Yet another African airline is being courted to invest in LIAT (1974) Ltd., the Caribbean airline.
First, it was Antigua Airways, which – after a reported single charter flight that brought scores of West Africans here – is now virtually defunct, according to its champion, Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
Now, efforts are being made to engage Air Peace – considered the flag carrier and largest airline of Nigeria and West Africa – and have it invest in the regional carrier, which has been operating on a limited schedule since 2020.
Air Peace is a privately run airline founded in 2013 with its head office in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.
Reports say the “development commissioner” recently traveled to Nigeria to meet with Air Peace’s chief executive officer, and he was invited to Cabinet on May 10 to share his findings on the airline’s likely investment in LIAT.
The outcome of the trip and the commissioner’s findings were not published, however.
Earlier, the Government had said that, for more than five years, CARICOM had agreed to attempt an air bridge between Africa and the Caribbean.
The Cabinet then indicated that an agreement with Air Peace had been close to completion, except for the Air Operator’s Certificate – which was not issued, compelling the African airline to fly first to Jamaica, rather than to Antigua, last year.
Some people say they are skeptical about this venture with Air Peace; but they are waiting to see what develops, since this airline is established and not a fly-by-night as Antigua Airways reportedly was.
Meanwhile, discussions reportedly are continuing, as the Browne Administration looks for new partners to turn LIAT into a profitable company that provides connectivity through the Eastern Caribbean.
The Government says the absence of a full-service LIAT has caused regional travel to be erratic and insufficient and the airline is “sorely missed.”