LIAT losses report due soon
Wed, June 13, 2012 - 1:45 PM
BRIDGETOWN, Jun 13, CMC – A report on the extent of damage and loss caused by Sunday night’s devastating fire at LIAT headquarters in Antigua should be on the desk of its acting CEO, Brian Challenger, by the end of the week, he told the Caribbean Media Corporation Tuesday night.
“We are hoping that within a day or two we will have findings,” Challenger said in a telephone interview, as investigators continued combing through the rubble of the fire late Sunday and early Monday that destroyed LIAT’s oldest plane and gutted a hangar and adjacent offices at its headquarters at VC Bird International Airport.
Challenger stayed clear of commenting on any suspicions of sabotage, telling CMC, “It’s yet too early for us to come to any sort of conclusion so that we will wait the professional assessment and then we will be in a better position to respond in a more definitive way.”
Loss adjusters were on the site Tuesday conducting their assessment. Their visit followed that of the airline’s local and regional loss adjusters a day earlier.
Challenger said while initial data showed significant damage, it was still too early to detail the full extent of the losses. But airline officials have described the loss as ‘catastrophic’ and a ‘major tragedy’, suggesting the losses could run into several million dollars.
“We haven’t had any written word from them (loss adjusters). Just informal exchanges whilst they were working. We do have our internal estimates which I would not want to share at this point of time,”
“It is a very substantial loss. We have lost one of two hangars. It was a very important hangar where we stored vital pieces of equipment. We had a lot of tools stored in there as as well of course there was an aircraft there undergoing maintenance as well.
“I think there are two ways of assessing the extent of the loss, one is the monetary loss and that is relatively easy to compute in the next day or two, most difficult to know is the economic impact in terms of operations,” Challenger told CMC.
But despite the major setback, Challenger, who has already announced that he was stepping down from the job, said LIAT is now maintaining normal operations across its network and is not anticipating any major flight disruptions as a result of the incident.
But he acknowledged that the airline would have to take a second look at its operations in the coming months.
“For now we think that we can cope. There may be just some minor adjustments for the summer, we may have to tinkle with the schedule a bit but that is something we are looking at very actively and by the end of this week I think we will have a better eye.
“The maintenance people are fairly confident that for now they will be able to respond appropriately but as we go into the summer when we have a bit more flights and things are a bit more hectic we will need to review that,” Challenger said, assuring the regional travelling public that LIAT remains a safe carrier.
“We are fully in compliance with all our safety requirements. We met yesterday with the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) we went through all our findings with them, they equally raised any concerns they had and I think at the end of the meeting we were all very pleased there had been no substantive change so LIAT remains safe for all travellers,” he said.
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