LIAT has 10 days’ cash to keep functioning



Inter-Caribbean airline Liat Ltd only has enough cash to function for the next 10 days and will face a shut down if Caricom does not intervene. The faltering airline needs an immediate cash injection of some US$5 million to keep flying, 

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said after returning from the 30th Caricom meeting in St Kitts and Nevis.

Speaking moments after landing at the Piarco International Airport, Rowley told the media that the Liat shareholders said they needed to act with urgency in order to keep the airline afloat.

“Currently, part of Liat’s problems is that Liat is flying uneconomic routes with loads that are heavily subsidised. If the airline is to remain flying to countries that have routes like that, the shareholders are saying that such countries will have to guarantee a minimum revenue stream to the airline or the airline would cease to fly those routes,” Rowley said.

“As I speak to you now, I do not know what the situation is for T&T.

“If the routes coming into to Trinidad and Tobago are uneconomic and the receiving country requires the service to continue then we may or may not have to enter an agreement.” 

Currently, T&T has a one per cent share in Liat so although the country would not be financially impacted if the airline goes belly-up, Rowley said the failure of the airline could still negatively impact the country.

He said one of Liat’s major cost centres was airline maintenance.

“I have agreed to allow them to talk with CAL (Caribbean Airlines) to see whether there is any economic benefit of cooperation between CAL and Liat from that standpoint,” he said.

Staying on the topic of inter-island travel, Rowley said the Caricom heads also discussed the viability of a passenger sea ferry to service the islands up the Caribbean.

“T&T was able to give our experience on the cost of operating such a service, which is heavily subsidised because they were talking about a fast ferry service,” he said.

Rowley said he told the government heads that a fast ferry service was expensive but another type of sea vessel might be more viable.

“We are still looking at the possibility of some kind of sea ferry service,” he said.

Rowley said the group also discussed security as it relates to inter-island travel, which included adding a US$2-3 surcharge on travel tickets between the Caricom islands.

“Throughout the region, all our countries are facing significant upsurge in crime,” he said.

The PM said there was also a call for countries to give priority to the Advanced Passenger Information System which monitors passengers coming into the region.

“This has to be paid for to make sure we have some element of control on matters of regional security,” Rowley said.

He said not all the Caricom members are on board with the funding of regional security.

“So we have been discussing again, from meeting to meeting, this question of applying passenger surcharge and that money be used directly for supporting the budget required to fund the necessary security apparatus that I just mentioned,” he said.

“Trinidad and Tobago will be paid up.”  

On the international front, Rowley said the Caricom group is pushing back against the European Union’s (EU) broad blacklisting of Caribbean nations as havens for tax evaders.

“They have been arbitrarily blacklisting Caribbean countries and accusing us of being tax havens and sheltering money launderers,” Rowley said.

“We believe that this type of arbitrary action on the part of European body is either out of absolute ignorance or disregard for our rights and we have decided to raise our diplomatic response to it across the world to indicate that we are not prepared to take that kind of treatment.”

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  1. This talk shop mentality must end. Caricom is a big joke. From immigration, to transportation…from Venezuela to Haiti, CARICOM cannot take a unified position. Regional air travel is too expensive. I can travel to Miami and New York for less than it would cost me to travel to St. Kitts which is 15 minutes away from Antigua. Remarkable but true. LIAT continues to serve countries whose governments do not see the need to invest in LIAT but who pays subsidies to other international carriers. LIAT and its shareholder governments must begin to read the riot act to countries like St.Kitts, St. Lucia, Grenada and others whose countries benefit from LIAT. Pay up or LIAT leave. Period. All governments throughout the region MUST look towards waiving landing fees and taxes for a period of at least 2 years as this would stimulate travel by Caribbean citizens and assist in helping LIAT financially. Our Caricom governments are LIAT’s biggest threat.

    • Of course it’s $$$$$. LIAT can only hold so many people and to run the aircraft requires X amount of dollars. For the flight to make money then tickets have to cost a certain amount.

  2. What has that BAJAN lady Ceo done for the airline since she took the helm? Would really like to see an account of her STEWARDSHIP!!! Julie Refer-Jones checkmate

      • It’s so not about the pilots alone! Y’all spoil asses are partially responsible for the failure. The issue is as others have stated; the countries benefiting from its service not wanting to invest. That solution seems simple; pull out! The redundancy of this story is crippling. If you don’t pay up, you can’t get service

  3. 1 – An internal audit must be conducted.
    2 – As in business they have to determine the cost of operating at full and half capacity then charge accordingly. However the cost must not be taxing.
    3 – I have a flight from BGI to ANU and need Liat to be functioning when the time comes.

  4. The same management keeps turning a disastrous loss for this company yet they try everything to fix it except getting rid of the cause of the problem. They can change line staff and contracts all they want, the results will be the same with the same leaders.

  5. One day, we can vacation next door (montserrat, nevis) by just driving over…never say never

  6. When Redjet enter the Caribbean the islands government did not help or partner up with them Liat must seek partnerships with the Largest airline in the world or team up with Southwest. Let’s try not to forget what the employees are earning way to much some of them that do simply jobs $5000 usd per month for typing really ? Post job and pay of employees. Liat can sell shares in the company

  7. As I read the comments I shake my head some guy the nail on the head some well……
    Let me say I would not want to be in Mrs Reifer Jones shoes did she really know what she was getting herself into. I have a few questions now. Was it absolutely necessary for LIAT to purchase the ATF when they did? If the CEO thought it was a grand idea where is he now? How much of a kick back did he receive ? When List prepares its financial statements monthly are they properly reviewed? It would appear when LIAT decided to raise ticket prices to increase revenue they also raised the expenses. Who answers for variances ? If a plane had to begin its morning flight from a particular destination why isn’t it there from the night before why do passengers have to wait and then be delayed? Oh right cause pilots have a certain number of hours in the air. So then does this need another pair of eyes to be reviewed ? Why is LIAT constantly and unnecessarily paying hotels to put up passengers? Yes the one off mechanical issue but what if the other instances. Why when LIAT Pilots were sent to Paris for training there was no succession plan put into place ? Other small airlines are doing this looking for talent to invest in. No contracts signed stipulating we invested in you, you need to give us 5 more years. These pilots are saying thank you for allowing for grazing on your farm I have moved to greener pastures

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