LIAT chairman pushes for CARICOM airline alliances

Jean Holder

Chairman of LIAT, Jean Holder, is calling for a special meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government early in the new year to discuss air transportation in the region and its role in supporting the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

In a statement issued to major shareholder prime ministers of LIAT on Friday, Holder said the meeting should focus on getting regional air transportation right. “The focus of the meeting must not be about blaming the airlines which have given a total of 200 years of service to the region and the countries which have subsidized the rest of the region,” he said. “It must be about what is needed to get regional transportation right and what and how much each country which is a beneficiary of the services will contribute to the cause in its own best interests.”

Based on this, he said the concept of CARICOM airline alliances must be examined as a matter of urgency. “That the idea of CARICOM airline alliances must be once more put on the table and a committee, including representatives of the management of the  carriers be established, without delay, to examine the feasibility of this concept,” he said.

He said the agenda of the meeting “must be wide enough to include a number of aviation issues which are related to the proper functioning of regional air transportation.”

LIAT’s major shareholder prime ministers met in Barbados on Friday. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit attended the meeting for the first time after it was announced that Dominica had finalized its shareholder status with the airline.

Holder’s lengthy statement to the major shareholder prime ministers covered a wide range of topics from challenges faced by LIAT to competition to costs and subsidies. He discussed better communication, cooperation and alliances between Caribbean carriers, the existence of an efficiently run and reasonably priced transportation service that meets the passenger and cargo needs of CARICOM, that Caribbean carriers should take hard decisions needed to put their own houses in order, among others.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit (second from right) among the major shareholder prime ministers and other top officials of LIAT at a press conference on Friday in Barbados. Photo credit: Barbados Advocate

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20 Comments

  1. Jennifer E
    January 1, 2013

    Alliance to benefit Antigua as usual

  2. stehen
    December 31, 2012

    why did you not carry on with the plan you meet U W P WAS WELL ON IT WAY TO BUILD AN INTERNATIONAL AIROPRT

  3. Jacky
    December 31, 2012

    All Caricom countries to which LIAT flies should be at once shareholders and subsidisers of the airline!It is our Airline. And landing fees and exit fees should be reduced!
    Also Caricom Governments should make arrangements with Trinidad to get cheaper jet fuel.

  4. Anonymous
    December 31, 2012

    I akways find these discussions on airports and LIAT funny.

    So many fo youspeak like these airlines care abot Dominica. No airline cares about a market that totals 3 passengers.

    You people see Americ

    • Anonymous
      December 31, 2012

      You people see that American Airlines pulled out of the Caribbean. You see the other islands fighting to find the EC$20 million every year to pay for empty seats with these foreign airlines but you still there talking about airport.

      YOU CANT EVEN FILL LIAT AFTER 50 YEARS!

      Anyway Dominica isn’t poor because of small population.

  5. Anthony P. Ismael
    December 31, 2012

    This is a bunch of hog-wash from the chairman. The Federation failed because of individuality, studpidity, and lack of fore sight. Governments are terrible at operating such ventures and keeping up with market demand and changing trends. Therefore, a public/private partnership is the best possible solution.
    This new venture should sell common shares on the Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange, giving investors an opportunity to buy shares, while allowing the new venture to raise much needed capital.
    Will that happen? Heck no. Our leaders are incapable of thinking that far ahead. These meetings are nothing more than pump and circumstance, signifying absolutely nothing. After the top-shelf liquor is served, no one remembers what was said, or why they came in the first place.
    If our own “Prime Minister” has not seen it necessary to improve air transporation in Dominica, how can any fair-minded person take these crappy meetings seriously. They cannot and should not. Build a modern airport in Dominica once and for all!

  6. ROSEAU VALLEY
    December 30, 2012

    Based on the usual uninspiring rantings of the Prime Minister on matters of national significance affecting the development of this nature isle, we cannot be too confident that he would make good use of the opportunity afforded to sit at the head table through the $3 million investment.

    Hopefully, he used that opportunity to say something sensible on Dominica’s behalf. My guess is, whereas he would remain quiet at the table, when he returns to the comfort of his kingdom, he will begin his usual rants on Kairi/DBS -on the subject and insult all those who disagrees with him. I shall take the wait and see approach.

    But If we are to be honest, we would admit that the promotion of a well coordinated and coherent regional air transportation strategy has been lacking in our efforts at deepening regional integration as an important socio-economic and political goal in the OECS and the wider CARICOM region.

    For that reason, I support the initiative of the Chairman. We need to accelerate all aspects of our regional integration effort in order to experience increased regional growth and development. This is fundamental if we are to grow as a region. It is such practical steps that we must be willing to take towards more gradual deepening of CARICOM integration.

    Indeed, air transportation within CARICOM has not served the regional integration process well. Therefore, the successful implementation of a well integrated, efficient, safe, well-financed, reliable regional air transportation system is worth exploring as a key element of our regional development thrust.

    Beyond the tremendous potential for deepening and strengthening regional unity, cooperation and integration, the benefits in terms of facilitating trade, investment, tourism and movement of people are enormous.

    Hopefully,now that we are sitting at the head table, such an initiative will be supported in addition to the need for having a Jet landing facility in Dominica to take advantage of this regional integration thrust.

    Respectfully
    Roseau Valley

  7. Piper
    December 30, 2012

    If LIAT is ever going to get out of that mess, tyhe govbernments need to get out of the aviation business. They need to consider a model whereby the private sector runs the airline, but it can be subsidized by the wider CARICOM governments. They need to set up a mechanisim whereby the company does not take the governments for a ride.

    Until such time that the governments get out of the business of running a business, LIAT will never move forward.

  8. Uncle Sam
    December 30, 2012

    …. I meant , other than cash .

  9. Uncle Sam
    December 30, 2012

    What was Skerrit’s contribution ?

  10. Rastar-Marn
    December 30, 2012

    So wait nuh,,, LIAT is not a Privately Held Entity???

    So lets get this right,,, Mista want States’ officials to use Public Funds to promote, revitalize, and reestablish a Privately Held Entity???

    Dat dozen make sense nuh Pardner,,,

    If after all these years of service, buying up allyou competitors and shutting down those that have more innovative concepts of providing service to our region allyou still cannot get it together allyou should let some people who knows about Air transportation Business run d show den, not seek assistance from people like Skerrit,,,

    Go talk to dem people dat running Southwest Airlines nuh dey seem to be doing something right,,,

    Wiff all allyou degrees and Phds allyou more fool-ish dan Marn dat dropped out of High school yeah,,,

    Go talk to Richard Branson nuh, look how he come and dominate over British Airways,,,

  11. brois
    December 29, 2012

    this is garbage ..we, in the caribbean are used and continue to be used as money cows by liat.folks what have liat done for us lately???what?higher fares . . poor service and greater monopology.the sad case is people we elect to protect and look out for us . .give us sticks to eat.please look at them . .”the group of fat men” no worries . .their friends and family discounts are in order.

  12. vexness
    December 29, 2012

    Stupes

  13. Anonymous
    December 29, 2012

    200 years or 20 years?

  14. Lougaoo Mem
    December 29, 2012

    This is no monkey business! Air transportation in the region definitely poses serious uncertainty for D/ca., since it’s the only island without an international airport. Thnx to Ralph Gonsalves (St.Vincent’s PM).
    It’s going to be very difficult to get regional transportation right, when those who try to operate the air-line, aren’t right. They trick the less fortunate, even down to who should have international airport, while they get theirs. You can’t succeed in any venture when hypocrisy, envy and corruption are endemic in the minds of the leaders. Therefore, LIAT is destined to fail, once it continues to operate by a bunch of failures.

  15. zasquales
    December 29, 2012

    well at least our Dominica parliament approved the 3 million deposit to LIAT. we good to go.

  16. On my own
    December 29, 2012

    So he paid the money finally he is at the head table ?

  17. PAT
    December 29, 2012

    Well that is a start to better air services for Dominica.

    Mr. Holder, you hit the nail directly on the head. If Caricom does not want to forge that strategic alliance for air transportation there is Copa Airline just opposite the chain of Eastern Caribbean islands ready to expand and we will be at their mercy. Headquartered in Panama Copa Airlines flies South America, Central America and North America and has started making inroads into St. Marten, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
    Copa Airlines has the most modern fleet of jet aircraft in the Americas and are eating at market share of Liat, and Air Jamaica /BWIA.

    • while at it
      December 31, 2012

      I flew once from panama to puerto rico, only to take another flight (LIAT) from Puerto Rico to Antigua (well you know how liat is), then Dominica, and I thought to myself, why all that plane ride. At the time Dca was extending the airport and all hoped that it would do as promise, and I asked “did Skerrit consider one of these latin american carriers to service our port?

  18. Anonymous
    December 29, 2012

    ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!Sensible initiative and should be agreed to fortwith!

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