KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says regional airline LIAT — of which St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a major shareholder — suffered “tremendous loss” in the fire at its Antigua base Sunday night.
Gonsalves’ comments came even as he announced Monday that Dominica has said that it will invest in the airline, which has been plagued by cash flow problems.
LIAT spokesperson Desmond Brown has told the media that the airline lost a hangar, an aircraft, and two office blocks in the blaze, which started after 10 p.m. Sunday at the V.C. Bird International Airport in Antigua.
“This is a tremendous loss – very costly. We will have to get the full dollar value very shortly from the Chief executive Officer but we have been in meetings here at the OECS,” Gonsalves told the state-owned National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) on the side lines of the 55th Meeting of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Authority here.
“On the positive side, this morning Prime Minister [Roosevelt] Skeritt [of Dominica] and I was speaking and this has prompted him to basically fulfil his promise that Dominica is coming aboard,” he told NBC on Monday.
Gonsalves had announced in January that Roseau was considering joining Kingstown, St. John’s, and Bridgetown as equity partners in the airline.
Meanwhile Brown, in an update Monday evening, said investigations said investigations were continuing into the blaze but data compiled so far showed “significant losses” and promised a further update Tuesday morning.
“The losses are related to one of the Company’s Dash 8–300 aircraft (V2 LGH), a hangar and two office buildings which were all destroyed during the fire,” Brown said, adding that the airline maintained normal operations throughout its network on Monday.