ST VINCENT – LIAT crew sickness led to 261 flight cancellations

KINGSTOWN –– Regional carrier, LIAT, has had to cancel 261 flights and delayed a further 564 this year, due to crew sickness.

The average number of sick days per member of the crew is around 21 days, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who is chair of LIAT’s shareholder governments told parliament on Thursday, but reiterated that the airline has a lot of good workers.


“And I don’t want to damn the crew, because I know they are very good people and it is demonstrated. But if we have a problem, we have to talk about it honestly and the management has to deal with it with good sense and sensitivity,” Gonsalves said.

Regarding the airline’s routes and their profitability, he said that of the top ten performing routes, two of them are Barbados–St Vincent and Port of Spain-St Vincent.

The other eight routes, which make “the most positive contribution to the overhead” are Antigua-Barbados, Antigua-Dominica, Antigua-St Kitts, Antigua-St Lucia, Barbados-Dominica, Barbados-Grenada, Barbados-St Lucia, and Tortola-St Martin.

In 2015, 14 routes generated negative contribution margins: Antigua-San Juan, Barbados-Port of Spain, Barbados-St Martin, Tortola to San Juan, Martinique to St Lucia, Guadeloupe to Dominica, St Martin to St Thomas, St Martin to St Croix.

Gonsalves said LIAT needs to keep some of these routes, saying that the Barbados to Port of Spain route has a lot of potential but has increasing competition from Trinidad’s national carrier, Caribbean Airlines (CAL).

“And you have scheduled cancellations so, obviously, somebody is going Barbados-Port of Spain, they would take CAL rather than taking LIAT, but it has potential.”

LIAT other shareholder governments are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica.

Gonsalves said the shareholders have asked the management to continue to deal with the non-performing routes.

“We are not telling them which routes. They are the management. They have to decide which routes, because a route may be non-performing, but it has the potential to perform.”

He said his government has no problems whatsoever with other airlines competing with LIAT.

It is “absolutely ridiculous” to say his government is not giving CAL a licence to fly to St Vincent and the Grenadines, he said.

The Prime Minister told parliament that what has happened is that CAL would see which routes fit within its own plan and which routes are profitable for it.

LIAT is interested in having a nexus with CAL and other small operators “to take up the slack in certain areas”, he said.

Gonsalves has criticised countries serviced by LIAT for not investing in the airline.

He urged countries that want more flight to “pay to play”.

“Put money in the airline, because, after all, we are now having to put in, before the end of the year, we have given the commitment for EC$600,000 out of this five million dollar equity injection,” he said of the LIAT’s latest request for capital from its owners.

“And I want to make this point that all the countries which get LIAT without any capital injection, without any equity injection, they pay for all the international carriers. They give letters of credit and when you don’t reach for any period up for what the airline says would be their margin, well, then the payment is made. It comes out of the tourism promotion budget of these countries,” Gonsalves said.

He promised that he will defend the interest of SVG and LIAT and ensure that it delivers better service to the nation.

Source: (iWitness News)

2 Responses to ST VINCENT – LIAT crew sickness led to 261 flight cancellations

  1. James Lynch November 1, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    The only person interfering with LIAT who is deeply sick in the head is Marxist PM Comrade Ralph “Psycho” Gonsalves. He needs to stay away and take a long rest from LIAT so that it can recover from his meddling in an industry he knows nothing about.

  2. James Lynch November 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    Reminds me of a line from that old song from decades ago… “Wishing, and hoping, and begging, and praying…”

    Investors, here is some excellent advice: DO NOT PUT A PENNY INTO LIAT.

    When the LIAT shareholders came knocking and shaming on his doors about four years ago PM Kenny Anthony of St. Lucia told the shareholders of LIAT to clean up the airline and his country would consider becoming shareholders again. Nothing changed on LIAT’s end, and so nothing changed at St. Lucia’s end.

    Grenada and St. Kitts have joined St. Lucia in refusing to pour their taxpayers hard-earned money down the LIAT drain.

    Since Kenny Anthony’s polite and reasonable request, the politically appointed Board also (unnnecessarily) took on an additional debt of some US$100 million to change the aircraft fleet. The same person who sold them the airplanes then caused a “meltdown” (his own words) and just about doubled the airline’s loss rate before resigning and scuttling back to Trinidad.

    Barbados actually owns slightly more than 50% of LIAT, and if Barbados wanted to save money and make LIAT more efficient, the politicians – especially (minority) Chairman of the shareholders PM Ralph Gonsalves, who micromanages the airline – would have been kicked out, and the useless political appointee Board would have been swapped for people who actually know something about airlines and aviation.

    The unqualified and inexperienced executive management would have been fired and replaced with professionals – as with the Board, there are several West Indians around who can do the job – but they are the types who will not take orders from political masters. That last CEO, David Evans, was the least qualified among the entire bunch of applicants, but clearly he promised to make no changes in order to get the job (he spent his entire tenure touring LIAT’s destinations, at LIAT’s expense).

    In short, if you put money into LIAT, put the kind of money you would take with you into a casino, because it has to be money you can easily afford to lose. The obtuse, hard headed, contrary politicians are not about to let go of power over LIAT and Gonsalves has already declared in public that LIAT is required to operate at a loss – he is a Marxist, and that is the way he will run the airline whether anyone else likes it or not.

    The big clue, however, is that Barbados is the largest shareholder but has so far done NOTHING to insist that LIAT changes its ways or the way LIAT is operated. PM Stuart is known for his inaction and refusal to make decisions – he is a lawyer and operates 100% on the legal principle of TORT. If the largest shareholder is doing nothing to save their own money but is holding out the cup for contributions, what does that say for the future of the company??

    So, if you should so unwisely become an investor/shareholder in LIAT, expect your money to drain away before your very eyes – and I can guarantee that the same politicians begging and threatening everyone now will be back for more.

    Because remember, if you are an investor/shareholder then without the necessary CHANGE you logically must share in paying for the inevitable continued losses – or see your shareholding percentage wither and die as the others pick up your slack with taxpayer dollars.

    As an added dis-incentive, you are advised that LIAT has not published a single annual audited accounts for more than 40 years for their taxpayer owners to examine – and those who ask are told that is none of their business. I can’t prove anything, but the level of “trough siphoning” over four decades of the heavy losses experienced by the airline must have been tremendous – and now they want to continue to be able siphon at will with additional contributions from private investors and NO changes at the airline.

    Since all current LIAT shareholders refuse to make changes so that the airline can break even or make a profit, my suggestion is that you leave the losses to the taxpayers and their eventual revolt or the airline’s closure – one or the other is inevitable – and keep YOUR money safe.

    Until politics are removed entirely and _MAJOR_MAJOR_MAJOR_ changes are made to the entire oversight and management of LIAT, the airline’s financial investment status should be seen as “Black Hole” (twelve grave-depths lower than “Junk”) – you and your money are advised not to get anywhere near it.

    In fact, don’t even ask a question… you may get sucked into the yawning chasm without even knowing it, and such will be the untimely end of your investment career.


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