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.
Aeroflot Russian Airlines (Moscow) is introducing Wi-Fi Internet access on board of its long-haul aircraft for 2013, this service will be available on 26 long-haul airplanes by the end of the year.
22 Airbus 330 and 4 Boeing 777 airliners will be connected to Internet through satellite-based onboard Wi-Fi. 12 Airbus A330 and three Boeing 777 will be available in the first quarter.
Aeroflot is developing its inflight connectivity program in partnership with OnAir — the global inflight connectivity services provider, using Inmarsat’s satellite networks. OnAir Company was incorporated in 2005 and is owned by SITA, the global IT solutions provider to the air transport world and Airbus aircraft manufacturer.
This Wi-Fi Internet access system has been successfully tested in the sky and is already available on five Airbus A330 aircraft:
1. VQ-BPI “L.Yashin”
2. VQ-BPK “I.Kulibin”
3. VP-BDD “A.Mojaiskiy”
4. VP-BDE “L.Kantorovich”
5. VQ-BPJ “V.Brumel”
Aeroflot names its aircraft after famous Russians.
Aeroflot was the first Russian company to provide its passengers with on board mobile connection and Internet access.
The “On Board Internet” program has being implemented by Aeroflot since 2010.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems. Airbus A330-343X VQ-BEK (msn 1077) taxies at the popular Russian holiday destination of Antalya, Turkey.