LIAT has enough “cash to last for 10 days” — Trinidad PM says

2
LIAT has enough “cash to last for 10 days” — Trinidad PM says

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Mar 1, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government says it seek to help the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, reduce its financial burden by possibly entering into an agreement with the state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) regarding the maintenance of its fleet, but that Port of Spain would not be injecting cash into the airline.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, speaking at a news conference at the Piarco International Airport on Thursday night, said Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders, who met in St. Kitts-earlier this week for their 30th inter-sessional summit had been updated on the financial burden facing the Antigua-based airline.

While, Trinidad and Tobago has a “miniscule” shareholding in LIAT, the regional airline major shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Rowley told reporters that while Trinidad and Tobago does not acknowledged the “one per cent” shareholding in LIAT, “it is not the intention of Trinidad and Tobago to get involved in any ownership or subsidy arrangements with LIAT.

“However, the heads of government were informed that LIAT is in serious financial difficulties, meaning within a matter of a fortnight an injection of a minimum of five million US dollars is needed in order to keep flying.

“Now if LIAT ceases to fly, I need not tell you the economic and other impact that would have on the region. While Trinidad and Tobago does not rely heavily on LIAT for transportation the other territories are virtually at the mercy of a LIAT service,” Rowley told reporters, adding that the meeting noted “this is a matter for the shareholders of LIAT”.

Earlier this week, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said shareholder governments would need to do what is necessary in order to save the financially strapped regional airline, LIAT.

“Whatever is necessary to save LIAT will be quintessential for all stakeholders to cooperate. It does not matter the sacrifice that is required, we all have to make sure that we play a role to keep LIAT in the air,” he said.

Rowley told reporters that the shareholder governments are looking at the possibility of cutting out routes that are not financially viable to the airline’s survival.

“If the airline is to continue to fly to routes that are like that, the shareholders are saying that such countries will have to guarantee a minimum revenue stream to the airline or the airline will cease to fly on those routes”.

He said while he does not know the situation regarding the Trinidad and Tobago route, it does not believe it is among those uneconomical ones.

Rowley said in seeking to restructure LIAT’s business one of the major costs is the aircraft maintenance and “I have agreed to allow them to talk with CAL to see whether there is any economic benefit or possibilities for cooperation between CAL and LIAT from that standpoint to even a business cooperation.

“LIAT is expected to come to talk to CAL to see whether there’s any possibility of them doing business with CAL…which may relieve them of some of their expenses….,” he added.

Browne had also indicated that LIAT is in debt to the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and that St. John’s was aware of the situation confronting Barbados, which is also facing a serious financial situation.

“I think what they are concerned about is taking on additional debt. LIAT has debt at the Caribbean Development Bank that is asking the four shareholder governments to take over. Antigua and Barbuda has readily agreed to assume US$16 million of that debt. I think Barbados is saying it has an IMF programme and there’s some difficulty, but I am pretty sure that in order to save LIAT they will go the extra mile and that they will take over their portion of the debt”.

Barbados last year entered into a US$290 million Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the Washington-based financial institution aimed at turning around its ailing economy.

Rowley told reporters that LIAT has enough “cash to last for 10 days “.

(1)(0)

No posts to display

2 COMMENTS

  1. Reduce on the number of flights per day for some islands; especially during the day. Some islands have 3 flights per day, and they're not even full. Do 2 and put one flight on some days in the middle of the week. See how that works, if it does work. The region is heavily dependent on the vessel n I'm sure they're willing to make those small changes to help as much as they can.

    (0)(0)

  2. Elected politicians experts all. Once they get into office, their ears and minds slam shut and they refuse all advice.

    LIAT needs $10 million to survive? Well, that's only about $1.2 million to shareholder Chairman Comrade Ralph, and he does not even need LIAT - he has SVG Air and now direct flights from the continents. So as far as he is concerned the other shareholders can keep pissing it all away through all the political appointees and close it the hell down.

    Any private company repeatedly coming to the brink of bankruptcy would have seen 1. the shareholder Chairman fired, 2. the Board Chairman fired, 3. the entire Board fired, 4. top management fired, and 5. competent turn-around management brought in to fix the problems and put it on an economic footing.

    But LIAT is not a "normal" company. The Board Chairman has been there doing nothing for so long writing his books on tourism that he is apparently indispensable.

    None of the political appointee Directors of LIAT know the first thing about airlines and aviation - not one of them.

    The CEO - who is supposedly running the airline - was once a hotel book-keeper installed by her good friend the Chairman, and her sole claim to qualification to be CEO was that she "loved LIAT".

    For at least 40 years LIAT has not published a single annual account. As a publicly owned company - through the shareholder governments - the public have an innate right of access to how well the company is run, yet the long-term arrogance of the politicians keep all of those numbers top secret, and the Carnival continues.

    Over and over again the abysmal management of LIAT bring the airline to the brink of bankruptcy, and the single standard insane response of the shareholder politicians is to pour ever more money into it.

    WHY have Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts refused to become shareholders again? Simple, they want to protect their taxpayers from the likes of Ralph Gonsalves, the Marxist maximum free spender of the eastern Caribbean.

    LIAT _DOES_NOT_NEED_ new shareholders, what LIAT needs is for the parasite politicians to be pulled out of its derriere, an audit done of its books to discover who has been stealing hundreds of millions of dollars over the last 40 years, and a competent aviation-savvy Board and management team installed to turn the airline around and run it as a profitable entity.

    (9)(0)

Comments are closed.