“We have always said that we want affordable, reliable and safe transportation for people leaving St. Kitts and coming into St. Kitts,” Dr. Harris stated on Tuesday (July 15) during the Leadership Matters Virtual Forum Series.
His comments were in response to a question about the regional air carrier, which has struggled to achieve profitability and has significant liabilities.
Dr. Harris noted that there is a difference of opinion among regional Heads of Government about the future of the airline established in 1974. What is not disputed, however, is the need for intra-regional travel.
“Whatever comes forward, we are willing to give support and to participate because a regional mechanism for transporting our people is critical to the way we live, our tourism industry and regional integration,” Prime Minister Harris said.
The chairman of Caricom and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has revealed that there will be a meeting in the coming days to discuss an alternative to liquidating LIAT 1974 Ltd.
Speaking in an interview on CNC3, Gonsalves said: “Subsequent to the meeting of the major shareholders the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda is exploring what he considers to be another option to liquidation and he has asked for a meeting to explore that option with the major shareholders.”
Gonsalves indicated that the major shareholders of LIAT decided on the June 27, to put LIAT into liquidation after having received the recommendation from the airline’s board of directors meeting a few days earlier.
He said that the PM of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne has a different perspective as to how to go forward with the airlines “and is trying to see if he can get the investments to have a LIAT 2020 Ltd.”
Gonsalves then said that he is engaged in putting together, as far as is practicable, an approach to regional air transport, which would see other players involved. He remarked that he has been in conversation with four airlines: Caribbean Airlines, InterCaribbean, One Caribbean and SVG Air.
Although Barbados PM, Mia Mottley outlined that six carriers have expressed interest in taking over LIAT’s routes, Gonsalves indicated that he is focusing on the four airlines owned by people within the English-speaking Caribbean.
There are two others, according to Gonsalves, out of North America and there are two in the French Antilles who are also interested in LIAT’s routes.
As a result, Gonsalves is hoping that we would have a good mix to take people in and out of various territories in the region.
Gonsalves said that any other individual or government can decide what they’re going to do—and he wishes them well. He said: “But clearly the market and the investment requisites would determine how the different airlines play out.“
- Countries: CARICOM
- ANTIGUA | LIAT's creditors given until August 15 to make claim
- ANTIGUA | Browne seeks CDB Loan to purchase LIAT aircraft
- BARBADOS | Mottley welcomes Inter Caribbean Airways Barbados hub
- ANTIGUA | Court appointed Administrator takes control of LIAT
- ANTIGUA | Browne gets green light to reorganise regional carrier LIAT