The administrator overseeing the return of air carrier Liat to the region’s skies has underscored the difficulties in doing so.
Cleveland Seaforth explained to Observer media that the major issues concern cash flow.
“When I took over the airlines there was a complete absence of funds and so we had to obtain the funding which we got some of the funding from the government of Antigua. Some of the challenges we’ve faced we’ve had to be dealing with the creditors. Some have been quite understanding and some have not been. We have had to deal with maintaining the coverage for both the facilities here in Antigua and the planes. We get numerous complaints from passengers and we’ve had to procure a number of services in the absence of cash,” Seaforth stated.
Seaforth said the carrier’s current staff complement has not been paid for several months and he thanked them for their service.
The administrator also said Antigua and Barbuda has been the main source of funding thus far with a US $1 million injection coming from the twin island state and the Dominica government pledging to pay their workers at this time.
At present, the carrier employs about 103 individuals but the administrator believes that with the expanding operations, that number would have to be increased by 20 to 30 people.
He said approximately 500 staff have been terminated and those individuals are due their severance by law, but when this would happen is still uncertain.
Meanwhile, Seaforth added that the future of the carrier depends on the entity the government of Antigua and Barbuda partners with.
While the administrator did not identify the prospective investor by name, he said the government of Antigua and Barbuda is willing to be the minority investor, allowing the private entity to manage the airline.