August 23, 2011
PM Gonsalves to attend LIAT shareholders’ meeting

Today, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves will attend a LIAT shareholders’ meeting in Barbados – accompanied by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Air Transport Godfrey Pompey.{{more}}

The meeting will also be attended by representatives of the governments of Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, the other two shareholders in the regional airline.

The meeting is expected to hear reports fom the airline’s Chairman Dr Jean Holder and Chief Executive Officer Brian Challenger.

The Prime Minister also said that the meeting will address several of the issues facing LIAT at present, including competition to the airline, financing, fleet renewal and fleet expansion.

Gonsalves also took the opportunity to comment on the complaints he has heard and read concerning the operation of regional budget airline RED jet.

“RED jet has not asked to come to St. Vincent… the airport which we have, they are not going to be able to take off – given the size of the plane – with more than 50 – 60 per cent of their payload,” he explained.

According to the Prime Minister, the company’s aircraft would have to to take off into the mountains, because wind direction at the normal take-off point would be against them.

However, clearance to take off into the mountains would not be

issued by the relevant authorities because RED jet’s aircraft are passenger planes.

The only aircraft currently allowed to take off in that direction is Ameri-jet, which has clearance to do so because it is a cargo plane.

“That’s the reality,” commented Gonsalves.

“I’m not afraid of competition to LIAT… but the competition must be fair!”