandboy
    February 1, 2012

    in my view LIAT is a done deal..it wont improv EVER.. its been 15 years we keep talking about LIAT poor customer service. i am not happy at all that stlucia and dominica intends to pump money in LIAT..its a blackhole which sucks in debris in this case money and never spurts things out in that case profits,confidence,great service..

    The best thing is allow another regional airline to carry liats load [e.g CBEAN AIRLINES..trinidad has the money and oil to keep that airline in the skies even in a down economy] even with oil prices skyrocketting..allow them to take on most of LIAT routes.. There is still a place for liat the oecs and barbados tax money is waisting too much for too long .. so many airlines have gone under why can t LIAT??

    they’ve done it for 55yrs now its time to retire both their management and old fleet.. WE keep entertaining mediocraty..Y ?.. i heard a liat union leader said that liat managers would often make redundant staffs who are lower level and then hire a few months down the line a middle management staff as a consultant to take on the same duties as the ones they dropped..and of course they get the bigger salaries.. and that has been going on for many many years now .. come on ..

  2. Way Out There
    February 1, 2012

    I hear alot of talk in the aricle, but lets see if there is action to back it up. LIAT has much potential, which is being vastly under utilized due to extremely poor management. Upper management should have been axed long before the everyday workers. Upper management are the ones steering the airplane and producing policy, which have failed over many decades.
    I think LIAT should be moved out of Antigua and based in another island. Why, because I believe the cost of operation in that island is too high. LIAT does need more efficient planes to lower cost. Liat needs to add bigger planes to service north America. They deparately need to improve their customer service, which is the biggest problem this airline faces. They need to expand business by offering more focus on parcel and package movement throughout the region and north America. They may need to partner, initially, with an international airline like United, Jet Blue etc to get more business from persons connecting to other islands. The possibilities are endless.

  3. Ple Bella
    February 1, 2012

    Cannot understand all Liat is talking about is losing so much money but do we ever see their book, it’s own by the govts of the region so we have a right to know, taxpayers money. They made all the little people who were at the bottom redundant, saying they were now geared to make money and the same nonesense is happening. They sent these poor hard working folks home and still owing them their pension money which they need to eat. Are they holding the money to give the other set whom they want to send home so unfair. Putting money in Liat is like throwing it in a bottomless pit.

    • Eagle Eye
      February 1, 2012

      LIAT is owned by the governments of SVG, AGA and B’dos. As a Dominican, you have no right to see their books.

  4. January 31, 2012

    Congrats to the few governments who contribute to LIAT. bRICKBATS FOR THOSE WHO DON’T AND DEMAND MORE FROM THE AIRLINE.

  5. Evening Mail
    January 31, 2012

    On top staffing reduction why does Liat continue with this extra overheads when they are into the internet age and dont do international booking anymore!

    why have resident managers who are outdated and contribute nothing to liat just running up and down and no productivity..

    why have regional managers north and south in addition to local stations managers..

    take a que from AA..have lead agents in those islands then they will transfer info via the electronic channels…

    wise if liat goes on a annual contract basis.

    Liat still makes many errors by having flights on routes with extremly poor load factors.

    Liat wants to have their cake and still eat it..they are afraid of making wise tough decisions…while under a stale regional management system they keep chucking up major loss!!

  6. tiny
    January 31, 2012

    The cost of maintaining an aging fleet…..oh my…well is now you frightening people….you all are gonna loose more customers….better buy some new planes because it sound like it will be more profitable for the company…..

    • tiny
      January 31, 2012

      Ok I see you guys planto refleet…..but in the mean time hmmm …and what exactly is industrial relation problems?

    • January 31, 2012

      LIAT still holds the best safety record in the world. American has ageing fleets too, conviasa and not to mention red jet has two old planes that they purchased from American Airlines. I rather LIAT anyday when it comes to safety and customer service.

      • tiny
        January 31, 2012

        Ryan…I am no mathermatician but how do you compare such a small company and their safety record to that of the largest airlines there are….and I am NT challenging or criticizing…just wondering

      • January 31, 2012

        LIAT is the best when it comes to safety hands down,I wonder if m,y comments will be post.

      • Channel 1
        January 31, 2012

        LIAT certainly has a safety record which they can be proud off. Thank God for his continued protection on the pilots and passengers.

      • February 1, 2012

        Tiny, all of us from the region knew LIAT was there for a long time, even my mom who was born in 1945 and could remember that the pope and the queen travelled on LIAT, gone were the days when LIAT had AVRO Aircrafts and the Jets that used to take passengers to Jamaica then Toronto Canada and it still maintained it’s safety record.

        Our Grandparents can even tell you stories lol

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