The air transportation woes affecting the Eastern Caribbean since LIAT’s collapse, will be getting closer attention from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) as the Board of Directors has approved a technical assistance grant to go towards developing interim arrangements to address the crisis.
The CDB will finance consultancy services which will devise urgent provisional measures to re-establish regular air transport services within the sub-region. Options for a permanent solution will be considered in a subsequent intervention.
The support has come in response to a request from the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines for assistance to examine and address airlift capacity challenges.
The consultancy will develop interim solutions to alleviate the current capacity deficit, and define immediate actions required of participating Governments to ensure that regular inter-island air service can be restored with dispatch.
The consultant will also be required to provide project management services, to support the implementation of the agreed solutions.
The void in regional air connectivity has emerged because of the collapse of LIAT, the main intra-island air carrier in the Eastern Caribbean, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent severe curtailment of services.
Currently, LIAT operates 50 flights a week, 90% down from almost 500 flights weekly prior to its demise.
The significantly reduced airlift capacity has stymied the movement of goods, services and people to the detriment of tourism, trade, employment, business activity and social relations.
“The intra-regional movement of people and goods is integral to regional cooperation and integration and CDB has therefore placed high priority on supporting the provision of dependable and cost-effective air transportation within the Region,” the Bank’s Vice President, Operations, Mr Isaac Solomon explained.
“The proposed technical assistance will provide member governments with feasible options for urgent improvement in airlift capacity and make gender responsive and socially inclusive recommendations on the nature and proposed structure of an aviation solution going forward, a costed and fully funded business plan, as well, as staffing considerations for implementation,” he added.
The technical assistance grant was approved by the CDB Board at a meeting which was held on December 9, 2022.
SOURCE: Caribbean Development Bank
The islands are connected by the sea as well. Any hope to address this. Great for cargo and moving people cheaply.
Well done to the various governments. Unlike the @$$wipe whose intention was to kill travel among the islands.
It is HIGH TIME the lesser islands (apart from the northern islands who have and use ferry services constantly) from Dominica down – consider sea travel. SLU only has l’Express des Isles which is limited.
In the first instance, LIAT could HAVE implemented Sea Ferry Services, offering a FULL service of Car Rental and Bed and Breakfast Guest Houses – they would’ve made a mint (carefully crafted, marketed and managed of course). I know it sounds easier said than done – but the travelling public would have lapped that up!! They had more than 25 years to consider this “gold mine”!!
But … who am I? *shrugging shoulders – an “Armchair” dreamer who knows nothing about economics and/or marketing.
@Economist … you are the FLY on my wall!! Great comment. But – will the “great minds” think like us??