LIAT, the Antigua-based Caribbean airline, is likely going to be liquidated due to substantial financial losses, according to comments made by the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda.
LIAT would likely be left to collapse, Gaston Browne, the Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda told local media on June 27, 2020. “From all indication, LIAT will be liquidated,” Browne said, adding that the current shareholders might look into creating a new airline instead.
The airline has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, which caused the costs of the already loss-making carrier to grow “exponentially”, the Prime Minister explained. In 2019, the losses totaled at $4.4 million (EC$12 million), which was still “within the means of the shareholder governments to subsidize”. However, the virus-related demand collapse and the mandatory grounding of LIAT’s fleet, coupled with the ongoing costs such as aircraft lease payments, made the matters worse.
LIAT was established in 1956. During its 64 years of operations, the airline found itself on the verge of collapse twice. Following the bankruptcy of its main shareholder, the airline was acquired by the governments of 11 Caribbean nations in 1974. In 1995, the carrier faced the prospect of bankruptcy again and was saved by partial privatization.
Since 2016, LIAT (full name is Leeward Islands Air Transport Services) has operated an all-ATR fleet. As of June 29, it had ten aircraft, five ATR-42 and five ATR-72, the average age of which is 6.3 years, planespotters.net data shows. The vast majority of the aircraft are leased.
AeroTime News has reached out to LIAT for comment but has not yet received a response by the time of publication.