Tuesday 30th April, 2019-There is a glimmer of hope for Antigua based airline LIAT, following word from the Kittitian Capital Basseterre that Prime Minister Timothy Harris’ administration will provide the airline with emergency funding.
A statement this afternoon detailed that “At a meeting of the Federal Cabinet on Saturday (April 27th, 2019), the decision was made for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to provide emergency funding support of over EC $1 million to LIAT, the Caribbean airline headquartered in Antigua.”
Coming out of a presentation to the Federal Cabinet, which was made by a three-member delegation from LIAT on March 11th, 2019, an advisory committee led by the Financial Secretary in the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hilary Hazel, was established to review LIAT’s proposals and make recommendations on the way forward.
Along with representation from the Ministry of Finance, the Committee that Cabinet established comprised representatives from the Office of the Prime Minister, the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, the Ministry of Tourism and the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority (SCASPA).
During the March 11th presentation, LIAT’s General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Diane Shurland along with LIAT’s Chief Financial Officer, Rojer Inglis and Chief Commercial Officer, Audra Walker informed the Federal Cabinet that the cash-strapped regional airline required immediate financial assistance from countries that benefit from its operations. The LIAT high-level representatives also proposed for the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to enter into a Minimum Revenue Guarantee (MRG) arrangement with the airline.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis agrees in principle with the idea of participating in an MRG arrangement on the basis of further discussions and negotiations with high-level representatives of LIAT the statement concluded.
The news comes as LIAT’s directors and shareholding governments were getting set this afternoon to convene a meeting on the airline’s future survival.
St. Kitts and Nevis now joins Grenada whose administrations have agreed to financially support the decades old regional carrier.