LIAT hints at layoffs in efforts to operate “smaller airline in 2015”

ATR-LIAT-72-600ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Thursday October 30, 2014, CMC – The cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, Wednesday hinted at the possibility of layoffs in the coming months as it seeks to develop a “smaller airline in 2015”.

The airline, which is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados, said it is about to embark on its annual budget planning exercise and to put in place its operational plans for 2015.

“As a result of the airline’s fleet transition programme, LIAT will be a smaller airline in 2015 than in 2014, operating a fleet of nine aircraft as opposed to 11 in 2014,” it said.

The chief executive officer of the Antigua-based airline, David Evans said like any responsible business “we have to examine our cost base and if we fly fewer aircraft in 2015 than in 2014, we also need to reduce our costs to reflect this.

“We have also been mandated by our Board of Directors to ensure that our costs reflect the level of activity that we carry out.”

But he acknowledged “it is too early to say what impact there may be on jobs as a result of this, and the company will consult with its staff and their representatives over its plans before making any announcement”.

Earlier this year, LIAT, said it would take “decisive action” to deal with unprofitable routes as it seeks to make its operations financially variable.

“We have been trying, before going the harsh route, to persuade people to invest. We have met with a number of governments and Prime Ministers… we have expressed to them that we will have no other option but to cut the service,” LIAT chairman Jean Holder said then.

Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)