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Updated on July 5, 2020 10:46 pm
Updated on July 5, 2020 10:46 pm
Updated on July 5, 2020 10:46 pm

Antigua Union Says Mismanagement The Main Reason For LIAT’s Woes

The Antigua & Barbuda Workers Union (ABWU) has blamed mismanagement over the years for the problems facing the regional airline LIAT, according to media reports.

ABWU General Secretary, David Massiah, was quoted as saying that mismanagement is the main cause of LIAT’s problems.

Antigua Observer reported that Massiah told a news conference this week that  LIAT has failed to take the issue of mismanagement seriously, even when repeatedly brought to its attention by the union.

Providing examples of the mismanagement to which he referred, Massiah suggested LIAT had unnecessarily allowed itself to become the subject of legal proceedings which it had lost, resulting in huge financial awards against the airline, thus causing further increases to its debt load, the newspaper said.

The ABWU official is reported to have  referred to a fire several years ago which destroyed LIAT’s maintenance hangar in Antigua and the loss of a plane that was inside the facility for servicing at the time.

He said the ABWU had recommended firing the person in charge for not electronically backing up files and records, but LIAT simply dismissed the union.

According to Massiah, another concern the union brought to LIAT’s attention concerns the airline’s route rights and its persistent shortage of aircraft.

He said while the ABWU is “all about saving LIAT,” a practical and sensible blueprint or template must be presented before any effective measures can be taken to alleviate the airline’s plight, it was reported.

LIAT has been plagued by financial difficulties and industrial unrest for many years across the numerous Caribbean territories in which it operates.


  1. Reports continue to indicate that LIAT has and continues to be way overstaffed particularly in Antigua. This is one of the major reason for the continuing losses and why a restructuring plan is so badly needed.

  2. On the subject of destinations “paying their fair share”, Caribbean Airlines serves our islands without multiple ownership or destination governments “paying their fair share”, WinAir serves our islands without multiple ownership or destination governments “paying their fair share”, interCaribbean now serves our islands without multiple ownership or destination governments “paying their fair share” – as do multiple other “regional” AND international airlines.

    How is it, then, that the supposedly intelligent eastern Caribbean political owners of LIAT are unable to wrap their supposedly intelligent minds around the concept of applying cost of operation to tickets, non-owner destination governments paying seat subsidies (AS THEY DO TO FOREIGN AIRLINES), and even doing the right things to transform the airline into a commercial operation which DOES NOT REQUIRE SUBVENTIONS?

    LIAT’s problems are nothing new, and over the decades the ever-changing faces of the owner politicians have had the same advice repeated from scores of stakeholders and aviation professionals (including Lufthansa), yet here we are with the political non-aviation non-airline talking heads in Barbados still just making it up as they go along.

    If majority shareholder Barbados is going to make changes, they should do so with professional advice, and not continue to waste everyone’s time and taxes playing irrelevant political games.

    It is NOT necessary for ALL destination countries to invest and waste their taxpayer money in this failed airline model. Commercialise the airline, pull the politics and politicians completely out of it – AS HAS BEEN DONE AT WINAIR – impose reasonable fares, charge the losing destinations seat subsidies where necessary, and stop the decades-old utter amateur stupidity.

    The REAL problem is POLITICS, in politicians who believe that becoming elected dictators somehow endows them with knowledge and qualifications far surpassing every expert under the sun. Pull THAT dark matter out of LIAT’s backside and allow the professional light to shine on LIAT, and you WILL see an airline which expands beyond your wildest dreams. But as long as these dead weight sea anchors insist on dragging LIAT low in the water there will never be progress.

    So I suggest a new LIAT motto for the second millennium – “Backwards ever, forwards never.”

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