Upgrading LIAT’s aircrafts should result in reduced maintenance and fuel expenses; in turn passengers could benefit from affordable airfares.
So says Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Richard Sealy.?? He was speaking yesterday at a welcome ceremony held for the arrival of LIAT (1974) Ltd.’s new ATR-72-600 aircraft at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
Stating that high fuel and maintenance costs associated with LIAT’s aging fleet of planes, cost approximately US$40 million last year, Mr. Sealy said: “[LIAT] must cut costs to survive… if it is to stay in business, and it has to stay in business, and [it has to] of course, cut its costs and pass those savings onto its customers in the form of lower fares.”
Furthermore, he indicated: “A new fleet will mean more a comfortable seat, better facilities and a quieter ride.?? With better and more efficient equipment a start can be made.”
However, the Minister called on LIAT’s staff to play their part: “Every member of staff must understand the sacrifices being made to acquire the new fleet and must up his or her game to serve the customer who employs us all,” he said.
The International Transport Minister urged the public to think of the potential the airline had in fulfilling travellers’ expectations and its ability to “diversify our markets and bring prosperity to the people of the region”.
Chief Executive Officer of LIAT, Captain Ian Brunton, said the new aircraft was a game changer and called for full participation in delivering an improved service.
“Unfortunately, the game won’t change unless we change,” he noted.
“Everyone has to raise their game and it starts with our every stakeholder, from shareholder to board of management, to internal customers, to external customers… we must treat things differently.?? And, if we do, and we live up to the high performance of this aircraft and the high product offering it has, I think LIAT will soar and get into… self-sustainability very quickly, he said.