Published on Monday, June 29, 2020

Caribbean airline LIAT to be liquidated

Loss-making regional Caribbean airline LIAT is to be liquidated, with plans being drawn up to replace it with a much leaner 'new entity'.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, told local radio Covid-19 would have increased the carrier's losses 'exponentially'.

He said: "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 region cannot move forward without a form of connectivity and 'you cannot have an integration movement if people cannot connect'.

He warned there will be 'significant job losses' when the new entity, which will retain the LIAT name, starts up, the Jamaica Observer reports.

"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."

It's not the first time LIAT has closed down.

"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," the PM said.

More details here.

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