PM says LIAT can’t continue to operate in monopoly context

By CMC

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CMC – St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastatent has underscored the importance of transportation to the regional integration movement insisting that the regional airline, LIAT, should be liberalised.

Chastanet, who is attending his first Caribbean Community (CARICOM) heads of government summit, told reporters that the cash-strap 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.

“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.

“I think the civil aviation authorities are regulatory agencies in terms of safety but they should not be regulatory in terms of commercial action,” he said promising to hold talks with his colleagues on the matter.

“We have a very clear idea in terms of what we hope to achieve and we intend to do it very quickly,” said Chastanet.

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.

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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.

20 comments

  1. Are you guys idiots I was referring to The Crow's post. Chastnet is 100% on point with his statements I am on the same page with my PM

    (0)(1)
  2. Since the PM's expertise is not in airlines then he should leave it to you. There are several factors which made the other airlines fail including the preferential treatment of LIAT. Now we have CSME, free travel among states etc., it presents a different environment. In fact the world airline travel industry was going through the worst at the time, faced with soaring fuel prices and smaller airlines took a pounding. LIAT has always enjoyed the benefits of being highly subsidized, and in fact after all these subsidies have always operated in the red. Don't just attack Chastanet for attacking sake look at the merit in what he is saying and try not to speak without information.

    (0)(1)
  3. It may or may not turn out to be good, thinking out of the box depending on issues. United we stand, divided we fall. Just don't venture too far out of the box and get lost.

    (3)(2)
  4. What a moron to think that Liat need to be in monopoly status. In this modern day and age. People need options. It's all about the consumer and may the best man win. How else will LIAT improve if there isn't competition fool. Good example Cable and Wireless. You think we would be where we are today if we didn't allow Digicel and Karib Cable to come into the market. Competition is good and the consumer at the end of the shitty stuck always benefits.

    (2)(5)
    • It's obvious you have not read his comments. Never be so quick to call someone a moron when you have not read and understood their comments

      (7)(2)
    • Hmm, the only 'moron' I see here is the one who didn't seem to read the article at all.

      (2)(1)
    • I suggest you read the news item again. Smh

      (1)(1)
    • Lone ranger....do you hear yourself? Did you take the time to read the story? The PM said LIAT needs to be liberalized! What about that statement don't you understand. You are the fool not Chastanet. Go back to primary school.

      (0)(1)
  5. I agree that Liat does have its share of issues (small and big) and I believe that some of the issues require some kind of outside intervention. However, as it relates to inter-island travel, I do not believe competition is the answer (I know, some of you may not agree). Why? Because the number of persons travelling among the island destinations is small . . . imagine, among the OECS countries, the total population is about 600, 000. Of that number, how many actually travel? I have traveled on Liat and just about 10 persons was on that flight. And I know I am not the only one to have experience this. How then is Liat to make a profit on such routes (and some may want competition on the same).

    The other issue is with the various Governments. All governments impose all manner of taxes (airport development tax, departure tax, tec) onto the actual ticket price thus making it cost prohibitive. So, Mr. Chastentet, in our context (in my humble opinion), what we need is a Liat monopoly.

    (4)(4)
    • The crow, that is exactly why the number of passengers are small, the cost of travel on liat is prohibitively expensive. people can't afford to travel . Just check the price of a return trip to Martinique. By the way double check your population of the oecs, st.lucia alone has a population of 165,000 and there about 13 islands.

      (5)(0)
  6. LIAT is a political con game. The PMs are callously playing games with the people's futures. We are right not to finance such foolishness. More funding will not bring down airfares nor provide better service. This company should be liquidated. Sell salvageable assets and push the restart button.
    LIAT's pension scheme is too generous for the 21st century lean and mean operational demands of airline companies. Some island hubs are too well married to their employment numbers in those locations.
    A new restructured company will solve many of LIAT's ills. Ignore those necessary changes and continue to rack up the annual financial losses.

    (11)(4)
  7. They should fire all LIAT staff. Their attitudes stink. Recently, I went to check in a bit early straight from worl. The guy asked me if I had any bags. I had only a small laptop bag carrying. Asked me to show him bag. Said I don't have it currently as I had to return home to pick up bag. The sucker just walked off on me. Called the supervisor. Same thing. She refused to check me in. Went home and came back. I placed the bag on the scale. Weighed a few ounces. Imagine the look on the moron's face.

    (5)(12)
  8. Very true....it has been said for years. The difference now is, PM Chastenet is in a position of power. Lets wait and see what happens

    (10)(5)
    • 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.

      (10)(6)
      • I quite agree. EC express turned to dust under Chastenet and Caricom Airways he promised never took flight. Chastenet has this personal vendetta against Liat for some reason or the other. I think he should focus on his 5 to stay alive first before other things. Because I patiently waiting for VAT to be reduced.

        (2)(1)
  9. Here we go AGAIN

    (8)(7)
  10. We need direct flts from slu via CAL Caribbean airlines to other destinations..... with liat crap..we need competition

    (18)(5)
  11. whats new . He's been saying that for years now. every one of us have been saying that for years now. But it takes money and guts to provide us with alternatives. tell us the alternatives and bring them.. We need action less talk

    (17)(8)
    • Less talk and less VAT as promised. Working on all things except the promises.

      (5)(2)
    • Obviously you have not been listening to an alternative method to Liat. The Prime minister wants to have a ferry service to Martinique and some of the Caribbean islands as Liat is definitely too expensive

      (1)(2)

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