August 6, 2020

CAL ready to pick up slack if LIAT goes

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.

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