LIAT ‘in a very precarious position’ and in need of need a bailout package

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LIAT’s second largest shareholder government ⁠— Antigua and Barbuda ⁠— is reiterating that the airline’s financial situation is dire and will need help to continue operation post COVID-19.

“I made the point too that LIAT is in a very precarious position and we are going to have to come together to put some form of bailout package in order to ensure the survivability of LIAT,” prime minister Gaston Browne said over the weekend.

“It was bad prior to COVID; It’s even worse now.”

LIAT‘s commercial passenger services have been grounded since March when countries closed their borders to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The carrier said its services will remain suspended until June 30, 2020, due to the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Responding to calls for LIAT to resume services, Browne said the airline would need a lot of people to move because of its poor financial situation.

Additionally, Browne said LIAT cannot resume operations until the countries to which it flies reopen their airports.

“LIAT needs a critical mass of people to move and most of the countries within the region, they are still closed. So, until such time that they open their borders LIAT will not be able to resume services,” Browne said.

“LIAT is just waiting for them to open up so that they can resume their service.”

Meanwhile, LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones said while some territories have announced a reopening date, there are still many protocols to be implemented, such as testing and mandatory quarantine periods, which will allow for the safe movement of passengers.

She said the airline was continuing its planning for the resumption of operations, but she noted that there was still a great deal of uncertainty about the date of reopening of most borders.