ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne has introduced plans to liquidate the regional provider, LIAT.
Browne, who the announcement on Saturday mentioned a brand new entity will likely be fashioned and a gathering of all shareholders will likely be held shortly to debate the matter.“COVID would have actually, let’s say increased the losses exponentially, so whereas in all of 2019 LIAT made a loss of about EC$12 million, that was within the means of the shareholder governments to subsidise,” mentioned the prime minister who was talking on native radio.“You would have found that since COVID, the planes have been grounded, they have to pay the lease payments and they are not getting any revenue. A decision will have to be made to collapse it and then maybe the countries within the region will have to come together to form a new entity.”He added that the area can not transfer ahead and not using a type of connectivity and “you cannot have an integration movement if people cannot connect.”“What I’m hoping that we do not have going forward with the new entity, is any squabble over the location of the headquarters, at the end of the day, the only service that Antigua and Barbuda has enjoyed … within CARICOM (Caribbean Community) is LIAT and this has been the case for several decades.“So I just hope that we are not going to have countries within the region opportunistically fighting us to get the headquarters in their country to displace Antigua and Barbuda,” he mentioned, whereas including that the formation of the brand new airline have to be executed swiftly.
‘“Back in 1974 when LIAT was collapsed, my understanding is that it took a day to start the operation of a new entity. It may be a little more difficult to get it done within 24 hours and I do understand that there are a number of stakeholders that we have to satisfy, especially creditors and I believe that we could do a work out with the various creditors and to literally get some arrangement in which they can accept that we are not conveniently closing LIAT 1974 Ltd. The governments cannot go any further with it.”Based on the prime minister, LIAT doesn’t have ample property to fulfill the necessities or claims of most of its collectors, together with the airline’s staff.“LIAT only owns three planes and those planes are charged to the Caribbean Development Bank, (CDB), so clearly they have a superior claim and after they would have covered their claim there will be hardly any assets available to liquidate severance and other liabilities to staff and other creditors, so there has to be a negotiated position.”Regarding the destiny of staff, he mentioned the governments “won’t be bandits and just walk away from the staff, they will have to pay some form of compassionate payments to assist them. But they have to understand that they are legally vulnerable and that they have to look at the bigger picture and to cooperate, not to become litigious and to prevent the creation of a new LIAT.”Based on the prime minister, the brand new provider, will likely be a lot leaner that the present LIAT, which employs tons of all through the area and there will likely be important job losses.“Let’s face it, it’s going to be a right-sized entity. You are going to have significant job losses, there’s no doubt about it. Hundreds of people are going to lose their work, it is inescapable.”“But if you are going to have a new entity that is scaled down, that is viable, that is efficient, that can meet the connectivity needs of the Caribbean people, then clearly that has to be the option that we pursue.”He additionally mentioned that the brand new entity will retain the title LIAT.“We shouldn’t be operating away from the title LIAT – LIAT is a Caribbean establishment constructed by Caribbean individuals of which we must be proud. Many establishments within the US within the aviation trade, together with American Airways, they’ve gone belly-up many occasions over. They by no means discontinued the title American Airways. Individuals are proud to assist the title American Airways, however whereas they’ve their Chapter 11 safety, we do not have that in our legal guidelines.Leeward Island Air Transport was established in 1956 in Montserrat.In 1971 Court docket Line Aviation of the UK acquired management and renamed the airline LIAT and in 1974, possession of the airline was acquired by 11 Caribbean Governments in 1974 and it was then renamed LIAT (1974) Ltd.Now you possibly can learn the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anyplace. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is on the market to you at residence or at work, and is identical version because the printed copy out there at http://bit.ly/epaperlive