ST. JOHN’S, Antigua and Barbuda, May 14, 2020 (CMC) – Antigua and Barbuda-based regional airline, LIAT, announced, today, it is extending the suspension of its passenger services, to May 31, blaming the current border closures and travel restrictions, within the Eastern Caribbean.
LIAT’s Chief Executive Officer, Julie Reifer-Jones, said the cash-strapped airline continues to monitor the efforts to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and that the further extension is necessary, at this time.
“While there are ongoing discussions about the reopening of borders, no firm date has been set to facilitate regional travel, as yet,” she said, noting that this essentially meant that passengers were unable to travel, across the LIAT network of 15 destinations.
LIAT, whose major shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said passengers booked, during the extended period of suspension, will automatically have their bookings cancelled and will receive full-credit for future travel.
It added that passengers will be able to rebook, as soon as the airline announces the resumption of passenger services.
Reifer-Jones also sought to reassure the public that the airline was putting plans in place, to resume operations, as soon as there was a clear timeline, by territories, for the reopening of their borders.
“We have been working with our stakeholders to develop a plan for resuming flights, when this is possible,” she disclosed, adding that the airline has in place, strict cleaning protocols for its aircraft, to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and staff.
LIAT acknowledged that the situation is an extremely difficult time for its employees and other stakeholders across the region, and CEO Reifer-Jones said that while the airline is operating with a skeletal staff, it continues to offer charter and cargo services.