By Makeda Mikael
LIAT, A Caribbean Aviation Asset
Sixty years is a long time to grow an airline’s asset base, especially a regional airline like LIAT which has been the work horse of inter-regional travel in the Caribbean.
An asset base for most businesses can be quickly calculated from the audited financials, and especially in a pandemic when aviation flatlined as thousands of aircraft got grounded, some never to fly again, cannibalized, parts sold,and just the chaos of equipment, makes for wrongful assessment of some airlines’ asset base.
Having survived COVID -although on life support – LIAT has gotten airborne and stayed airborne, not by virtue of its financials, but because of its expertise, the proficiency of its seasoned pilots and engineers, known among the best in the world, and the envy of many regions.
Aircraft which stay grounded for too long will ultimately cost the airline its licenses, with prohibitive costs to restore, routes get taken by new opportunist regional carriers, in a region where air travel is a demand, not an option.
LIAT did the right thing in staying in the air, and when the Caribbean airline restores itself, even these added costs will be less than starting a new airline from scratch.
Aviation Assets are more than just equipment, it also logistics, and paramount is the track record in Safety, which is people based and grown as a culture in the airline.
LIAT did and does just that, it has built a culture of Safety and its Engineers, Pilots, Mechanics, team excellently with their Operations and Ramp in executing an atmosphere of LIAT SAFETY.
LIAT’s Safety Record held in place by teamwork is an asset that takes time to achieve, and it would be a damned shame if those aviation uneducated heads of Government in the Caribbean, were to allow insular competitiveness to reverse such a great achievement.
All this was held in place by the many LIAT employees, who make up the asset, and who have served our islands and countries so well over the past sixty years.
Our leaders should be ashamed of their could-not-care-less attitude to LIAT employees, on the breadline and being abused when the cry out for relief.
Just the same way the Governments demand that businesses take care of their employees through Severance, in the same way they need to recognize that LIAT’s predicament was occasioned by them as Chairman & Directors of LIAT, and right the wrongs now meted out against LIAT’s greatest asset!
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Looking at the LIAT matter as just a liability and not as an asset can cause influence our CARICOM leaders to make a flawed decision regarding the sustainability of the airline. LIAT is not just any airline. It is part of the thing that enables us to remain physically connected as one people for all these years and therefore a valuable asset to all of us. We cannot allow it to fall by the wayside. It is part of who we are. Collectively we must do all we can to save it. It remains part of us and with an excellent safety record throughout.
LIAT needs leadership. The half baked fake American accent Exec who doesn’t know her a$$ from her elbow in aviation and is working everywhere else other than doing liat’s work, along with the two other stooges Execs need to go. These are the same clowns who brought lIAT to its knees. Now, they have their knees on LIAT’s neck. Get rid of them all.
Well-written article. The major question remains can LIAT be restated as a Lean, Ifficient And Thin airline? Revenue must exceed expenses. LIAT’s Long-Term very experienced employees, at all levels, became costly. The cost of LIAT travel is made worse by very high landing taxes and fees. Travelling within these Caribbean Islands with LIAT became expensive and unattractive. A Catch-22 as the airline flew with empty seats. Can a revived LIAT ever be made to work without subsidies?
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