ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday May 10, 2019 – Antigua and Barbuda has formally indicated its interest in purchasing the shares of LIAT that are currently owned by the airline’s largest shareholder government.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Antigua Observer that his government submitted a document indicating its expression of interest to authorities in Barbados on Tuesday. And it’s expecting a favourable response.
“We are looking towards the sustainability and viability of LIAT. We now have to await a response from Barbados and then we will develop an action plan on the way forward,” he told the newspaper.
Browne had expressed his government’s intention to purchase Barbados’ shares in the Antigua-based airline at last month’s meeting of shareholder governments at which he also presented a proposal to keep the cash-strapped airline from going under.
Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley was not at the meeting, but the country’s representative indicated he would raise the issue with her on his return.
The Antigua move also comes on the heels of Grenada becoming the fifth shareholder government of the regional carrier.
Minister of Trade, Industry and CARICOM Affairs Oliver Joseph made the announcement last week, explaining that Grenada would provide funding under a Minimum Revenue Guarantee (MRG) framework – which the shareholders have been pushing for from islands that benefit from LIAT’s service. Under the MRG model, governments would pay a minimum guaranteed amount to LIAT if passenger numbers on flights fell short.