Region urged to find a solution for LIAT soon
The Central Bank Governor, Cleviston Haynes has described the ongoing financial issues affecting regional airline, LIAT as concerning and has called on governments in the region to come up with solutions quickly.
LIAT suffered a significant number of cancellations in March this year, affecting at least four territories. Further to that, pilots agreed to a less than 10 percent salary cut in a bid to keep the cash-strapped airline alive.
LIAT CEO, Julie Reifer-Jones, in a statement this week, stressed the need for all the territories served by LIAT to contribute through a Minimum Revenue Guarantee Model.
Speaking at the CBB Economic Review, Haynes agreed with the CEO's comments saying the Barbados government cannot continue to inject funds into LIAT as “substantial amounts of funds” have been paid by the current and previous administration over the years.
He said regional governments need to find a “more even approach” for financing to keep the airline in service and ensure it remains economically viable.
Figures from the first quarter review show regional arrivals numbers have dropped significantly, with Trinidad and Tobago registering a ten percent decline and other CARICOM countries fell off by 4.6 percent.
Haynes said it is no secret that high taxes are affecting the ability of CARICOM nationals to move freely across the region.
“The cost of regional travel is acting as a constraint and therefore what we have seen in Barbados is something that is replicated across the region...”
Despite the financial woes, Haynes said he anticipates tourism numbers will not be adversely affected for the summer season.