Gird Your Loins, LIAT Pilots Warned

LIAT Crew and ground staff in Trinidad who operated the first flight.

(WINN): LIAT Management and pilots would have to give up ten per cent of their salaries under a Caribbean Development Bank plan to restructure the airline.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne who says that it is imperative that the proposed CDB Restructuring LIAT plan be implemented immediately, has called on all stakeholders especially LIAT pilots and their union not to frustrate the restructuring efforts.

He called on the pilots to understand that LIAT is not in a position to improve their remuneration package at this time.

Prime Minister Browne said that all stakeholders at an emergency LIAT meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines agreed to cooperate fully, but that he was told that the pilots are still making demands on LIAT.

The Antigua leader has told LIAT pilots to be careful because at least two of the shareholder governments are not in the mood for any foolishness.

The pilots, who continue to call for an independent forensic audit of LIAT, are being told that if they wish to ensure LIAT’s survivability and maintain their jobs, they need to cooperate fully.

According to Browne, LIAT cannot survive without the efficacious implementation of the CDB plan.

Warning that there will be no more free lunches, Browne told Pointe FM radio listeners that LIAT will be operating on a minimum revenue guarantee scheme which has to be met by destinations where the airline flies.

He said the revenue guarantee is expected to be paid annually.

Some critics are insisting that government taxes imposed on LIAT tickets have hurt the regional airline and these taxes should be reduced as part of the LIAT restructuring.

The regional airline’s sixty million dollar debt will also be addressed under the new plan.

Meanwhile over in Barbados, one trade union leader wants the bulk of LIAT’s business be redirected to Bridgetown from Antigua.

Ackanny McDowell of the National Union of Public Workers, arguing that this makes economic sense, added that studies conducted demonstrate that LIAT’s most lucrative market is in the southern belt that includes Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia.