The newly appointed CEO of regional airline LIAT arrived in Antigua from the United Kingdom on Sunday with a promise to listen to staff to determine how to improve the regional carrier.
“The years I have spent in the airline business have taught me that there is no monopoly of wisdom in the CEO’s office,” the new CEO, David Evans, said.
He underscored the value of listening to staff who were “those closest to the customers and who have the best insight into what the customers want”.
Evans was responsible for the Caribbean when he was area manager for British Airways.
He announced plans to begin his duties by listening to the shareholders, staff, the customers and LIAT stakeholders “who definitely know the airline much better than I do”.
Leveraging his experience working in 14 countries and over four continents, Evans stressed that communication will be central to LIAT, both internally with his staff and externally with the traveling public, but added he will be staying true to the mantra of “keeping it simple” and avoid over complicating messages.
The new CEO believes taking good care of customers is the basis of success and declared the airline’s service will be a key differentiator because “it is people who deliver service not airplanes and engines”.
Evans served a number of airlines in several regions and is convinced of the importance of positioning LIAT as the airline “of the Caribbean and for the Caribbean”.
Regarding LIAT’s refleeting process, Evans said the new ATR aircraft represent a major opportunity to enhance the in-flight experience, and LIAT’s route network makes it a very attractive partner to international carriers.
“I will focus on what we do well, and what we can do better,” he said, indicating that putting in place some small wins to improve performance while laying down longer term plans will be part and parcel of his approach.
Evans is a results driven executive with more than 35 years of experience in senior roles within the aviation industry. He speaks Spanish, French, German and Mandarin Chinese, and holds an Master of Business Administration from Lancaster University and Combined Honours in Modern Languages from Wadham College, Oxford University, England.
He assumes the chief executive responsibilities from Julie Reifer-Jones, who has been acting CEO since the resignation of Ian Brunton in September 2013.
Nobody can rescue this dead horse.
Airlines owned by one government were bad enough and, thank God, have slowly but surely been consigned to the dustbin of history.
An airline owned by four governments is like a hospital patient with four kinds of terminal cancer.
As I and many others on this site and elsewhere have said over and over, the horse is dead: dismount!
Mr Evans may well be the right choice as new CEO. It appears he is in the twilight of his career & will not be looking to making the easy choices that would appeal to his next prospective employer. Therefore, he may well be able to make the tough, unpopular decisions (as far as the shareholding governments are concerned) that will result in an efficient airline using modern, proven management, employment & financial practices that will result in customers actually receiving the service they are paying for.
Welcome Mr Evans, hopefully it’s not short lived. You are coming at a very crucial time in the life of a fleeting ( no pun intended ) industry. Customers and passengers alike are wary of the treatment meted to them. So here’s where you start: Apply CPR by re-training your staff, especially in customer relations; and have announcements of cancellation and delays done in real time. Sir, if you are a certified Instructor, then hopefully mouth-to-mouth resuscitation may work, and our dying airline may be saved. Otherwise not even embalming would be able to preserve it’s caucus.
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