WIAT Instead of LIAT?…SVG PM Not Supporting Antigua’s Initiative

Editorial Staff

Editorial Staff

The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, firmly believes that a new regional airline would benefit the Eastern Caribbean more than LIAT 2020; a new version of the regional airline LIAT was proposed by Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne.

When he appeared on the radio in St Johns yesterday, he also used the opportunity to reiterate the point that the new airline should be headquartered in his country.

He also revealed that the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had provided him with a plan for the financing and operation of such an airline.

When asked if the proposed airline was LIAT, Dr. Gonsalves explained that his perspective was for a new entity, which could be called WIAT or West Indies Air Transport.

CDB has been examining regional air transportation since May 2015 and was requested again by regional leaders in January 2023 to review the long-standing scarcity of transport, which has hampered the free movement of people within Caricom.

Dr. Gonsalves previously stated that there is no interest in the region for publicly funding LIAT and that revitalizing the Antigua-based airline could lead to future litigation from creditors, something regional leaders wish to avoid.

He argued that he had not been appropriately advised that reviving the airline under LIAT 2020 or 2023 Ltd would not present particular hurdles and potential litigation.

Regional air transportation has been a contentious issue among Caribbean leaders as costs for intra-regional travel continue to rise, and travel delays have inconvenienced regional travelers.

However, Dr. Gonsalves believes everyone is on the same page regarding the need for a regional airline.

He added that such an airline is a marginal financial proposition, but it is necessary and desirable for economic and social purposes, particularly for islands involved in tourism.


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Your email address will not be published.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.