LIAT 2020 gains attention amidst growing discontent with InterCaribbean Airways.

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

There is a glimmer of hope for LIAT 2020 as dissatisfaction with InterCaribbean Airways’ services may sway public opinion towards the initiative supported by Antigua and Barbuda.

This sentiment is reinforced by recent remarks from Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who criticized the services of the Turks and Caicos-based airline as “terrible.” Gonsalves also expressed his eagerness for information about a “new LIAT.”

In response, Political Analyst Peter Wickham expressed his optimism about this development regarding LIAT.

He acknowledged his surprise, considering that some regional leaders had initial reservations about committing to the revamped LIAT model.

“My knowledge of the situation was that we were still in the conversation of saying what will happen to the assets of LIAT, how will they be disposed of, and essentially how will the assets be divided in terms of what’s remaining.

“The significant thing is that Dr. Gonsalves has said that this is a proposal, but we have not heard whether Barbados is in or out or Trinidad and Tobago or Guyana”, Wickham said during a state media interview.

InterCaribbean Airlines has been receiving negative feedback from passengers in recent months due to extended delays that have caused some travelers to miss their international connections.

The airline’s operations have been either late or canceled, and as a result, some patrons have had to spend significant amounts of money – often in the thousands of dollars – to secure new flight tickets.

Meanwhile, LIAT, which is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent, and the Grenadines, began an administration phase in July 2020.

This decision was prompted by escalating debts coupled with the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, Antigua and Barbuda established LIAT 2020, which currently maintains a limited flight schedule across the region.

Simultaneously, the Antiguan government is actively pursuing a partnership with Air Peace, Africa’s preeminent private carrier, to bolster investments in LIAT 2020 Limited.

This proposed collaboration entails both entities injecting funds and other valuable assets into LIAT 2020, culminating in Air Peace securing a controlling interest.

This endeavor aims to establish an airline capable of effectively catering to the interisland connectivity demands within the Eastern Caribbean.

Speaking directly about the Air peace arrangement, Wickham said that he is not sure how the air peace model would work in tandem with other regional leaders who are seeking to become involved where LIAT is concerned.

He added that this may be a conflict of interest. It would be interesting to seek how it is handled by PM Gonsalves and Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

The political analyst also went on to suggest that the wider Caricom body needs to set a structure to deal with the regulation of intra-regional travel sooner rather than later.

“If you look at the European Union, the airlines have certain basic standards to achieve. So, if they cancel the flight there is compensation that has to be given, if they delay a flight, there is compensation that has to be given. InterCaribbean is operating in an environment where it can do as it likes and I don’t agree that they should go out of operation and come back”, Wickham said.

He said, “What I think the regional heads need to so. They need to use a legislative structure or whatever Caricom structure that exist to ensure that replicated across all the territories laws that indicate that any airline, whether it be LIAT, InterCaribbean, or Caribbean Airlines, has to adhere to certain regulations and if they don’t, they will feel the pain of economic compensation”.

According to Wickham the current state of play with InterCaribbean is nonsensical and should not be allowed to continue.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.