LIAT to cut routes, says PM
January 4, 2013

LIAT to cut routes, says PM

Regional airline LIAT should soon begin cutting what the airline’s management has termed as unprofitable or “social” routes.{{more}}

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on Wednesday that he had not yet seen the list of proposed cuts, but the cuts needed to be done.

“Particularly where we have governments who are not putting any money into LIAT, there are a lot of routes which are serviced by LIAT by governments who don’t put one cent into LIAT,” Gonsalves said on Wednesday during a press conference.

He spoke of the then St Lucian government that provided market support to American Eagle which serviced Barbados and St Lucia.

“Mimicking our schedules – they had to come out of the market place because there was just not enough space for them and our 50 seaters and they were travelling 10 minutes of when we were leaving – they thought they could take us out of the air,” Gonsalves said.

He further explained that there were territories across the region where the populations were relatively small and sending a 48 or 50 seater would cause problems, Gonsalves said.

So, a decision was taken for secondary carriers, such as SVG Air for example, to service some of these smaller routes.

“And if a country wants routes, but they want you to bring a 48-seater, but the route only has 20 persons, you pay for it,” the prime minister and chairman of the group of LIAT shareholders said.

One such route which has become unprofitable is Canouan, he said, although this was expected to change with the re-opening of the resort there later this year.

“A route like that would metamorphose into a paying route,” Gonsalves said. (DD)