LIAT inaugural flight to Dominica criticized in Antigua

The LIAT aircraft which made the inaugural flight, at the Douglas Charles airport

Antiguans and Barbudans are accusing the Gaston Browne led administration of wasting much needed resources on an inaugural LIAT flight to Dominica on November 01.

Some residents believe that the Independence Day flight, which reportedly cost thousands of dollars, had no significance.

According to reports, on October 30th, LIAT was notified that authorities in Dominica had doubled down on their rules for admitting incoming air passengers who now need a negative PCR test for COVID-19 prior to arrival.

This meant that passengers on the November 1 flight would not be able to disembark as sufficient time was not available to complete the required testing.

LIAT decided to proceed with the flight, for its inspirational significance and marketing impact, which triggered debate over whether the flight should have been cancelled in order to save money which is already a scarce commodity for the airline.

The flight, which departed Antigua with fewer than 10 persons who did not disembark in Dominica, was also unable to board passengers wanting to depart on the flight’s return to the V.C. Bird International Airport.

“There are some people who felt that the fact that LIAT continued with that flight, which was initially intended to be a commercial flight, there are some who are trying to argue that it’s a waste of resources. Let me place this issue into context,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said.

He explained that because LIAT reduced its overhead costs tremendously, to include its lease payments, staff costs and so on, a flight to Dominica ordinarily would cost LIAT about EC$10,000 return.

“We had a number of individuals booked. My understanding is that LIAT can now break even with about 12 passengers, but because the protocols were changed in Dominica and they would have to get a COVID test almost overnight, it was impossible to pursue the commercial flight,” he said.

According to the prime minister, by October 31, LIAT had made all required preparations “and all of the costs associated for that flight into Dominica, barring maybe, the petrol, there would have been some costs that were already incurred and could not be recovered, so their only additional costs would have been the fuel.”

Browne said information he received indicated that the fuel consumption for the Independence Day flight amounted to between US$800 to US$1,000.

Nevertheless, Browne insisted that the publicity and promotion LIAT received as a result of that flight was more than worth the minimal cost involved.

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  1. Neverson St jean
    November 13, 2020

    If u want publicity, u don’t go to a rinky dinky airport, u go where people will notice u, e.g Grantley Adams.

  2. David Boehme
    November 11, 2020

    As I said when the flight arrived in Dominica. Waste of money and them crying about being bankrupt. Pay your staff the $3.1 million you owe them. Next you will ask too much for a seat on your plane.

  3. Jonathan Y St Jean
    November 11, 2020

    Birds of a feather flock together. Brown and Skerritt don’t seem to care that they are supposed to be good stewards of the people’s money. Anything they want to do, they just do and to hell with those who want to complain because they have enablers to comply with their wishes.

  4. Just Thinking
    November 11, 2020

    No fifty seat passenger flight can break even twelve passengers.Just a load of hogwash from Gaston Browne.If this is an example of the new management not long for new liat.

  5. Mistyfi
    November 11, 2020

    So perfectly Liat.

  6. Ibo France
    November 11, 2020

    This present crop of political incumbents in the sub-Caribbean region is unaware, uninspiring, untruthful and unethical.

    LIAT owes hundreds of its former employees millions of dollars in severance payment. Despite this, Gaston Browne and others insisted on an ill-advised, symbolic joyride from Antigua to Dominica costing the heavily indebted airline thousands of dollars in additional expenses. What folly!

    This action proves that wisdom doesn’t come neither with age nor position.

  7. Me
    November 11, 2020

    What publicity Gaston if that turns only into ridicule. It is called negative publicity.

    • allthewaywiththelabourparty
      November 11, 2020

      there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    • Bird
      November 11, 2020

      Big show. Waste of money.

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