PM makes his position on funding for LIAT clear

8

FULL STATEMENT BY PM BROWNE

“They have signalled that they are willing to come onboard to provide some financial subsidy to LIAT.”

The above are my precise words. Please forgive me for interpreting St Lucia’s final agreement to meet to address the issues affecting LIAT, as a signal to come on board to support the sustainability of LIAT.

Talk can not resolve LIAT’s insolvency problems, it requires the commitment by the various governments to include a possible cash subvention, lower airport fees, capital injection or all of the above.

We accept that LIAT must be operated efficiently and along commercial lines. Those are conditions precedent. However, the market structure, (small market and a capital-intensive business), high debt, inadequate assets and undercapitalization, would make the prospects of a sustainable profit unlikely.

If LIAT was making a profit, it would not require any support from any government. It would fund its operations and expansion from retained earnings and its positive cash flow. So the notion that LIAT should first become profitable to get support is a misaligned proposition.

It’s instructive that the very government’s that are reluctant to participate have subsidized foreign carriers from wealthy countries in order to guarantee profitability and the attendant service. Some even subsidise cricket teams, that contribute less than LIAT to their economies, to the tune of millions annually without murmur.

Air transportation is quintessential to the integration movement. LIAT, therefore, is an absolutely essential service to the region. In fact, many of the airports in the OECS would look like ghost towns without LIAT. LIAT also contributes significantly to the economies of these countries and with increased support could contribute more with the movement of tourists within the region.

Subsidizing LIAT in the interim is inescapable and it requires the commitment of all, in order to effectively move goods and people within the region. With the participation of all countries that LIAT serves, this subvention will not be burdensome and it will ensure greater reliability and connectivity.

I am not bullying anyone.

I genuinely believe that a model of shared burden and shared benefits are required to sustain LIAT. I trust that the upcoming meeting to place LIAT on a sustainable path will result in the commitment of all countries contributing to the sustainability of LIAT.

Antigua & Barbuda stands ready to subside a realigned LIAT and I implore my colleagues to join us, along with Barbados and St Vincent & the Grenadines, to place LIAT on a sustainable path in the interest of all.

Gaston Browne

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8 COMMENTS

    • I am not a supporter of PM, Gaston Browne but I am truly heartened on his stance on LIAT the same way I am in his corner with the Barbuda Issue. Go Gaston, You’re Talawah. Long time we looking for a PM with Real Testicles.

  1. Bravo… Bravo….Well articulated… Most Caribbean Politicians lacks vision and are bunch of hypocrites….

  2. Listen!!! The citizens for all those Island who say they are not going to invest until it is profitable should be charged high airline and cargo fees and not be allowed to invest in LIAT when they become profitable. They seem like they want to eat the corn but have nothing to do with planting the corn!!!

  3. It’s because over the years we have let politics determine the airlines profitability we are now where we are. We need to make up our minds, if LIAT is an essential service that start treating it like one. Which means monthly or annual subvention and being part of the annual budget. That means even if the flight is empty it will have to fly. Just like a bus service, But you cannot have it both ways and say you want it to be profitable. LIAT management can tell you the profitable routes. They have that on paper for years. So if you want profitability just fly those routes only. And any other route will have to be subsidize by the government that wants the service. Period. And they can chose up to what amount they will subsidize it. One flight per week, per month or whatever their pocket can buy. We should forget the rest of all the arguments. Just give management the authority to do what they know best. Run the airline with a clear mandate.

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