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ANTIGUA | LIAT to resume operations with flight to Dominica Nov. 1

  • Written by Wiredja.com- Calvin G. Brown
  • Published in Tourism
Featured LIAT Aircraft to make first flight to Dominica following its restructuring. LIAT Aircraft to make first flight to Dominica following its restructuring.
ST. JOHNS, Antigua, November 1, 2020 - The restructured regional airline LIAT is expected to return to the skies today, with the first flight since the airline suspended its services between Antigua and Dominica which remains a major shareholder in the airline.

The flight which is scheduled depart Antigua at 4.p.m, to arrive in Dominica at about 4:45 pm, will be met on arrival by officials including the Minister of Tourism, Denise Charles.

Gaston Browne 1
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne

On its return journey, the aircraft will depart Dominica at 5.p.m for Antigua and will be greeted by the traditional water salute at the V. C. Bird International Airport, to be met by the Minister of Aviation Hon. Sir Robin Yearwood.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Information Minister Melford Nicholas, says the regular commercial schedule of operations will begin on November 8 with a limited schedule of flights which will return connectivity to its network which was impacted by the shutdown.

several new procedures will be implemented to ensure the safety of passengers as well as reduce the risk of transmission of COVID. These include the mandatory wearing of masks at check-in and onboard, enhancement in its cleaning and sanitization protocols and new boarding procedures.

LIAT suspended its commercial traffic in March after many Caribbean islands shut down their airports as part of the measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19. The shutdown of flights and the lack of a regular cash flow forced major shareholders to call for a liquidation of the airline.

However, Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister Gaston Browne, insisted that the airline could be restructured to be economically viable. After several rounds of heated negotiations in July,  shareholder governments Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to sell their shares to Antigua and Barbuda, to accommodate the reorganization plan proposed by Browne.

 Cleveland Seaforth 350  
LIAT Administrator Cleveland Seaforth

In July, a high court in Antigua and Barbuda granted a petition allowing for the reorganization of the airline, the appointment of Cleveland Seaforth, an administrator to reorganize the company, as well as staying all proceedings relating to the liquidation of the company.

A number of regional leaders have given their commitment to write of debts owed to them by LIAT – the Administrator is also speaking with other creditors, adding that the whole idea is to get to a significant write down in the liabilities so that there could be some level of severance paid to the staff.

It’s understood that the debt write-off for St Vincent and the Grenadines will amount to some fourteen million dollars, and there is no information as yet as to the how much the airline owed to Barbados and Dominica.

Last week, ahead of today’s restart of operations, its understood that a new round of termination letters were distributed to already retrenched workers of the airline.

The letters were issued to all categories of workers to include – pilots, engineers, flight attendants and shipping clerks, terminating them for one reason or the other. This includes completion of some contracts while others have been informed that the posts they held have been made redundant.

In addition, they were informed that the airline was not in a position to honour ant indebtedness to them at this time.

The payment of monies owing to workers is dependent on the outcome of the court supervisory restructuring process, the Administrator informed.

LIAT is said to be in debt to its workers to the tune of $100 million.

Last modified onSunday, 01 November 2020 14:35
  • Countries: Antigua_Barbuda