Antigua prime minister labels ‘plans’ for new airline to compete against LIAT as “treason”

Gaston Browne
Gaston Browne

The regional airline, LIAT, said Monday that it had taken note of the statements made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne regarding a rival airline as well as the need to rotate the chair of the shareholder governments of the financially strapped airline.

In a one paragraph statement, LIAT said “the comments made by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Gaston Browne, over the weekend, have been brought to the attention of the Chairman of the Board of LIAT and the Chairman of the Shareholder Governments and these matters are currently under discussion amongst the major shareholders”.

Browne, speaking on a privately owned radio station here on Sunday, labeled as “treason’ pans for a new airline to compete with LIAT, adding that he would demand the resignation of the airline’s chief executive officer, David Evans, if the plans about the new carrier proves to be true.

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29 Comments

  1. Malatete
    March 31, 2015

    I understand that before Mr. Evans was recruited to head LIAT he was a consultant to Nile Air, a privately held Egyptian airline operating two Airbus 320’s , primarily used to ferry pilgrims to Mecca.
    LIAT were hard pushed to find someone to accept that position and take over from Julie Reiter-Jones, who was holding the fort. I don’t think that Mr. Evans really needs that LIAT job and the airline would find it very difficult to find someone of the right caliber to succeed Mr. Evans to run the airline as a career move. In aviation circles that job is almost seen as a death wish and one would have to be really desperate or foolhardy to take it. Running LIAT is not for the faint-hearted.

  2. Anthony Ismael
    March 31, 2015

    Putting emotions aside, there are two issues here as it relates to Dominica and LIAT. The English speaking Caribbean has never focused on inter-regional travel. As a result, many of the routes that LIAT flies, are unprofitable.

    Furthermore, our lack of a proper airport means that we are at the mercy of LIAT for connecting flights to North America and elsewhere. Unless Dominica solves this airport issue, we will remain in the same boat.

    There are no more elections to win, so don’t expect any news from the P.M. upon his return trip from Asia. He probably sold a few passports and that’s about it for now.

  3. DFR
    March 31, 2015

    Mr. Gaston needs a lesson in business competition . To call this treason is utterly ridiculous. We need additional airlines compete with this monopoly . In fact LIAT should be spun off into a private enterprise to encourage more competition . Flights to DA are just too costly !!

    • Anon Again
      March 31, 2015

      What makes you think Liat will fly to Dominica if it becomes a private enterprise?

    • point
      April 1, 2015

      “Flights to DA are just too costly !!” @DFR the airline industry is an expensive business, last time i checked flights to and from the other islands are also expensive. Where are we getting the additional airlines from? If LIAT was not owned by Island governments it would be out of business long time.

  4. Anon Again
    March 31, 2015

    Whenever there’s discussion about Liat it evokes lots of emotion but very little thinking. There’s no other airline in the world providing the service Liat does, connecting all the islands, even when the route is unprofitable. Everyone demands competition without asking, why hasn’t there been competition. Simple. No airline can provide the service Liat does profitably. In order to be profitable, they’ll have to cut several routes, and reduce service to others. High government landing fees and taxes are the primary reasons for the high fares that we pay. Mr. Brown has called on his colleagues to remove these taxes, but they have refused. In the meantime, countries like St. Lucia benefit immensely from Liat but refuse to put a penny into it. On another note, two friends of mine travelled from NYC today, one to Barbados, the other to Florida. The one to Barbados paid $130 for a one-way ticket, the one to Florida paid $380 for a one way ticket.

  5. CC
    March 31, 2015

    I feel as long as LIAT is the main air carrier into DA, tourism will remain stagnant. Do you think a tourist who just has a weeks vacation, is going to want to pay liats high airfares, overnight in one of the hubs because we no longer have night flights landing in DA. We need competitive air access into DA to bring airfares down.

  6. Yah Man
    March 31, 2015

    when I reaching work late; I texting d boss man ahead of time and say “aye imagine I Gan be LIAT today.” Gasa LIAT

  7. CC
    March 31, 2015

    It is very unfortunate that we are almost totally dependant on LIAT for air travel into DA. If LIAT were to go under what are we going to do, we have basically nothing else to fall back on?

  8. Me
    March 31, 2015

    Gaston Browne is a politician and obviously he has to take that tone for his electorate. It would not be good for his legacy if Antigua were to lose LIAT’s Antigua base under his watch but deep down I’m sure he knows he is on a losing wicket. He is just showing the
    Antiguan public that he is doing all he can to keep LIAT on his patch.

  9. Malgraysa
    March 31, 2015

    A very unfortunate outburst by P.M. Browne. He portrays exactly what is the problem with LIAT. The airline is not synonymous with Antigua and is not the exclusive property of the island. Furthermore Mr. Evans is employed by the airline and not by the govt. of mr. Browne. I do believe that the cocooning of the airline and shielding it from true competition has made it inefficient and arrogant to the point that its proclaimed aim of providing a service to the population of the Caribbean, particularly the OECS has come at a price we no longer can afford and a service we no longer want to accept. Competition is healthy and I would urge the participating governments to go even further and put a structure in place that stops them interfering in the day-to-day running of an airline. That is not the business of government, leave it to the experts and judge them on performance only, like any normal shareholder would.

    • Ba Yo Bwa
      March 31, 2015

      Very practical comment and succinct, too. No beating around the bush. Thanks.

  10. Roseau
    March 31, 2015

    Any competition for Lazy LIAT is good for the islands.

  11. justice
    March 31, 2015

    Treason??? Really sir? Liat NEEDS competition with that nasty service they give their costumers. It’s about time!!!!! LIAT SUCKS!

  12. Concerned Dominican
    March 31, 2015

    Barbados, if they wish to restructure to their benefit, should pay off the other share holders for their shares held, AT MARKET VALUE!!!! Otherwise, sell your shares to them and move out!!! Simple!!! Division in our region is now raring its ugly head!!!

    • Titiwi
      March 31, 2015

      Carcon, division never went away and its worse than before. St. Lucia is opening a High Commission in Taiwan and we still have “our man in Bejing”. Antigua passport gives you visa-free access to the E.U., same Caricom Dominica passport only limited free access to the U.K. and Ireland. Still no free movement after all those years, even between us. Dominica has CCJ, all the other OECS countries still with Privy Coucil. Are we smarter than them, or they smarter than us?

  13. Pedro
    March 31, 2015

    Its good that there is trouble in the camp. Shake Liat up a bit! Insert competition. We need that airline to stop being as complacent as it is. Things cannot get worst really. It is bad enough as it is. New management, new money, new aircraft…nothing has moved Liat in the direction it should be moving and to address the major issues which are high prices and abhorrent customer service.

  14. TRUEMAN
    March 31, 2015

    *****STOP IT*****

    “So if it is they can’t handle the job then they ought to resign. In fact my understanding is that they actually doubled or tripled the losses of LIAT”
    ……………………………………………

    Stop blaming LIAT management for ALL of it failures.
    For all we know the Caribbean governments are not making RECOMMENDED changes in the rules and laws that would govern a more profitable and efficient operation of LIAT!!

    LIAT has been failing us for many decades. STOP making us believe that it’s “always” the management fault!!!

    -Thanks

  15. grell
    March 31, 2015

    Browne any move to get liat out of ANTIGUA will be the best news,ANTIGUA has manipulated the system long enough,customer service sucks and customer service is in disarray.Who the hell are you to call the shots.Barbados is the majority shareholder,The restaurants prices are way too high,i will take anything to get liat out of ANTIGUA,we need a drastic change,

  16. TimTim
    March 31, 2015

    so he not sure the plans are true but he calling treason by the CEO? these men

  17. Dominican
    March 31, 2015

    I believe it is called the free market competition Mr Browe.

  18. Peter Potter
    March 31, 2015

    Treason he calls it! I call it competition! The Caribbean island states are used to and love to work in monopoly situations.
    This new airline, if it gets operational, will benefit all customers in the Caribbean – lower fares, better customer service, better punctuality… May I remind everybody of the good 3 years when Caribbean Star was flying, giving LIAT a run for its money.

  19. March 31, 2015

    Man Free up the monopoly of air travel within the Caribbean. Liat needs to learn to swim it has been decades Caribbean government pumping money into this Leave Island Any Time ( unreliable), expensive,and un accommodating airline

  20. derp
    March 30, 2015

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL mr not serious, some people just want us to suffer to hell with Liat

  21. Abitrator
    March 30, 2015

    Can someone please explain what’s going on, a lot of words but I can’t make sense of it. Thanks

  22. Thor
    March 30, 2015

    And herein lies the problem with LIAT – too much politics.
    Politically expedient decisions are being made with no regard for the business side of things.

    The sooner LIAT were to cease to exist and a private entity start a new airline the better off we will be. I never thought I would say that, but there is really no hope for LIAT as it is currently structured.

  23. Bee
    March 30, 2015

    Yes Gaston
    You have VC Bird International with one hundred thousand airlines flying into so Antiguans have options. Dominicans now that have 1/4 airport with only LIAT sucking salt. All competition welcome. treasonous to who? antiguans? who benefiting more from liat than anybody else? Garcon chen cow quiet eh.

  24. Mamizoo
    March 30, 2015

    LIAT is in so much turmoil and there is alot of double crossing and talking going on. In fact recently there have been serious conflict between scheduling and operation. Barbados operation doing one thing and Antigua doing another-just pure chaos and passengers are feeling the pain.
    There goes our $8 million

    • Lucia
      March 31, 2015

      ah our 8 million was used to chatter flights for 8th December elections, so doh bank on it. it is lost…….

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