If LIAT drops Trinidad and Tobago from its schedule of routes, state-owned Caribbean Airlines will “pick up the slack.”
So said Finance Minister Colm Imbert in response to a warning a few days ago from St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonzalves that LIAT could discontinue its service to Trinidad and Tobago.
The cash-strapped LIAT is currently seeking an injection of US$5.4 million to help keep it in the sky and has gone to the countries served by the carrier for assistance.
So far, only Grenada has responded positively to a minimum revenue guarantee (MRG) proposal for funding from individual countries to ensure LIAT continues to fly to their destinations.
Imbert said Government has no intention of getting back into LIAT — at least not for now.
“The Government of Trinidad and Tobago got out of LIAT a long time ago.
“We are not shareholders. We have not been asked to get back into LIAT and we have no plan at this point in time to get back in LIAT,” he said at a news conference in Port-of-Spain.
“Caribbean Airlines has enough capacity and if there is a problem and LIAT finds itself unable to afford to fly to Trinidad then Caribbean Airlines will pick up the slack.”
LIAT currently services T&T with 53 outgoing flights a week to Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said LIAT had been flying uneconomic routes that were heavily subsidised and could face a shutdown.
He also acknowledged that T&T had a one per cent share in the airline, so its failure could negatively impact the country.