By Clive Bacchus
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The heavily indebted regional airline LIAT, once described as an air bridge for the Caribbean, is set to resume commercial flights on November 1, Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence Day.
The first commercial flight next month is from Antigua and Barbuda to Dominica.
The Antigua and Barbuda Observer newspaper reports that LIAT’s Administrator Cleveland Seaforth made the announcement after a meeting with Cabinet.
According to the newspaper, LIAT is expected to offer regular flights from November 8, five days a week, to a limited number of destinations.
LIAT, now under the purview of an Administrator owes its staff close to EC$94 million in severance and holiday pay it was announced in June this year.
Then chairman of LIAT, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves reported that the airline was in deep financial trouble since 2017, lost EC$14 million in 2019. Since COVID struck, the airline reported a loss of EC $35 million as of June 2020.
LIAT had at the time of restructuring in June, reportedly had 10 aircraft in its fleet- five 48-seater ATR 42-600s and five 68-seater ATR 72-600s.
The airline has since laid off 564 workers, retaining reportedly 103.
Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet spokesman Melford Nichols according to a report in the Antigua and Observer newspaper said the Administrator would have to get approval from the court to scale down LIAT operations.
In other airline news, Virgin Atlantic is scheduled to resume flights to Antigua on Monday. Two weekly 787-9 flights are planned according to a press release from that airline.