BVI News

LIAT ‘considering airline’s closure’ | Staff will be paid the millions owed

Shareholder governments for the regional airline LIAT will be convening a meeting “for the purpose of considering the closure of the airline”.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, the Chairman of the airline’s four major shareholder governments – Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Barbados and St Vincent & the Grenadines — made that statement in a letter addressed the LIAT’s staff on Monday, June 29.

He explained that LIAT has been challenged with the COVID-19 pandemic and a review of of the state of the airline has shown that the airline is “unable to pay its debts”.

The Vincentian Prime Minister said the pandemic only aggravated an already-difficult financial situation, noting that the airline was hit hard by the 2017 hurricanes and has been struggling to recover since.

Gonsalves, in the meantime, has sought to assure the staff members that “payment of … outstanding salaries and severance will be urgently addressed”.

The Antigua-based regional airline is reported to owe its staff an estimated EC$94 million in severance and holiday payment.

“Both the board of directors and the major shareholders agree that the airline cannot survive this crisis … The shareholders understand that this information is disappointing and an unfortunate result of the circumstances but will ensure that the process is fairly and justly undertaken,” Gonsalves stated.

LIAT operates nearly 500 flights to 15 destinations weekly. It had suspended its operations until July 15 because of COVID-19.

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12 Comments

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  1. Eyes says:

    Sorry to see the airline go this pandemic has cripple every business around the world and only those that have gained access to recovery funds have been able to survive. Hope to see a Caribbean airline flying again.

  2. UK take over says:

    Bronson need to step in now

    Like 1
    Dislike 16
  3. Check It Out says:

    Caribbean Express Please help us

  4. Anonymous says:

    Sad to see LIAT go under but if the big heads had turn to the small heads and hear their ideas things would be much better. People in power only think about themselves and their fat pockets to get fatter.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  5. Blues says:

    Sad to see LIAT go under but the people in power dont care about the small man ideas. Turn to the workers that have ideas and you will see a big different. Its not to late to turn to workers for their imput. The workers are the ones at the front.

  6. Darwin says:

    The weak will perish and the strong will survive.

  7. lsfdskld says:

    LOL they will just declare bankrupt and go under new management and a new name. what’s to fuss about. they already got insurance covered for their lose. so who cares.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  8. E. Leonard says:

    LIAT(1974), the primary regional inter-island air carrier, is going to be restructured, though it may retain the name LIAT. Since busting on the scene in 1956, LIAT have endured some challenges, including its low on time rating, operational issues, poor customer satisfaction ratings among other issues. It has gotten a bad rap and perhaps it deserved some of it. Nonetheless, LIAT may be a victim of the market(small traveling market), ie, supply and demand.

    The airline business is a capital and labour intensive business with huge fix costs, low safety margins and a razor-thin profit margin. Every flight that takes off and lands has a fix cost that has to covered either by paying passengers or cargo. Passenger Load Factor(PLF),ie, ratio of revenue per passenger mile (RPM) to available passenger mile (ASM). PLF is a measure of how efficient an airline measures its capacity.

    Moreover, low regional travel may be a factor in low PLF, which will impact profitability. Preferably, each flight must at least breakeven but airlines are businesses and must make a profit to stay in business. An airline consistently operating below or at the breakeven level spells trouble. Each flight has to be profitable either through ticket prices, baggage fees, ticket change fees, seating or cargo. Today, airlines may breakeven from ticket prices but make a profit from baggage, ticket changes, seat preferences and other nickel and dime fees.

    In LIAT restructuring, each country due to its projected PLF may not warrant a flight every day. A flight every other day or less may be the norm. Profitable airline routes come down to PLF. As hotels have to put heads in beds to stay in business so too must airlines put butts in seats. A ferry, bus or train operates on the same principle.

    • E.Leonard says:

      Correction………low safety margin should should read high safety margin.

    • Disinterested says:

      A reasoned defence of LIAT but in spite of challenges it could have performed better. It has been around since 1956 so it should be in a better position than it is. It is a hapless dysfunctional failure. Something is structurally wrong with LIAT, for it does not matter who is leading it the results is still the same. LIAT reminds me of Cable and Wireless.

      Both have been around for a while and exploited the people. Cable and Wireless got a strong dose of competition to set it straight. LIAT on the other hand collapse under its own weight. What is next for LIAT? Will consumers buy what it selling?

  9. Busted says:

    Where does it say that staff will be paid ?

  10. LIAT flyer says:

    That’s around 30 million to 650 staff
    Say 50,000 usd each or maybe 6 big guys get 5 million rest get nothing

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