LIAT may cut flights

CAROL MARTINDALE, carolmartindale@nationnews.com

Added 13 October 2012

ianbruntonliatceocorrect

BASSETERRE St. Kitts  – The cash strapped regional airline, LIAT has served notice that it could drop flights to some Caribbean destinations as it calls for governments to get on board and invest. LIAT has announced that it will be changing its flight plan and Caribbean destinations that benefit from the carrier's services but fail to provide any financial assistance- may now have to come to the table. The airline is considering reducing some eighteen flights to more than eight destinations. LIAT's new Chief Executive Officer, Ian Brunton says the airline is positioning itself to become a viable entity but it needs the support of government. According to Brunton, he is on a mission to make the airline profitable and as a result flights to at least eight destinations will be axed. “To those countries we say we are not cutting you off, what we are doing is that we are coming to you to ask you – if you want us to continue to provide the kind of service, we have to make it -if not profitable at least we need to break even. So we are telling those countries that if you want us to grow with you  - you have to help us” He said that LIAT is not doing well financially at the moment and over the last four years the airline has recorded a slump in the demand for regional travel and the time has come for renewed focus. “LIAT has challenges, it needs a total fleet renewal, because the present fleet is over twenty years old. Those are the good old ladies that have been working very hard,… it is about time to change them  because the disruption cost, the fact that they don’t provide the kind of service in LIATS new dispensation” Recently LIAT has reduced the schedule of flights to Grenada with some observers in the aviation sector accusing the airline of pulling back on flights because of the frequency of industrial action by some workers. But Burton says this is far from the truth . “Only to the extent that we believe that there’s a slowing in demand which is a spike in Grenada. Grenada has been particularly bad and we believe it may be due to the lack of confidence, there have been too many wild cat industrial actions… therefore the customer base has lost confidence in Grenada and we need to grow that back   so I just hope that the industrial action will stop …” he said. (CMC)

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