ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Friday January 24, 2014, CMC – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it will continue to support the cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, and that it would also provide five million US dollars towards the construction of a new hanger facility for the company.
Finance Minister Harold Lovell, delivering the EC$874.8 million tax free budget to Parliament on Thursday, said that the Baldwin Spencer government would also be putting in four million US dollars in acquiring new equity in the airline that employs more than 500 nationals.
The airline, whose major shareholders are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has been experiencing severe financial problems over the past few years and has obtained a multi-million dollar loan from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to help in its re-fleeting exercise.
Lovell said that Antigua and Barbuda’s share of the loan is US$21 million and promised “we will continue our unwavering support” for the Antigua-based airline.
He said the government has also agreed to “an extensive refurbishment of the site to ensure that new LIAT headquarters are modern”
Government said the airline would occupy the old airport terminal building as soon as the new one funded by the Chinese government is completed.
“We are thankful that even with the struggles that the region has experienced throughout the economic crisis, LIAT shareholder governments continued to rally around the Caribbean airline,” Lovell told legislators. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)