Photo by Andrew Pries | AeroNewsX
Leeward Islands Air Transport, or more commonly known as LIAT, will go into liquidation according to Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne. “A decision will have to be made to collapse it and then maybe the countries within the region will have to come together to form a new entity,” Browne said. Speaking on local radio in Antigua, he noted that the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic have vastly increased the revenue loss of the airline as compared to 2019.
“What I’m hoping that we do not have going forward with the new entity, is any squabble over the location of the headquarters. At the end of the day, the only service that Antigua and Barbuda have enjoyed within CARICOM (Caribbean Community) is LIAT and this has been the case for several decades. So I just hope that we are not going to have countries within the region opportunistically fighting us to get the headquarters in their country to displace Antigua and Barbuda.”
LIAT is owned by several Caribbean governments with Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica being the major shareholders.
This, however, is not the first time LIAT entered liquidation. “Back in 1974 when LIAT was collapsed, my understanding is that it took a day to start the operation of a new entity. It may be a little more difficult to get it done within 24 hours and I do understand that there are a number of stakeholders that we have to satisfy, especially creditors and I believe that we could do a work out with the various creditors and to literally get some arrangement in which they can accept that we are not conveniently closing LIAT 1974 Ltd. The governments cannot go any further with it,” said Browne.
The Prime Minister did make it clear that the name LIAT will not be replaced. “We should not be running away from the name LIAT. LIAT is a Caribbean institution built by Caribbean people of which we should be proud.”