(Antigua newsroom) – Prime Minister Gaston Browne has called on all stakeholders especially LIAT pilots and their union not to frustrate the restructuring efforts.
Browne told Pointe FM following an emergency meeting of LIAT shareholders that it is imperative that a Caribbean Development Bank report to restructure the airline is implemented immediately.
“In fact, LIAT cannot survive without the efficacious implementation of this plan and let me make it abundantly clear, there is no if or maybe it has to be done.”
Browne said the plan requires a significant amount of sacrifice from the various stakeholders including management.
Among the recommendations is to reduce the remuneration of management and pilots by about ten percent.
LIAT’s 60 million dollar debt will also need to be addressed under the new plan.
Browne told radio listeners that LIAT will be operating on a minimum revenue guarantee scheme which has to be met by destinations where it flies.
“In other words no more free lunches. So all the countries that have routes which are not viable, LIAT must be given a minimum revenue guarantee payable annually.”
According to the prime minister, all the recommendations must be implemented immediately and simultaneously.
He called on the pilots to “understand that LIAT is not in a position to improve their remuneration package at this time.”
Browne said at the recent meeting all stakeholders agreed to cooperate fully “but I am told the pilots are still making additional demands on LIAT.”
The prime minister told pilots to be careful as at least two of the shareholder governments “are not in the mood for any foolishness.”
“So if they think they can frustrate the issue they do not have any leverage at this point.”
He added “if they wish to ensure LIAT’S survivability and to maintain their jobs, they need to cooperate fully..”
Pilots were told that their severance could be at risk if they won’t cooperate.
“I want to tell you the consequences will be dire, a word to the wise is sufficient.”