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Saint Lucian Pilot Says LIAT Liquidation Talk No surprise

Saint Lucian pilot Silvanus Ernest says talk of the liquidation of the regional airline LIAT come as no surprise.

“It was just a matter of time,” Ernest told St Lucia Times.

“Even if they come up with a new airline there will be the same sort of problems until the governments take their hands out of it,” the founder of the now defunct General Aviation Services asserted.

He said it was time to keep politics out of Caribbean aviation.

“The governments – that’s the problem. They are the ones that have been controlling LIAT,” Ernest told St Lucia Times.

He said that politics is controlling aviation.

“Take politics out of aviation and aviation will prosper,” he declared.

According to Ernest, both LIAT and the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) needed to be fixed.

Ernest said he agreed with suggestions that Saint Lucia should leave ECCAA.

He noted that every airport under the authority has been downgraded.

Ernest, who is also an aircraft mechanic, recalled  that he had plans to start a mechanic school and a flight school here.

But he told St Lucia Times that ECCAA had its hands at his throat.

“At the end of it the government of Saint Lucia  did not see the need to come in and take ECCAA’s hands from my throat, so we ended up with no flight school here, no mechanic school,” Ernest lamented.

He accused ECCAA of being the first to try to derail his efforts to start his school.

Ernest said the school went down the drain because it took him over a year before the government gave him a permit.

“Plus I had rent up to my head,” he stated, noting that he had planes sitting at the airport.

Ernest said he had to pay the Saint Lucia Air and Seaports Authority for rent and he had no way of operating the school so he had no cash for that.

In terms of the flying school, he said many students were “lining up” to attend.

“All we were waiting for was a permit and it took the government a year and two months,” Ernest said.

He expressed the view that the authorities should have seen how his endeavours would have been good for the airports and Saint Lucia on the whole.

In May last year, Ernest has warned in an interview with St Lucia Times that it was only a matter of time before LIAT would collapse.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The Politricktians in Antigua Were the First to Commence the Destruction of Liat Monies for years upon years and it Continued Down the Line .Now Liat has no Money to pay its workers

  2. i think safety concerns are paramount with a flight school. standars for aircrafts ect.. exist for very good reasons. so not sure of his point really.

  3. trollop,..i am an aircraft mechanic and have worked locally and thought out the region for the past fifteen years,…please stay in your lane,..you have no idea what you are talking about.
    Mr Ernest is absolutely correct, his point is there are airworthiness legislation’s and there is politics, two totally different things.
    ANY ONE can open a flight school as long the school meets the ECCAA requirements.
    now politics can prevent you from opening a school, governments and the powers that be (Antigua) can make life extremely difficult for you, just because!

  4. LIAT is an unfortunate entity in which everyone in power seem to have forgotten its role. Many talk about Caribbean Integration – even up to the Heads of Government – but they all fail as usual to commit to the goal.

    Quick points:

    It is said that LIAT lost EC$12 million in 2019. Losing EC $12 million annually to keep LIAT afloat is worth it if the governments concerned are serious about Caribbean integration. Aircraft are the glue that keeps us together. Many other countries the world over spend billions supporting such ventures because they assess the main goal as worth the sacrifice. And that does not even take into account its value for business integration and tourism. Many more multiples of EC$12 million are lost in these islands every year from government coffers from inefficiencies and corruption.

    Again it is also said that individual country taxes on airline tickets are the main problem with the cost of flights therefore demand is cut and therefore obviously LIAT has less revenue. Again isn’t that not an issue with heads of government and their priorities. Can we not have less taxes on intra regional travel? Imagine if we could get a flight from one island to the next for $200 instead of for example $450 ? Simple common business sense would dictate an increase in demand and more revenue for LIAT.

    I do not have a clue about the efficiency of LIAT’s operations but you occasionally get the vibe that there is inefficiency and poor management. Yes or No? Obviously this is solvable.

    To cut a long story short – inter regional travel is a problem that can be solved but as usual our leaders have dropped the ball as they have with just about everything else.

    • Tell them about their own corruption across the Caribbean. I swear these black men have a problem. look at the state of africa with corruption 2.

  5. Whatever the opinion it just seems when somebody tries to work hard and succeed in specialised fields here, then the government interferes …. if they can’t have a finger in the pie, then nobody else can. They want the cream for themselves and everyone else can have the skimmed milk!!

  6. They are not BUSINESS MINDED, but the moment they hear MONEY, they’re involve, and MESSING UP THINGS. Get out now, so “LIAT CAN STRIVE. idiots

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