No expression of interest from Branson, LIAT chairman says

St. Lucia News Online

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Gonsalves

(CH-AVIATION) — As uncertainty continues over the future of the Caribbean regional airline LIAT, so do the crossed lines of communication coming from the nations that make up its main shareholders.

Following reports that Virgin Atlantic founder and British Virgin Islands resident Richard Branson had expressed an interest in investing in the cash-strapped carrier, Ralph Gonsalves, the Vincentian Prime Minister and chairman of the LIAT Shareholders Government Group, has told the St Vincent radio station WE FM that he has received no such expression of interest.

Lionel Hurst, chief of staff in the Antigua and Barbuda government, had told the St Kitts radio station WINNFM on May 2 that Branson had proposed injecting several million dollars to “wet lease several aircraft” and to “very likely” fly from Fort Lauderdale Int’l to various Caribbean destinations and “enlarge LIAT” rather than collapse it or make it a smaller entity.

However, Gonsalves told WE FM on May 7 that he knew nothing about Branson having any interest in LIAT.

“As the chairman of the shareholders, I have not been made aware of that, nobody has contacted me about that. Whether Branson said so in an off-hand way or in a serious manner, I don’t know. I don’t usually jump like that when rich people make a suggestion until I see something really meaningful,” he said.

LIAT has in the past explored the idea of expanding into other markets, Gonsalves added, but the airline has shelved these plans because of its current difficulties.

“You may well have to expand to make some more money. And if you are expanding to make more money, you might need to find a partner in the jet service area, but I’m not giving legs to what you and I have read about what the minister from Antigua said with relation to Sir Richard Branson, because I don’t know anything official.”

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4 comments

  1. stay there. look for white man to save you all. he was never your saviour but your enslaver. yet we dont learn. start by investing in LIAT yourselves and find a way to make them accountable for the money. they getting millions and yet they are broke, so who is taking the money? be serious about running this business, maybe you all will see some light.

    (6)(1)
  2. Well one would think that considering all thats at stake here Ralph and other officials would be actively looking for investors like Branson to invest or re-invent, or other measures to make LIAT profitable. Doesn't look so because they are stuck in their territorial kingship ways. The idea homing on us is that these "Lords of the Rocks" are only destitute mendicants waiting to be rescued by passing ships.

    (5)(1)
    • Could not have said it better. Wow! What insight!

      The current owners suborning refuse to relinquish their power to create employment for their own nationals on their own rocks.

      And must the rest us, the travelling public pay for all the employment subsidies and employee benefits on those rocks? Must we? Should we?

      The current owners must believe that the members of the travelling public are all just idiots! LIAT is an OECS financial "black hole".

      To date, this company has been financially haemorrhaging for almost all of its life! Are we voting intelligent people to government in these parts? Are we?

      (3)(1)
  3. See why LIAT will always find itself in s**t street.....when greedy politicians who have zero know-how in the aviation industry want to hog the airline's board positions and and make decisions that suit only them. Keep it up LIAT! Let's see how long you guys survive.....

    (5)(1)

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