Sunday, January 17, 2021

Antigua spends $500,000 a month to keep LIAT flying

The Gaston Browne administration is spending a whopping $500,000 a month to keep LIAT flying.

This was revealed by Information Minister Melford Nicholas during Thursday’s post-cabinet press conference.

“It’s running approximately $500,000 a month, so over the next three months we would expect that we are going to be able to up the ante by the time we get to the window where we have identified a suitable partner — the cost may run approximately $4 million to $4.5 million,” Nicholas said.

“But as I’ve indicated, the funds are available and it’s the whole question of managing it effectively and dealing with the other operational challenges that we have with respect to LIAT going forward.”

Following Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, it was announced that a Cabinet sub-committee on LIAT was formed to include three ministers — Robin Yearwood, Molwyn Joseph and Lenox Weston.

The three have been directed to follow LIAT’s progress by meeting with decision-makers and reporting back to Cabinet.

“The resources to keep LIAT flying are being provided solely by Antigua and Barbuda, utilizing resources borrowed more than one year ago for the purpose of re-capitalizing the airline,” according to the Cabinet notes released to the media.

“The closure of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados impacts the movement of people to and from that country, and the connectivity which visa applicants require,” it added.

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