Antigua and Barbuda has been introducing new airlift in an effort to mitigate any major fallout from unreliable service and periodic industrial action at LIAT.
Speaking with Barbados Today newspaper at the just concluded Caribbean Week in New York, Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority Colin James said St John’s had been working with a number of other carriers over the years “to ensure that all our eggs are not placed in one basket”.
“Yes, we will support our regional air carrier, but we also have to ensure that Antigua and Barbuda, which is so heavily dependent on tourism . . . have the international routes into the destination, air connection which are convenient [and] same day so that people can move in and out of our destination quite seamlessly and easily,” James said.
Tourism consultant with the government of Antigua Shirlene Nibbs further explained that while St John’s “believes in LIAT as a regional carrier”, they believe air access is critical and therefore any airline serving the country should be reliable.
“If there is an organization that is not going to be able to deliver on that promise we will have to look for alternatives.
“We will support them and hear them, we have had meetings and we are looking at creative ways we can make things happen, but if it is not available we recognize that the people of Antigua and Barbuda first and foremost depend on us to bring them visitors that their lives can be improved and we will do that [by] using whatever activity is possible to engage other carriers if that is what we have to do,” Nibbs explained, while making it clear that Antigua and Barbuda was not seeking to get rid of LIAT.