CASTRIES, St. Lucia, CMC – Acting Chief Executive Officer of regional airline LIAT Brian Challenger has made it clear that the island-hopping carrier is not opposed to competition.
“We welcome competition. We are quite confident in our ability to continue to provide a service which we think the region requires and we think the competition actually complements what we are doing,” Challenger told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“There are occasions when you need to have another airline that you can call on to support you in your operations and this has been one of the challenges which we have faced over the past three years. So we welcome the new entrants into the market,” he added.
His comments come in the wake of the recent entry of two new regional airlines in the St. Lucia market.
CARICOM Airways based in Suriname, and the St. Marteen based WINAIR have began operating into St. Lucia with connections to the northern Caribbean.
But Challenger said history has shown that LIAT has been able to survive the challenges that have been placed before it in the past and the commitment of the Caribbean people to LIAT had not changed.
“We are confident that with the type of network that we provide, the sort connections that we provide we are in a fairly strong position to cope and work with the competition,” Challenger said.
Asked about possible deeper cooperation between LIAT and Caribbean Airlines of Trinidad, he said that the two sides were in the early stages of discussions.
Challenger said was hoping to get to Port-of-Spain soon to meet with the Minister of Tourism there to explain LIAT’s perspectives, gain his perspectives and see how the two airlines could advance the process.