Antigua and Barbuda will oppose any moves to liquidate the assets of defunct regional carrier LIAT 1974 “without a plan to create the necessary connectivity which regional integration requires.”
At today’s post cabinet media briefing, Minister of Information, Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Information Technology Melford Nicholas revealed the Government is developing a plan for a “new” LIAT.
“We have taken the decision that we must do whatever is necessary to resuscitate LIAT. The Government is of the view that the liquidation is only viable if there is going to be a restart to LIAT. If it was a question that (anyone) who currently has an interest in LIAT needs to kill it so that they can start another airline that would be unfortunate,” Nicholas said.
He said any decision on LIAT will be based on a decision taken by the shareholders which includes the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.
Without wanting to give much details on the new LIAT, Nicholas said matters that will be looked into going forward will include a rate guarantee, flying profitable routes and looking at staff numbers.
He is hoping there will not be a long break between when LIAT resumes operations since there are already trained staff. Nicholas noted employee unions are meeting with members to discuss plans going forward.
LIAT currently has over 800 staff members throughout the Caribbean.
Earlier this year, the Antigua and Barbuda Government committed to investing at least US$15,000,000 in LIAT. Nicholas said those funds remain in an escrow account.
A decision was taken to have the Registrar of Companies in Antigua and Barbuda reserve the LIAT 2020 Ltd name.