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Caribbean Aviation

Grenada’s prime minister expresses his concern over LIAT

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Linda Straker  Jan 14, 2008

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada (eTN) - Prime Minister Keith Mitchell told LIAT’s CEO on Thursday that he is committed to the success and survival of the airline but had serious concerns about the way the service is being operated.

During a meeting at his office in Grenada, Prime Minister Mitchell told LIAT CEO Mark Darby that the current monopoly arrangement which LIAT enjoys was not necessarily working in the best interest of the traveling public.

According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, Mitchell identified the unavailability of flights, the unreliability of services and the sharp increase in fares as the main problems passengers were facing. He told the CEO of LIAT that Grenada was being badly affected by this problem and recounted tourism figures, which showed a significant decline in intra-regional travel to Grenada in the last year.

“I have consistently raised this point with my colleagues at the Heads of Government Meetings. If we are serious about integration we have to provide a cheaper and more reliable means for our people to travel the region,” Prime Minister Mitchell remarked.

He said that people across the region were suffering and were being placed under severe stress because of the rigors and hardships they faced while traveling with LIAT. He related stories told to him by vendors and traffickers, small business persons, and sports men and women in Grenada after having to spend countless hours stranded in Barbados or Trinidad with no arrangements made for accommodation.

According to the statement, Prime Minister Mitchell gave the government’s commitment to assist in making LIAT more reliable and is prepared to invest in LIAT once assurances could be given of improved service. “We are prepared to work with LIAT in finding a solution. I am sure that if we can make flights cheaper and more available between Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago and others, this will greatly ease some of the burden our people are experiencing,” he said.

In response, according to the statement, Mr. Darby told the prime minister that several factors including higher oil prices had caused the increase in air fares and the airline was working on outlining a plan to improve its service. “This decline Prime Minister Mitchell noted was coupled with a 200 percent increase in airfares in the corresponding period,” Dr. Mitchell said, while pointing out that LIAT’s poor service was having a negative effect on the regional integration movement.

The prime minister ended the meeting by asking Mr. Darby and Tourism Minister Claris Modeste-Curwen to look at options and solutions that could improve the service to Grenada.

Grenada’s prime minister expresses his concern over LIAT
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