The Antigua and Barbuda government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the setting up of a new LIAT. This means that LIAT 1974 Ltd will be liquidated.
The MOU was signed with CFA Global; a subsidiary of the Caribbean Tourism Group, a private regional company involved in investments in travel, tourism, and aviation.
According to the new agreement, CTG T/A “LIAT International” will deploy a fleet of small, medium, and large aircraft, including Airbus A330, Airbus A320, and ATRs, in passenger service to the Caribbean and South America, along with international travel routes from Europe.
Minister of Works and Finance of Antigua Lenox Weston signed on behalf of the government while Chairman of CTG Ma Chao represented CFA Global;
Shareholder governments of LIAT agreed a few months ago that it may be better to restructure LIAT and return to the commercial service of a regional airline, LIAT 2020.
All this comes as the Antigua and Barbuda Workers Union has been trying to get an audience with LIAT’s receiver Cleaveland Seaforth to discuss the severance of former employees.
The regional carrier has been in administration since July 2020 and has been operating a reduced schedule with a limited workforce since November that year.
According to reports, ex-LIAT workers are owed around EC$120 million in severance and other payments and it appears unlikely that they will be paid in full.
LIAT is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St Vincent, and the Grenadines and some shareholders have made efforts to support the employees based in their respective countries, whether through financial or social assistance.
Late last December, the Antigua and Barbuda government dispatched EC$2 million as a “compassionate payment” to local former employees. Just a small fraction has been collected with more than EC$1.6 million still left unclaimed.