Lodge Hill, St. Michael July 21, 2020 (Barbados Today): Caribbean News Service (CNS) LIAT’s major shareholders have reached an agreement, which Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said could see the airline flying again “in 60 to 90 days.”
The shareholder, which also includes the governments of Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica, met virtually late on Monday for Browne to present a plan to reorganize the cash-strapped LIAT.
He said, “The meeting went very well, the tone of the meeting was very respectful, the interventions were heard and we came to the consensus that we should sell the three planes that are owned by LIAT and charged to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)”.
He continued, “What that will do, that will help to literally eliminate the debt from LIAT’s books for those planes, and, in addition, the proceeds will be utilized to pay down the loan, even though there would be a residual value. The governments will continue to make payment on the residual value after the proceeds of the planes are applied to the loans at the Caribbean Development Bank,” Browne explained.
The Antiguan leader said there are a number of LIAT-related loans with the CDB.
He said, “There’s a re-fleeting loan and you also would have had a number of additional loans that were extended to the governments in order to support LIAT over the years. So, if you were to aggregate all of them, after the aircraft would have been sold and the proceeds applied, I believe there will be a shortfall of about US$45 million, which will be shared proportionally by the shareholder governments and obviously we will have to service those loans until they are retired”.
Prime Minister Browne said his colleague prime ministers must be congratulated for this very important step towards saving the LIAT brand.