ST JOHN’S, ANTIGUA — The acting head of the Caribbean airline, LIAT, in a message to staff, declared the comfort and well-being of passengers will be her overriding priority.
“At the new LIAT, we are working to build an airline which places the customer, our loyal passengers, at the center of our focus,” stated Julie Reifer-Jones, who was appointed acting chief executive officer by the airline’s board of directors this month.
Reifer-Jones underscored the importance of the airline’s focus on the security of its passengers: “Today marks another significant milestone for LIAT – 57 years of continuous service to the peoples and countries of the region. We can also proudly say that these have been 57 years of safely serving the Caribbean.”
Pointing out that for many destinations LIAT remains the major carrier, transporting more passengers than any other airline, she added: “LIAT continues to contribute to the economic and social development of our region, providing important linkages for inter-regional travel as well as for connections to international, particularly trans-Atlantic, travel.”
Recalling LIAT has evolved from a single Piper Apache to its present fleet of 14 aircraft, she asked for patience: “As we go through change once again, we promise to serve our region better and in more efficient ways.”
She thanked customers and stakeholders for their patience and support as LIAT transitions from its Dash-8 fleet to new ATR aircraft: “This change of fleet is a major investment for the company with a cost of US $107 million.”
She was pleased to note, however, that on several routes, “our passengers are already experiencing the comfort of our new ATR 72s.”
In addition to the introduction of new aircraft into the fleet, the airline has been able to stabilize its flight schedules throughout the Caribbean: “By the end of this year, we will have six new aircraft and this should improve our operational performance considerably,” she reported.
The acting CEO proclaimed the fleet modernisation which continues into 2014 will improve schedules: “By the end of next year we expect to have a completely new fleet. In addition, we are actively working to improve on-time-performance and our customer service.”
On its 57th year of service to the Caribbean, Reifer-Jones saluted all LIAT employees “who throughout the years have helped to build this outstanding Caribbean institution. As we move forward, we encourage everyone to keep the LIAT flag flying high.”