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LIAT admits it is under strain


Officials at regional carrier LIAT say they are operating under “major constraints” to service Caribbean countries in its network.

In a statement confirming a meeting between the carrier’s management team and Vincentian officials on Wednesday in Kingstown to discuss the island’s complaints about LIAT’s poor service, the airline’s Chief Commercial Officer Lloyd Carswell pointed out that LIAT was struggling to provide a significant number of flights daily with less aircraft.

“We currently operate, on average, 80 flights per day, ranging from the north of the Caribbean to the extreme south with just nine aircraft.  Five years ago LIAT operated a schedule with 17 aircraft,” he contended.

However on Friday, Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves who revealed that LIAT was on course to get a tenth aircraft in October, was adamant, “that the number of passengers we [LIAT] carrying is more than we had with 15 aircraft.”

Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, moderator Pamela Coke-Hamilton and former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur at today’s symposium.

Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, moderator Pamela Coke-Hamilton and former Barbados prime minister Owen Arthur at today’s symposium.

Gonsalves, the chairman of LIAT’s shareholder Governments who was in Barbados attending a Brexit symposium at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) insisted the airline had to do much better.

“The reasons they [LIAT] gave for the poor service of late, which is more of an excuse, has been bad weather. When the schedule is put out of whack, even for an hour, it has a knock on effect throughout the whole chain because you do nearly a thousand flights per week. At the moment we have to do better. “

The Vincentian leader blamed the current inefficiencies plaguing LIAT on the airline’s failure to implement a decision taken since February 2015 to shift its base from Antigua and Barbuda to Barbados.

Arguing that it would be a better financial option for the regional airline, Gonsalves said “ he wanted to know why the move had not occurred.

“ The decision to shift the base has not been rescinded but the management has not carried out the decision and I would like to find out why.”

Gonsalves’ comments comes on the heels of a September 4 letter issued to LIAT, by St Vincent’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security in Kingstown Godfrey Pompey, who charged that the airline was taking Kingstown for granted and abusing its accommodation.

Pompey lamented that since June, LIAT’s service to St Vincent has been deteriorating with no improvement in sight.

“As a major shareholder, St Vincent and the Grenadines has been receiving the crumbs in terms of service. Officers at LIAT are now taking pleasure in shifting the blame of LIAT’s poor service to the Ministry and by extension the management of E.T. Joshua Airport, making demands to keep our airport open at times beyond 2:00 a.m. This is highly unacceptable since some category of staff is required to report to work at the opening of the airport at 5:30 a.m.”

The airline’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones acknowledged that LIAT had cancelled a number of evening services due to adverse weather conditions and have, on occasion, requested later than normal arrivals into ET Joshua, in order to ensure the flight schedule is maintained.


“Cancellations due to adverse weather are done in the interest of safety and with regard for the lives of passengers and crew.”

She added “our operating schedule is hampered due to the airport’s official closing time of 9.00 p.m. However, LIAT have decided to make some network and scheduling changes to avoid the late arrivals into St Vincent.”

Reifer-Jones also reiterated that the regional carrier was constrained by limited financial resources and lack of financial support from many of the territories, which it serves. She called on CARICOM (Caribbean Community) Heads of Government to fully discuss the matter.



22 Responses to LIAT admits it is under strain

  1. Gavin Dawson
    Gavin Dawson September 11, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    Now they know what it is like for the passengers!

  2. G.G Billingy
    G.G Billingy September 11, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    Liat needs to demonstrate that it has been in existence for over 50 years, as a result, it should have acquired extensive knowledge and experience in the airline business, this must be reflected in the quality of service it offers to customers.

    • Cat Rock
      Cat Rock September 11, 2016 at 1:43 pm
    • Gavin Dawson
      Gavin Dawson September 11, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      G G Billingy, 50years in existence! they say practice makes perfect,what the hell has Liat been doing for 50 years then, they still can’t make up there mind to be late or cancel, this is the service it offers to it’s customers.

  3. Margaret Bascombe
    Margaret Bascombe September 11, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Leave island any time

  4. Alex Alleyne September 11, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    They talk about the number of passengers then and now , no one saw it fit to mention the size of the planes over the years.
    Most of all the “prices”.

  5. Cat Rock
    Cat Rock September 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    These government could have supported red jet. There was more than enough room for the competition

  6. Colette Felix
    Colette Felix September 11, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    After having the worst experience with the rudest cabin crew member of LIAT, first it doesn’t help that the service is crap,then you have horrid unpleasant staff,stupseeee,I waiting on the ferry

  7. BimJim September 11, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Under strain, poorly overseen, poorlay managed, inappropriate aircraft, low morale, more pilots leaving every day – but no need to change anything. Just don’t delay any of The Comrade’s sports teams again and all will be well.

    Now give Chairman Jean Holder’s friend Riefer-Jones the CEO job, she knows the right people. She can’t manage her way out of a wet paper bag with a large hole in it, but she knows the right people.

    So just keep doing things the way they have always been done, and one one these fine years you will get a different result. By the way, we have a name for that.

  8. jrsmith September 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Liat is managed by a bunch of idiots living in la, la, land just as like the government they don’t have the faintest idea what they are doing.. my ten year old great grandson would do better , (Privatize ) the dam thing and while you at it please, please privatize the (Barbados Government)

  9. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith September 11, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    “We currently operate, on average, 80 flights per day, ranging from the north of the Caribbean to the extreme south with just nine aircraft. Five years ago LIAT operated a schedule with 17 aircraft,” he contended. Therein lies the problem

  10. Jason Belle
    Jason Belle September 11, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    Will it take a tragedy to enact serious changes?

  11. Jahlisa Diamond
    Jahlisa Diamond September 11, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Liat 50 years, needs to get there act together. I have travel with this airline so many times, and enjoy everyone

  12. Mhizz Sweetness
    Mhizz Sweetness September 11, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    is bringing liat to base here in Barbados going to make d service better n weather conditions perfect everyday

  13. Mhizz Sweetness
    Mhizz Sweetness September 11, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    congratz on ur increase in passengers but dats because ur airline is cheaper dan d others but u need to stop d delays n cancellations i never had bad customer service actually i love d customer service

  14. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 12, 2016 at 2:46 am

    Boo hoo LIAT you are a third world airline run by backward thinking joker’s who don”t care about regional traveller’s.

  15. jrsmith September 12, 2016 at 4:00 am

    @, Wayne T G, hail hail, you have .. (9 aircraft ).. 80 flights per day then gave each average 9 flights.. what would need to be known how the flight routes is circumvented and the average flight load of passengers , is it you make a flight to Barbados with 6 passengers from Trinidad , and 10 passengers is waiting in (ST, Lucia ) to travel to Barbados , why then could you go from Trinidad to (ST.Lucia) and then to Barbados. or (ST. Lucia to (Trinidad) then Barbados.. These 80 flights a day is to and from destinations..

  16. Maaz A Love
    Maaz A Love September 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Need some competition…prices r too high …it cost less to fly to Usa or Canada than too places 45mins away in the Caribbean. Where’s the special rates for caricom nationals. Where’s the the savings since the fuel prices drop. What is governments doin to saving the caricom nationals money on flights.Help the people stay connected to family and friends.

  17. Phil September 12, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I sat at dinner with a few very wealthy and influential individuals at a residence in Sandy Lane. One of them elucidated a magnificent plan to establish a new regional airline service which he call Caribbean Sky Rider. This airline, he said will consist of about 24 to 30 different sized aircrafts traversing all the islands but hubbed in Barbados. He used a wagon wheel diagram to illustrate. It will operate quite like a bus service. Travel cost is based on trip and not the distance travelled. To simplify it he said a person can travel from Antigua to Trinidad by simply getting on to a plane leaving Antigua, hub in Barbados and connect to a flight going into TNT. The price per trip will be fixed at US$ 60.00 per trip, one way. This means the total cost from ANU to TNT and back will be US$ 240.00 Same thing applies to all travel in the Caribbean. There will be a special island hopper charge for trips from SLU to SVN and SVN to GND. SLU to FDF (Martinique) at US$40.00 per trip Same thing with ANU to SXA. This way wwe will have planes leaving all destinations almost hourly from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m daily. Tourists especially will utilize this opportunity or facility. One can purchase their tickets online, or pay at the airport. No reservations. Turn up at the airport and you’re on the first available flight out to your intended destination.
    It’s like a bus service. Larger aircrafts will serve the larger volume of PAX. smaller ones will serve the smaller pax loads. Wake up Bizzy, get on board. Goodbye LIAT.

    • BimJim September 14, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Easy to be dazzled by rich people talk… LIAT’s fares consist of the same amount again in government taxes and airport fees which go into General Fund – not just in Barbados, but the whole of the EC. Aviation has become a Cash Cow to the politicians, and it is that uncaring approach which must be destroyed before fares can POSSIBLY come down to a reasonable level.

      Aviation is a very technical business, with a vast range of things that must be paid for up front or money put aside for. Aircraft are not like buses that you can park up and just drive off when you need them, and aircraft leases are cheaper than purchases but still demand huge investment up front. Anybody who tells you otherwise is full of shyte – and you can tell them I said so.

      As for Bizzy, he has been (badly) burned twice already – good luck getting a penny out of him again for anything to do with aviation.

      LIAT has a major MAJOR problem, and it all boils down to one word – Politics. At the top, Communist/Marxist “big-guts” Gonsalves believes taxpayers should subsidise LIAT, there are a dozen or more politically appointed Board Members whose airline knowledge may be reduced to how many free flights they get a year, and the upper management of LIAT are mostly friends of Board Members who – like the Board Members themselves – are incompetent to perform any function in an airline.

      The fleet change to the ATRs is one major indication of the incompetence and patronage… since five years ago, LIAT had a “meltdown”, and now has HALF the passengers and DOUBLE the finance load. And because the ATR is the wrong airplane for the job, and at least HALF of the delays and cancellations these days are attributable to the crosswind and tailwind restrictions – which the Dash-8 would have taken on without a murmur.

      As many MANY people have asked, cajoled and begged before, in print, on radio and on TV, take the politics out, put competence in, and I believe LIAT can actually break even without dropping destinations or laying off hundreds of staff.

      The BIGGEST problems for LIAT are two specific Prime Ministers, and for opposite reasons. The majority shareholder PM DoLittle Stuart, refuses to make any decisions, and the minority shareholder PM DoTooMuch Gonsalves has taken charge and is having a great time micromanaging LIAT because his share of the losses is only 11%.

      WHEN the politics is removed from LIAT, the airline may even make a profit – as WinAir and Cayman Airways have recently clearly demonstrated when the politics were removed from those two government-owned airlines.

      FIRE THE BUMS. Then maybe we can have some sanity.

      And only then maybe we – the poor suffering taxpayers who pay the airline’s bills of US$50 million a year – might also see LIAT’s Top Secret annual accounts for the first time in nearly 50 years.

  18. Loraine Bovell Warner
    Loraine Bovell Warner September 12, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    drop the taxes on ticket fares that killing people and you all would not be under strain… I would prefer to travel to the Caribbean countries which are beautiful …but where as you could have bought a ticket for 200 to St lucia now have to pay almost 700 for a 45 min plane ride ….


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