Antigua & Barbuda government and a private company have signed a memorandum of understanding paving the way for a new regional airline.
CTG Chair Ma Chao and Antigua’s Works and Finance Minister Lennox Weston signed the agreement on September 30th to facilitate LIAT International, a new airline that will deploy a fleet of various types and sizes of aircraft.
According to the MOU, LIAT will expand its traditional intra-regional routes to include international travel to South America and Europe, as well as create a channel for visitors from Asia, using Antigua & Barbuda as a gateway.
Frankfurt, Germany to Antigua is one of the planned routes. An Antigua & Barbuda visa-waiver agreement is currently in the works between China and Antigua & Barbuda, which could serve as a connector for visitors from China. In this way, Chinese citizens wishing to travel to Antigua and the rest of the region would no longer face significant administrative barriers.
As a result of the recently-signed MOU, the Antiguan government intends to restructure LIAT under a new commercial entity, thus restoring the Caribbean’s most robust commercial air travel network. Following the Covid-19 pandemic, Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced the liquidation of LIAT 1974 limited in late June 2020.
Despite the Antigua & Barbuda government’s pledge to revive LIAT, the fate of the hundreds of workers who lost their jobs after the original carrier collapsed remains uncertain.