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LIAT achieves Air Operator’s Certificate

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Antigua’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has announced the acquisition of an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) for the newly restructured LIAT 2020, signaling a significant step towards the airline’s return to Caribbean skies. 

However, the joyous update comes with a pressing challenge as delays from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) continue to impede progress.

Financial partnerships and investments

In a transformative partnership, LIAT 2020 has joined forces with Air Peace, a Nigerian airline established in 2013. 

The collaboration sees Air Peace committing approximately $65 million, complemented by a $20 million investment from the government. 

These funds are essential for LIAT 2020’s operational restart and fleet acquisition.

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Administrative hurdles in plane acquisition

Despite the optimistic developments, a major snag has arisen due to prolonged administrative processes at the CDB.

The bank’s slow pace in vetting the sales agreement for the aircraft previously owned by LIAT has frustrated efforts to finalize the purchase. 

Earlier, the government of Antigua and Barbuda deposited $12.1 million into an escrow account to secure three aircraft from the CDB, aiming to rejuvenate the fleet of the defunct inter-regional carrier.

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Calls for expediency from CDB

Expressing his discontent publicly, Prime Minister Browne highlighted the excessive duration taken by the CDB to review the amended sales agreement. 

The situation has prompted several direct appeals to Issac Solomon, acting president of the CDB, seeking a hastier resolution to avoid further delays. 

The government’s commitment is further evidenced by a leasing arrangement for an additional aircraft and a separate maintenance contract costing nearly $200,000 monthly.

Future outlook for LIAT 2020

As LIAT 2020 prepares to resume its role in connecting Caribbean nations, the finalization of these aircraft acquisitions is critical. 

The partnership with Air Peace is expected to enhance both intra-regional and extra-regional travel, facilitating the movement of people and cargo across the islands. 

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