LIAT (Antigua) is once again facing an uncertain future as there are new fractures in the delicate inter-island ownership alliance.
The government of Antigua and Barbuda, according to the Antillean Media Group, is “furious over a leaked document which detailed plans for Barbados to divest its majority share in regional airline LIAT and to take several aircraft from its fleet to form a new airline”
Under the leaked report, Barbados has given the proposed new airline a code-named “Newco” handle. This new airline, if implemented, would compete against the gutted LIAT.
Antigua Prime Minister Gaston Browne has condemned the LIAT board and its proposed plan.
LIAT is currently owned by seven Caribbean governments, with three governments being the major shareholders (73.4%). Private shareholders (10%) and employees (5.3%) own the remaining shares.
LIAT – The Caribbean Airline (Antigua) has issued this statement about the reduction of its fleet from 11 aircraft to nine and possible staff cuts:
LIAT is about to embark on its annual budget planning exercise and to put in place its operational plans for 2015.
As a result of the airline’s fleet transition program, LIAT will be a smaller airline in 2015 than in 2014, operating a fleet of nine aircraft as opposed to 11 in 2014.
LIAT Chief Executive Officer David Evans said: “Like any responsible business we have to examine our cost base and if we fly fewer aircraft in 2015 than in 2014, we also need to reduce our costs to reflect this. We have also been mandated by our Board of Directors to ensure that our costs reflect the level of activity that we carry out. It is too early to say what impact there may be on jobs as a result of this, and the company will consult with its staff and their representatives over its plans before making any announcement.”
LIAT, The Caribbean Airline, operates a modern fleet of ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft across a regional network of 18 destinations. It is owned by regional shareholders, with the majority being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda and St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
Copyright Photo: Raul Sepulveda/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-212A (ATR 72-600) V2-LIA (msn 1077) stops at San Juan, Puerto Rico.
LIAT Limited (The Caribbean Airline) (Antigua) has started its fleet upgrade with the first new ATR 72-600 aircraft delivered today (June 14). This first ATR in LIAT’s fleet is being leased from GECAS (GE Capital Aviation Services). This is the first of a total of eight ATRs (four 68-seat ATR 72-600s and four 48-seat ATR 42-600s) that will be introduced into LIAT’s fleet.
The introduction of these brand new ATR -600s in LIAT’s current fleet of 14 aircraft is a part of the airline’s restructuring plans aiming at fleet modernization and network improvements. By progressively replacing its current fleet of former turboprop aircraft with the modern and fuel efficient ATRs, the airline will significantly reduce operating and maintenance costs, gain further in profitability and offer more comfort to its passengers due to its enhanced seats design. The line-up of the full new generation ATR model range will allow LIAT to optimize their fleet on their pan-Caribbean network with aircraft of one same family, offering both 50 and 70 seat capacity.
“LIAT currently connects 21 destinations throughout the Caribbean with most routes under 100 Nm, like Grenada to Trinidad, or Dominica to Antigua. The 68-seat ATR 72-600s are perfectly adapted to many of our existing and potential routes,” says Ian Brunton, Chief Executive Officer of LIAT. “By renewing our fleet our customers will enjoy more efficiency and better travel experience. The ATR 72-600 perfectly fits with our requirements in terms of low operating costs, most updated technologies and optimal comfort. This is the most-recently certified turboprop aircraft on the market, and we are proud to start our operations with such a modern, successful and well-reputed aircraft”.
It is anticipated that the first ATR 72-600 would be pressed into service before the end of June, with the remaining aircraft expected for delivery during 2013 and 2014.
Copyright Photo: Oliver Gregoire/AirlinersGallery.com. ATR 72-600 (ATR 72-212A) F-WWEN became V2-LIA (msn 1077) on delivery from Toulouse.
Leeward Islands Air Transport Services (LIAT) (Antigua) and ATR announced the signature of an agreement for the purchase of a total of three 48-seats ATR 42-600s. The deal also includes options for two 68-seat ATR 72-600, and is valued at over $100 million. LIAT will take delivery of their very first ATR 42-600 in June 2013.
With the arrival of these aircraft from ATR, plus additional ATR -600s under discussion from leasing companies, LIAT will progressively replace its current fleet of former Bombardier DHC-8 turboprop aircraft. The airline currently operates a fleet of 14 aircraft over its Caribbean network, which includes main hubs at Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad, and destinations, among others, in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, St. Marten, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent.
In addition, Air Lease Corporation announced LIAT and ALC signed long term lease agreements for two new ATR 72-600 aircraft, delivering in June and August 2013.
Antigua-based LIAT is owned by 11 different governments in the Eastern Caribbean, and is the major scheduled airline operator in that region.