Editorial Staff
2 months ago

Editorial Staff
2 months ago

LIAT 1974 to cease operations on Jan. 24.

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LIAT’s Administrator Cleaveland Seaforth

The regional airline LIAT (1974) Limited, which is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent and the Grenadines, is set to permanently cease all commercial flying operations as of close of business on January 24, 2024.

This decision was made by the court-appointed administrator for the airline, Cleveland Seaforth, after careful consideration and evaluation of the present operations.

In a letter addressed to the staff of LIAT (1974) Limited (in administration) on Thursday, Seaforth stated that all employees will be made redundant, effective February 4, 2024, without any payment, and promised that obligations will be met.

This move is expected to result in over 90 employees being made redundant.

LIAT has been under administration since July 24, 2020, and had been servicing several regional destinations before entering administration.

It has since scaled down its operations and is now only serving Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, San Juan Puerto Rico, St Kitts, St Lucia, and St Maarten.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne, during his country’s national budget presentation last month, said that his government had embraced the responsibility to restructure and resurrect LIAT, “with a vision of returning the airline to the regional skies”.

Browne also mentioned that LIAT has long been an essential thread in the fabric of Caribbean connectivity.

Browne shared that in 2023, LIAT 1974 Limited operated a limited schedule, despite several hurdles, including unserviceable aircraft, unresolved issues for former workers, financial constraints, staff attrition, and disruptions caused by the hurricane season.

The airline ensured vital connectivity across destinations with 167 dedicated staff.

Browne stated that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) based in Barbados will play a critical role in solidifying the arrangement among the governments, which will set the stage for finalizing the agreement with Air Peace, a private Nigerian airline founded in 2013.

He added that this will enable LIAT 2020 to begin operations, thereby securing a promising future for regional travel.

In 2024, the Antigua and Barbuda government will spend an estimated EC$30 million to ensure LIAT 2020 Ltd has all the aircraft needed and appropriate maintenance and operational arrangements are in place for the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of service to the people of the region.

Browne is confident that LIAT 2020 will emerge stronger, more efficient, sustainable, and better positioned to serve the needs of the people of the Caribbean.

In his letter to staff, Seaforth stated that the company was not in a position to make any severance payments at this stage, but indicated that it would not be shying away from its obligations to them on severance, vacation pay, retroactive pay, and any outstanding salaries.

He also mentioned that the company recognizes its obligation as it relates to any of the applicable entitlements, which will be provided to employees under separate cover within 45 days of his letter after the respective computations have been completed.

Seaforth noted that the payment of any indebtedness to employees cannot be made at this time, but also assured that every effort would be made by the administrator to secure the best outcome in respect of the indebtedness to all employees in accordance with the company’s legal and contractual requirements.

He thanked the workers for their valuable contribution to LIAT (1974) Limited, which resumed flying operations on November 1, 2020.

1 Comment

  1. Tiguan

    Long live Liat.

    Reply

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