Tension reportedly mounts between LIAT 2020 shareholders as Government’s cash problems keep airline grounded

Local aviation insiders are suggesting that the transfer of assets from LIAT
(1974) Ltd. to LIAT 2020 is not going very well and that the delays in the new
airline’s launch are creating friction.

Since the base of power has shifted, sources tell REAL News, tension has been
building between the heads on account of the “removal” of the interim
chairman, Ambassador Daven Joseph, and the slow pace of announcing his

The current leadership of the new carrier is controlled by the major
shareholder – Air Peace – through its management team. But it is alleged that
the delayed promises of the minor shareholder – the Government of Antigua
and Barbuda – are putting the operation under immense pressure.

The sources claim that the Browne Administration’s shortage of cash has
prevented it from supplying all the needs of the start-up – reportedly while
challenges related to getting money out of Nigeria are sorted out.

This situation continues to be the subject of public discussion, as locals
wonder why the minority shareholder is carrying the lion’s share of the
financial outlay, including the purchase of aircraft from the Caribbean
Development Bank.

Observers have claimed that two other planes – reportedly dispatched here by
Air Peace as part of its commitment – are “old models.”

Meanwhile, inside sources claim that the few assets of the defunct airline “are
not nearly enough” to meet the severance demands of its former staff – some
of whom are expected to man the operations of LIAT 2020.

The sources believe that this matter ought to be sorted first, with the staff
receiving their entitlements, before they interview and negotiate employment
terms with the new carrier.

However, the sources complain, the owners of LIAT 2020 are now calling the
shots, while those who organized the deal and made promises to the ex-
employees are missing in action and making excuses for their failure to

In the meantime, the lift-off date for the new carrier has been shifted to

But as the launch of LIAT 2020 suffers delay after delay, other carriers,
including Caribbean Airlines and smaller regional outfits, have been
developing their routes and increasing the volume of their business travelers.
As a result, insiders are asking whether there will actually be room for LIAT
2020 – “not a Caribbean airline but a Nigerian operation in the Caribbean” – in
the region’s skies.