Antigua’s PM stands by LIAT

By CMC
Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne

CMC – Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has defended the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, from criticism about its performance, saying that if it did not exist, “one would have had to be invented”.

St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet told reporters at the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting here that the airline “needs to operate in the context of the private sector”.

The major shareholders of the airline are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines. But the company, which has been suffering tremendous losses over the years, has come in for much criticism from the Caribbean travelling public over poor customer service, delayed and cancelled flights, and overall high costs of airfares to its destinations.

Calls by the major shareholders for other governments to participate in LIAT in the past have not been successful, with many regional leaders making references to the airline’s financial situation among other concerns.

“Transportation is critical to integration. I have made my position very clear that LIAT needs to be liberalised. LIAT needs to operate in the context of the private sector and I am not convinced that a monopoly in transportation is going to work,” Chastanet said.

But Browne said he had no doubt that LIAT was serving the purpose of moving Caribbean people which was significant to integration and if there wasn’t a LIAT, “we certainly would have to invent one”. He acknowledged there were deficiencies in the operations of the Antigua-based airline, “but some of the problems associated with LIAT, including profitability, are more about market structure and having more players will not necessarily be making things any different, because the airline industry is capital intensive”.

Browne added: “We are being extremely hard on LIAT. We are not looking at the market structure, we are not looking at the other market idiosyncrasies associated with small states with very limited resources, the capital intensive nature of the airline industry and the fact that LIAT is providing a public good that is essential to the integration programme.”

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

6 comments

  1. I expect that comment from you Gaston. I really do.

    (1)(1)
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  3. The current situation is no more than a continuation of the "voyage on the ship of fools" Over Unionized, over staffed with "jobs for the boys and girls" 1970's operating practices, Shareholder Governments in complete dis accord battling each other for the attention of the airline, it's nothing short of a basket case.

    How long until the begging bowl comes out again? how long before the Tax Payers are asked to stump up millions of dollars once more? Nothing changes and nothing will change until someone has the balls to go back to the drawing board.

    A Camel is a Horse designed by a committee and this is exactly what we have, a committee ( Board ) of competing nations with no shared vision staffed by individuals with no vision, no common sense and no expertise that will never amount to anything other than a huge drain on Tax Dollars.

    When there is no possibility of evolution then you need a revolution, enough is enough.

    (4)(0)
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  5. Allen Chastanet put that in your pipe and smoke it. Listen to Antigua Prime Minister and take heed. What do you suggest mr chastanet? Another airline? What ever happened to EC Express some years ago and the so called Caricom Airways which never got off the ground. It’s clear that you expertise does not lie in aviation. Please leave it to the experts.

    (14)(4)
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  7. Yeah! Bit of course! After all, it provides a "hub" of employment for Antigans just as it has been doing since the days of the Birds. The rest of the other shareholders sit around the region paying the tab of this sickening inefficiency.
    The main LIAT hub should be in the middle of the island chain to reduce the fuel costs and be the touchdown point for international flights. That is nowhere near the island of Antigua. Saint Lucians are not standing for all this crap that is going on. Our money is NOT GETTING INTO THAT. The punishing airfares are enough already. The subsidized landing fees are too much to bear too.
    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me. This CARICOM with Integration thingy is a damn farce! Only SLP and its pea-brains clowns will boast about that as a good thing.

    (7)(0)
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  9. Please use lubricant

    Does this make any sense , we are continuously funding this air line which are being told for years it has been operating at a lost . Why ? In 2016 we following business modules from 1976 , wtf , are we that retarded . We are all seeing money being given , loans being secured for them and we paying out of ass in taxes , and yet still it failure . What the hell is the Caribbean waiting for , until the ask for another bail out .

    LIAT represents what Caricom is to us , just another pipe dream of old men ................

    (4)(1)
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  11. Mr. P.M. What about the poor customer service and the thousands of $ spent carelessly on a daily basis as a result of bad decisions on the board and executive management level. Where is the accountability. We the tax payers are putting our hard earned money in a bucket with no bottom.

    (17)(5)

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