LIAT shareholders to consider proposal on airline’s future

One of ten aircraft which LIAT operates

LIAT shareholders have agreed to give further consideration to a proposal by Prime Minister Gaston Browne regarding the future direction of the airline.

Antigua and Barbuda had made an oral presentation to a LIAT shareholders meeting in Antigua on May 1st and said they would present a written document in the following days.

At the meeting, there was a suggestion that the planes be sold as part of a” slim down of LIAT” and there’s a general agreement among some shareholders that this is a matter which merits very serious consideration.

The possibility was also examined of having another and smaller airline to operate on routes that may not have been profitable for the current size of aircraft in LIAT’s fleet.

Earlier this month St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonzalves said the shareholders would probably have to ask the Caribbean Development Bank to sell the three aircraft it owns as loan security while LIAT continues to operate the other seven that airline had leased.

Gonsalves – chairman of the government shareholders – said he hopes the proposal from Antigua and Barbuda would be discussed by the shareholders before the end of May

The main shareholders of LIAT are Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit  confirmed to shareholder governments at the LIAT that his country does not have a “largesse of funds”, but Dominica is willing to use the little it has to help the cash strapped airline – a position which he had announced prior to attending the meeting.

“The little that we have or the little that we do not have we will certainly be making a contribution to LIAT’s sustainability…” Skerrit told a meeting in Antigua.

Skerrit also underscored the importance of the airline to the regional integration system.

He says Dominica will continue to play its role in LIAT, saying that once his government is in office, the sustainability of the airline will remain fundamental.

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23 Comments

  1. natural dominican
    May 5, 2019

    There you go Mr PM with yo dumb A$. making promises that holds very little benefits to the island of Dominica. Thought I understand the importance of island access; we have been pouring money into this failing airline which continues to hit our people with outrageous prices. Mr PM, you wanna do something for this airline; I am not against it but plz listen to the voice of the ppl before going to these negotiations.

  2. May 5, 2019

    Governments want their airports to be self-supporting So higher taxes have been rolled out to try and make them self supporting, but if the total revenue for the country is drastically reduced because of less inter-regional travel, its a moot point, The taxes collected at the airport are causing an overall loss to the country.
    I would suggest dropping the regional taxes for six months and see if this doesn’t have a positive effect on the number of people travelling between the islands. Before the taxes, the number was over 2 million passengers inter-regionally , the number now is less than 800,000

  3. May 5, 2019

    The fundamental problem for Liat and all current or future inter-regional airlines are a combination of the new taxes: the airport development fee,.Concourse fee,. security fee , in-transit fees , and soon to be added a carbon tax and the ridiculous VAT added on by some countries to the fares i.e. BGI 17.5% , Even if you started an airline debt free and had similar or less expensive aircraft than LIAT, with the current tax regime it drives the fares to a point where there is too much consumer resistance ., When you can fly to Toronto or Miami for less than the fare from Barbados to St Vincent or Antigua, you feel your being ripped off so PEOPLE DON’T TRAVEL inter-regionally, this undermines the viability of a regional airline . It’s a toxic environment for local carriers. Reduce the taxes and fees, then even LIAT might be viable. Governments want their airports to be self-supporting, but if the total revenue for the country is drastically reduced .,

  4. Malatete
    May 5, 2019

    The aircraft in the picture is not one of the ten aircraft LIAT currently operates, which are all ATR’s. This is an old de Haviland Dash-8.

  5. Louis Peters
    May 4, 2019

    It’s time for the region to establish a new approach for needed private investors. Companies like Liat should keep government’s involvement to 49% and consider divesting 51% of the company’s share to qualified private investors. Gone are the days when we should depend on government to do the quintessential task of private investors.

  6. RastarMarn
    May 3, 2019

    One solution for this issue!!!

    Merge with Caribbean Airlines!!!

    The End!!!

  7. TJ
    May 3, 2019

    Dominica should be respected at these LIAT forums. Antigua wants it to be home based, save the many jobs his people enjoys. Keep in mind that when restructuring of LIAT came forward and talk of changing its home base, it was Antigua who moved to revoke its landing rights, Thefore Antigua should purchase it.

  8. LaPlaine Observer
    May 3, 2019

    Every Cat and Dog fulling Dominica. They are the ones profiting from Liat, but we have to pay for their sustainability. Now it’s going be less flights to Dominica, and more misery and overnights for the traveling public.

  9. Shaka zulu
    May 3, 2019

    The main share holders of liat are the Governments and they are the ones subsidizing Liat while our smart PM promise to maintain the sustainability of Liat. Liat should just be listed as a non profit government organization and the governments should just keep funding and that would solve the problem. This is the dumbest business arrangement i have ever seen. Yet the same share holders taxing the living sh..t out of the ticket stifling the traveling public. Liat pilots and workers should be the first joint carrcom government employees. Caricom nationals should now travel with thier caricom IDs dirt cheap. That would spur increase volume. Skerrit cannot create sustainability and growth in Dominica after 20 years, HTF he going gurantee liats sustainability? What is the plan? Beg china for more grants and loans then give to liat? These governments need to focus on creating an environment where real businesses can florish and not a inefficient heavy public private venture.

  10. Joseph John
    May 3, 2019

    Some skeptics with cynicism may shout “pipe dreams.” But when Antigua’s was built ( with the Nelson Dockyard) it was not for tourism It was for armed security. Trinidad had the same experience. Many years ago we had more air traffic than St Kitts. The Hilton Hotel moved out because of aircraft accommodations. Then St Kitts under Bradshaw bought the Hilton, Built the Endevour Hotel and built an international airport. The rest is history. The hotels came before the airport.

  11. Zandoli
    May 3, 2019

    Why is Gaston Brown and the other clowns skirting the issue of LIAT’s woes? As I have said in the past, LIAT has been badly managed for ages. However, many of the decisions made at the board level have political overtones. The decision to have LIAT headquartered in Antigua is a political one. The routes they fly are dictated by politicians. The staffing level is influenced by politics. The high fees and taxes are dictated by politicians. The politicians hobble not just LIAT, but all the inter-island carriers.

    These guys keep putting band-aids on this gaping wound hoping to stop the bleeding. There has to be fundamental changes in the approach to the aviation industry in the Caribbean for LIAT and the rest to prosper. They can keep doing the same think in different disguises, but the results will be the same. In 12 to 18 months, we will be reading the same story here about LIAT nearing insolvency.

  12. Two Tongues
    May 3, 2019

    But I thought Tony and Skerritt said we are operating on a healthy surplus, so how is he saying to the other PM ” The little we dont have”. You guys seems to be speaking in two tongues.

  13. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    May 3, 2019

    “Earlier this month St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonzales said the shareholders would probably have to ask the Caribbean Development Bank to sell the three aircraft it owns as loan security while LIAT continues to operate the other seven that airline had leased. ”

    Here goes the twisted mentality of Ralph Gonzales again giving hag-wash ram-goat  advise again; it would be easier understood if he said shut LIAT down.

    If you already own three aircraft’s; commonsense should dictate one keep what is already paid for and after the contract of the remainder that are leased; if they must  they might want to release some of the ones that are leased!
    Gaston Brown idea is another disgusting stupid idea!

    Reducing the size of LIAT is not going to make it more profitable; one of LIAT problem, if not its greatest problem is that LIAT routs are limited to the Caribbean, as such it will forever be none profitable.

     Since only Roosevelt  Dominica totally depends…

    • derp
      May 3, 2019

      Exactly they want temporary fixes, instead of addressing the problem head on….

    • UKDominican
      May 3, 2019

      You must ask who are the lessors of the seven leased aircraft, not owned by the CDB. I would not at all be surprised if Gonsalves, directly or indirectly, has an interest in this.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        May 3, 2019

        The ATR 42 LIAT operates are manufactured by:

        Leonardo’s manufacturing facilities in Pomigliano d’Arco, near Naples, Italy, produce the aircraft’s fuselage and tail sections.

        The Aircraft wings are assembled at Sogerma in Bordeaux in western France by Airbus France.

        Final assembly, flight-testing, certification and deliveries are the responsibility of ATR in Toulouse, France.

        However, I believe they lease them through a company in England; don’t  take my words totally on this one, I could be wrong!

    • Zandoli
      May 3, 2019

      FET, when you are desperate you may have to resort to selling your possessions to raise capital. That is not unusual in that industry. That being said, no amount of band-aids are going to solve LIAT’s problems. These guys are flat out of ideas.

      What can Skerrit know about running a business? Yet he is a board member. Which company in North America would have Skerrit, Gonsalves or any of the other characters on their board?

      The airline business is one of the most competitive and toughest businesses out there, yet we have a bunch of clowns running it.

      In the best of times I would not invest a penny in an airline. Yet these guys keep pumping money into this bottomless pit. Good luck with that.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        May 5, 2019

        My friend, desperation is one thing; logic however, takes precedence over all else: I am one of those people who think and reason differently to others.

        I am in a business (and take this seriously); which involve Real Estate.

         Some of my proprieties are paid for, I am not owing one dime on them.

        I have others, on which I owe millions.

         My reasoning here is simple this, if I get into serious problems paying the mortgages on those I owe; I would easily consider letting the proprieties I do not own outright go into foreclosure; and hang on to the ones paid for in order for me to survive, rather than filing bankruptcy! 

        I think if I had a say in LIAT and down-sizing was on the agenda, I would  release some of the Aircraft’s on lease , when the lease expires, and hold on to the ones that are bought.

        When you lease cars, trucks, and Aircraft’s, the lessee pays for the maintenance.

        Think about that!

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        May 5, 2019

        In conclusion, let me say, as I already hinted; LIAT greatest problem is that their route is limited!
        How can one be operating an Airline for more than sixty-three years, without any International Route? 
        LIAT Airlines was founded on 20 th October 1956 and commenced its first operation on the same day.
        It provides journey services to at least 17 destinations in the north to Georgetown. Commenced operations: 20 October 1974.
        Within that period, Gerald Watts former tourism minister in Antigua  believe born in Portsmouth to a Dominican mother told  LIAT shareholders, way back in the 1970’s, LIAT must get into International Flights if its going to survive.
        He informed the Patrick John administration, in order for Dominica to benefit  from the services of the two 747’s LIAT bought or lease for that purpose, the Labor Party government must build an Intentional Airport.
        Our response was “we doh want no international airport, Antigua/Barbados have one…

  14. Bwa-Banday
    May 3, 2019

    If Gaston Browne believes LIAT is o important to the region and NOT necessarily Antigua then why don’t he offer a proposal to buy it and have it registered a an Antiguan airline? Them man there too tricky. He is only interested in keeping the jobs the airline provide in Antigua.

    Part of LIAT’ problem is a lack of interline agreements particularly to Europe and North America. This makes it very difficult for transiting passengers at their various destinations particularly through Antigua. Enough, RIP LIAT!

  15. Truth Be Told
    May 3, 2019

    “He [PM Skerrit] says Dominica will continue to play its role in LIAT, saying that once his government is in office, the sustainability of the airline will remain fundamental.”
    Mr Prime Minister, I do not think that you understand the fundamental fact that LIAT’s operating model. the business model is actually not sustainable! This has nothing to do with whichever Government [your Government] willing to keep putting money in! Pouring money in a loss making entity is not sustainable, eventually you or LIAT will, as we say in Dominica, ‘koolay’!

  16. jeff
    May 3, 2019

    “Goodbye Dominica ever getting an international airport”

  17. Truth Be Told
    May 3, 2019

    Dominicans get on your pwi-pwi!

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