LIAT to implement CDB restructuring plan or face ‘death’

A LIAT aircraft

Shareholders of the Leeward Island Air Transport (LIAT) have agreed that the airline is at the crossroads and it cannot survive without the restructuring plan designed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

Shareholder governments held an emergency meeting in St. Vincent over the weekend to formulate ways to further assist the struggling airline.

The CDB-funded study of the cash-strapped carrier, which was completed in mid-2018 and presented to shareholder governments, outlined the airline’s challenges and opportunities, and put forward a series of recommendations.

Among the pending changes are the implementation of an employee performance index to help determine promotion and pay increases, possibly a new funding model.

The major shareholders in the airline are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The CDB-funded analysis looked at the airline’s performance, its challenges and some possible solutions and opportunities.

The study found a number of weaknesses within LIAT’s human resource functions, specifically low productivity and performance.

It also found that the airline was encountering problems in transferring passengers from one aircraft to their connection.

The most startling of the findings, was that the airline used to transport somewhere in the region of 1.2 million people per year, but was only now carrying between approximately 720,000 and 730,000 passengers.

When shareholders met, a decision was taken by each member country to implement the recommendations which, if delayed, could result in the death of LIAT.

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36 Comments

  1. ??
    March 12, 2019

    Liat needs to be overhauled from the belly. Just changing CEO wont do it because it’s just business as usual.

  2. LifeandDeath
    March 12, 2019

    LIAT is a clear example that money alone don’t fix business problems. There needs to be a change in the attitude of the people running LIAT and the Governments.
    Deal with the root ’causes. Part of the issue is low demand for leisure travel in the region due to suppressed salaries, the cost of living is too high relatively.
    How can CDB be surprised that LIAT passenger demand declined from 1.2 million to 0.7million. This is to show that many of these people with high salaries are not experiencing the hardships that permeates the daily lives of the average Caribbean Citizen.
    Particularly in Dominica, many people have lost their means of income due to poor political/economic management and hence closure of many businesses, demise of the whole Agri sector etc. #wakeup and hold these gov’ts responsible because in the end all the dots are connected and is either we prosper or suffer!!..equal opportunity competition will take care of LIAT, but we the people must ensure good governance.

  3. Karl Orndem
    March 12, 2019

    heard they need another US$5 mil to stay afloat, at least until the next set of money is needed. Let it crash. They charging too much, waaay too much these days. It used to cost me US$120 to go to antigua and back. Now it costs be over US$200 to go one way. this isnt right. let it collay, then sell it to Caribbean Airlines.

  4. country man
    March 12, 2019

    Liat to expensive! $350 USD for a round trip to ticket to Antigua – total travel time 50 mins. The cost of travel limits the number of passengers. People salaries are not keeping up with the cost of living. Then they turn around and take tax payers dollars to bail the airline out.

  5. Hanspeter Mueller
    March 12, 2019

    Why was it taking so long to find out what the problems of LIAT are? They could have ask passengers for years about their experience. The management is totally unprofessional and the staff was always very unproductive and slow.
    It’s really time for repositioning of that airline with a management that has some knowledge of the airline business and not only in eating money.

  6. RastarMarn
    March 11, 2019

    Sell Sell Sell to Caribbean Airlines!!!

    The End!!!

  7. Natural Dominican
    March 11, 2019

    I am kind of concerned abouy safety since liat is “cash strapped” as described. I didn’t see anything in the study about maintenance of aircraft etc. Furthermore, i am hopeful, that in restructuring; PRICING, TAXES AND SURCHARGES will be addressed. The Caribbean people cannot continue to accept that it cost more to travel between islands which average about 1hr/1.5hr travel time, than traveling for 4hr/5hr on international airlines.

  8. Patriot
    March 11, 2019

    Liat should merge with other regional aircraft companies and form a one “Air Caribbean” this then would have the support of all caribbean member states and fly throughout all Caribbean islands. That would eliminate competition and increase the company’s earnings significantly.

  9. dissident
    March 11, 2019

    this story says that a study was completed just short of 1 year ago……….is only now de shareholder governments trying to implement de recommendations suggested……

    this just shows how lazy and careless our leaders are.
    Now de …. hitting de fan people running fast to cover their nose!!!

    our leaders find it easier to manage millions and millions of CBI funds away from de public eye……….but 1 airline we have and look at it suffer!
    personally i will add this to de record of achievement for de DR DR PM we have here.

    But when de same leaders travelling abroad i wonder if at all they does fly on LIAT??????

  10. Maybe
    March 11, 2019

    Tickets on liat from St Maarten to Dominica more expensive than new to St Maarten let them fail greedy liat

  11. Maybe
    March 11, 2019

    Let list fail they had a straight flight from St Maarten to Dominica they remove it let is badly manage hope skerrit don’t bail them cause they lazy like him liat and skerrit must go together

    • Looking on
      March 11, 2019

      I guess you don’t have no family members who will lose their jobs…. heartless

      • dissident
        March 12, 2019

        why don’t you put de millions to save de lost jobs…………what about Ross University……..who in government was concerned about the lost jobs??????

      • March 12, 2019

        What good is a heart if you don’t also use your brain?

        So long as LIAT limps along from subsidies, it’s taking up space that could be filled by a private airline that could do a better job, improving the economy and leading to more and better jobs in the future. We cannot just forever subsidise failing operations in the name of job preservation, it leads to perpetual mediocrity and malaise.

  12. LaPlaine Observer
    March 11, 2019

    LIAT!! please leave us alone and go away. You had your chances years ago when Dominica gave you $8 million to help you stay afloat. Since then, Dominicans have not benefited from this bailout money and continue to struggle at Airports before coming to DA. We need a new Airline in the Caribbean.

    • Merina McKenzie
      March 12, 2019

      LIAT has been badly managed for a long time and take advantage of the Caricom
      Islands who have to depend on them as their sole airline in the
      Caribbean.
      After the last bailout where Fominuca gave them 8m dollars, they should restructure or sell the damn airline and stop bl fringe the island while they and their friends receive big dividends

  13. jamie
    March 11, 2019

    I do not see any good results fro this,these shareholders are incompetent,take for example Dominica,useless leader,i can never fly this airline.Hope it fails and some foreign company buys them out.

  14. Anthony P. Ismael Minister of Free Pampers
    March 11, 2019

    You raised the price of a service, in this case air travel on LIAT, then you factor in a reduced customer base by almost half and your expectations are, just what was reported. LIAT needs to fold so that the free market can replace it with a more efficient service. These incompetent governments need to reduce taxes and fees. When your economy is stagnant, you’re left with no other choice, but to tax the blind followers.

  15. Ti Garcon
    March 11, 2019

    “The most startling of the findings, was that the airline used to transport somewhere in the region of 1.2 million people per year, but was only now carrying between approximately 720,000 and 730,000 passengers.”

    And even with high supply (plenty empty available seats) and low demand, these nincompoop gov’ts think the best idea is to continually add taxes to increase ticket prices. THEY BE REMOVING TAXES!!!
    But that’s the problem, our foolish ‘leaders’ don’t understand the simple economics of supply and demand. Now is the time to be reducing he ticket prices but they keep increasing taxes. How can we expect a business to survive when over half its revenue is spent in taxes???

    • Lunisha
      March 11, 2019

      They are fools they never understand

  16. Shaka Zulu
    March 11, 2019

    Like i have said before a region with about 40 million people should not be struggling. Here is the problem: i bet out of the 700 000 plus people a year most of them are in transit from the US canada and elsewhere. It includrs diaspora coming home. That means many of the people within the islands dont travel. I will say again: improve wages, more opportunities and the ability of carribbean nationals to have direct investment in our regional tourism product will greatly increase inter island travel. People in the Caribbean need disposable income. The current wages as they exist no longer works. We are loosing our talents and brains to elswhere because of pay. Nothing else.it is a shame.

    By the way i think it is time to try a Caribbean Federation again. We cannot compete or exist as individuals anymore. Liat will go nowhere unless the economics in the region and mindset changes. I am a child of 79 and almost to seniority. Our governments have failed us.

  17. Badbaje
    March 11, 2019

    Shareholders of the Leeward Island Air Transport have agreed that LIAT is at the crossroads and it cannot survive without the restructuring plan designed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

    Shareholder governments held an emergency meeting in St. Vincent over the weekend to formulate ways to further assist the struggling airline.

    In both these sentences “Shareholders” are mentioned.
    Who are the “Shareholders?”
    Who are the “Sherholder governments?”
    Inquiring minds want to know, all minds want to know, but these “Shareholders” and “Shareholder governments” want to remain hidden, while they collect their profits, all the while the company keeps sinking deeper and deeper.
    How can “private Shareholders” continue to collect profits when the “Public”, in the way of their respective governments, continue to throw money at LIAT.

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      March 11, 2019

      The share holders are a about four government of the Eastern Caribbean. I know for sure Barbados, with the most shares, St. Vincent, Antigua, and some other.

      The last time when it was going under, Ralph Gonzales of St. Vincent forced Roosevelt to put more than ten million dollars into LIAT if he wanted it to continue flying to Dominica.

      At that time Dominica had no shares in LIAT. In the 1970’s the late Eugenia Eugenia, sold Dominica share in LIAT after discovering it was a dead entity, none-profitable airline.

      Dominica was out of that thing, until Roosevelt with no alternative  was commanded; directed by his boss Ralph Gonzales to waste our money on a dead horse!

      Remember Gonzales is the same man who told Roosevelt Skerrit that Dominica dose not need an International Airport, all he need to do is add landing lights to to what he has and call it Douglas-Charles.

       Ralph went home and build Argyle International, and said Dominica is the only island without one!

  18. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    March 11, 2019

     The restructuring of LIAT at this time will not be a resolve that will cause LIAT to become a profitable entity.

    For more than fifty years, each time LIAT gets to the brink of collapsing, some patsy government dependent on the services of that useless none profitable bit of scrap iron are forced to waste their Taxpayers money to keep what should be grounded flying.

    The last time it was Roosevelt Skerrit forced by Ralph Gonzales to dump more than ten million dollars into that thing if he wanted LIAT to continue flying to Dominica.

     The Dominica sucker had no alternative than buckle; its happening again since Dominica is the only island that will bleed when LIAT collapsed.

    All the other islands have International Airports, accommodating international flights in and out of their island.

    Only backward Dominica depends on LIAT; the day LIAT folds for good: Roosevelt will get on his pedestal and shout (we doh want no international airport; Antigua and Barbados have one…

  19. zandoli
    March 11, 2019

    “The most startling of the findings, was that the airline used to transport somewhere in the region of 1.2 million people per year, but was only now carrying between approximately 720,000 and 730,000 passengers.”

    Do you have to have a major bank tell you you will die when your customer base has been cut in half? LIAT has near monopoly status on some routes, yet their passenger load is dwindling. What does that tell you?

    The airline industry knows price is the largest determinant of people’s travelling behavior. You can treat people like cattle and they will return if the price is right. Yet those geniuses in the Caribbean keep raising the fees and taxes to travel in the region. Every 8th grader can tell them the prices are too high. The numbers tell them the prices are too high, yet they do nothing about it. Sometimes, I often wonder if there is something wrong with our people.

  20. Bwa-Banday
    March 11, 2019

    We all knew the problems with LIAT except the shareholders. They did not need the CDB to say that to them. Caribbean leaders are not visionary and lack management skills. But, they are quick to adopt dictatorial habits. As long as they keep “walking with their eyes closed” the region will continue to suffer.

  21. Eye LIAT sa la
    March 11, 2019

    Having read this I am non the wiser. What exactly are the challenges that LIAT’s faces?

    Could it be that the same government shareholders are earning more revenue in taxes than the airline itself is making in ticket fares?

    Could be be that the same staff which appear to be under performing are getting too many free tickets.

    It would be interesting to see the financial statements of LIAT over the last five years or so

  22. March 11, 2019

    So what are we doing with a failing company? wondering if Dominica will throw it support this time around

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      March 11, 2019

      There is no wondering if Dominica will, and must give support; it is mandatory, it is compulsory; Roosevelt is compelled to give every dime in our treasury to keep LIAT flying.

      Roosevelt cannot say no, the minuet he says no; that is the end of LIAT; that is the minuet all the operation of LIAT comes to a halt!

      You see when people do not have any vision, political or personal, that is what happens.

      When people with no vision, existing with a handicap carpaud (cropo) mentality is the head of a country taking bad advise from people who does not have any interest in Dominica, the result what is in store for your country.

      Had Roosevelt and the rest of the Labor Party not shut down the International Airport that Edison James and the UWP had under construction more than twenty years ago, Dominicans would not have to worry about LIAT today.

      Roosevelt brought Gonzales to Dominica to tell you all we don’t need an International Airport.

      How stupid?

  23. Iamanidiot
    March 11, 2019

    I hope a recommendation is to Lower prices, to attract more customers, you will end up making more money instead of flying with 15 people, A 35 minute flight from Dominica to Barbados cannot be same price of even more expensive than a 3 hour and change jet blue flight from Barbados to New York

    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      March 11, 2019

      I do not wish to monopolized DNO: I do not want to appear as if I know it it all.

      Nevertheless, if LIAT were to reduce the price of tickets to what it was in 1964, where it coast $36.00 from Dominica to Antigua, that would not help, besides it is impossible for that to happen.

      Reducing the price will not help: One of LIAT problem is that it is limited to the Caribbean, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Leeward islands.

      If you had a choice to fly from Trinidad or Guyana to Antigua to connect on a flight  to New York,  Miami, Toronto, in Canada, or any place in Europe.

      Would you chose LIAT to fly from Guyana or Trinidad, or a 747, 777, 737 commercial passenger faster, and larger aircraft?

      The only way LIAT cash flow will resolve is if and when they invest into International Flights, they tried it in the 1970’s succeeded with a few flights to Jamaica, one time to Miami, and failed! 

      • Iamanidiot
        March 11, 2019

        No body said reduce the price of a ticket to $36.00, I pay $20.00 to wash my car, I’m not looking for a flight ticket for $30, but you have to be reasonable. If the flights are affordable (not dirt cheap) people will be more inclined to take a little trip.

  24. Jonathan Y St Jean
    March 11, 2019

    My advice to LIAT is to get into the passenger ferry business between the islands to complement air transport where that is still profitable. Businesses come and businesses go so the company has to evolve to suit the conditions and the times we are living in.

  25. Dan James
    March 11, 2019

    I do not understand why Caribbean Star was allowed to be taken over by LIAT, when they provided a superior service to LIAT.

    I say bury LIAT and bring back Caribbean Star

    • Gen Gwant Anse
      March 11, 2019

      You don’t seem to remember that the owner of Caribbean Star, who was trying to kill LIAT with his airline is in jail in the US for life? !

    • Malatete
      March 11, 2019

      Caribbean Star was an Allan Stanford venture. He is now behind bars in the U.S.A.

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