June 23, 2006
LIAT in new Guyana thrust

LIAT, the Caribbean airline, announced on Wednesday that it has appointed H&F Inc. a Guyanese-based firm as its General Sales Agent in Guyana. It, also, now has its own trained customer service agents operating at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.

In addition, LIAT has contracted Secure Innovation and Concepts, an experienced security company with an impeccable track record, as its security agents, and New Timehri Handling Services to provide the ramp handling services.{{more}}

The announcements were made recently by Wilbur Edwards, LIAT’s Director for Network & Sales at a ceremony at le Meridien Pegasus Hotel in Georgetown to launch the new appointments, a press release said. He said New Timehri Handling Services, in addition to satisfying the airline’s criteria set by its Quality Assurance Department, received training and is fully qualified according to LIAT’s standards in dangerous goods, security and aircraft handling.

He said LIAT’s customers can look forward to “real improvements” when the airline introduces its summer schedule on July 1. Previously, LIAT’s interest in Guyana was handled by BWIA and travel agents but Edwards explained that with BWIA currently pursuing its own restructuring plan, it is unable to provide the focus needed in terms of “robust sales; customer service and on time performance.”

And as both airlines go their separate ways in search of profitability and greater efficiencies, he assured that LIAT and BWIA are “inextricably linked by their love and commitment to the region and will always find ways to work together to achieve common objectives”.

The LIAT top official foresees a healthy twinning of the two airlines again in the future. He said the commonality between LIAT and H&F Inc. in terms of longevity, commitment, ethical standards and professionalism, made the latter an easy choice.

Dispelling any notion that the airline did not have the highest regard for travel agents, Edwards alluded to its revolutionary distribution system “Navitaire”, through which one can book and buy on line, and said it has something for everyone. “However, the people of the Caribbean have developed a fondness and a bonding with their travel agents and we have no intention of trying to change that because it’s healthy; it’s a sort of community relationship which you do not want to disturb; you want to see these types of relationships continue to flourish.” Paula Benjamin, Regional Sales Manager, said, “We have taken very bold and daring steps and have ventured into un-chartered waters: all for progress and service to our Caribbean people.”

Touching on the airline’s decision to now operate a low cost model, Benjamin said, “our vision is to empower everyone to be able to fly within the Caribbean…” Chairman of H&F Inc. Mr. Peter Fraser, thanked LIAT for the confidence and trust it has placed in his organization. Also at the function were Mr. Stephen Michael, Sales and Services Manager, Guyana; CARICOM Secretariat and the Guyana Tourism Authority officials along with representatives of the local travel agencies, the release said.