LIAT CEO resigns
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Swept 16, CMC – The board of directors of the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, is expected to make a ”formal announcement” on Wednesday regarding the sudden resignation of the airline’s chief executive officer, Captain Ian Brunton, the carrier’s spokesman said Monday.
“The chief executive officer has tendered his resignation. The board of directors will issue a formal statement on Wednesday,” Head of Corporate Communications at the Antigua-based airline, Desmond Brown, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
Brown would not elaborate on the reasons behind Brunton’s sudden resignation.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who is chair of the shareholder governments of the airline, also confirmed that Brunton, who took up the appointment on August 1 last year, had decided to step down.
Gonsalves, speaking on a local radio programme here, said that while he has not spoken to the outgoing chief executive, could not say whether the other shareholder governments would accept the resignation.
The major shareholder governments of the airline are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica.
“If for whatever reason he wants to go we will get someone else…it’s not always easy to get somebody to fill those kinds of positions because a lot of people talk but it’s a very critical job,” Gonsalves said.
Trinidad-born Brunton, a former chief executive of Trinidad and Tobago’s state-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) is spearheading LIAT’s 100-million-US-dollar re-fleeting exercise.
Last month, LIAT signed a US$65 million loan with the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to finance the purchase of new, French-made ATR aircraft. The fleet modernisation project involves the replacement of LIAT’s aging fleet of Canadian-made Bombadier Q400s and deHavilland Dash-8 planes with ATRs, through a combination of lease and purchase of aircraft; the transition costs associated with the changeover; the upgrade of maintenance facilities and other institutional strengthening activities.
LIAT, which flies to 21 destinations in the Caribbean, said reliable and efficient air transport is essential for connectivity, mobility and accessibility within the region, and for some islands, LIAT provides the only air links with the rest of the region.