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LIAT’s business plan ‘workable’ – LIALPA boss

Leeward Islands Air Line Pilots' Association
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LIAT’s business plan ‘workable’ – LIALPA boss

Unread post by bimjim » Wed Dec 12, 2012

http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=84954

LIAT’s business plan ‘workable’ – LIALPA boss
Martina Johnson
Wednesday, December 12th, 2012.

ST JOHN’S, Antigua

“Workable,” “realistic,” and “doable” were the choice words of Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) Captain Carl Burke, as he shared his thoughts about LIAT’s new business plan.

The head of the union representing LIAT pilots told OBSERVER Media while his association is yet to do a thorough review of the plan, “it makes sense on the surface.”

“It is looking workable. We are very happy that it has addressed the issue of the fleet. The fleet change would definitely reduce our maintenance cost, which is one of the things at LIAT that has gone out of proportion.

“Once we are able to bring the maintenance cost down, definitely, it will see a positive effect on our profits,” Captain Burke said.

Part of the business plan of the cash-strapped regional carrier is to change its entire fleet, replacing the Dash 8s with ATR 42s (aircraft) and 70-seaters.

Projections are that LIAT needs a total of about US $105 million to purchase the ATR 42s and cover costs incurred for transition, training and investments, among other expenses.

Burke said the ATR aircraft is modern, lighter, faster and more fuel efficient.

With the new fleet, LIAT expects to reduce maintenance expenses by at least half of the $40 to $60 million spent annually. The company projects a “modest” $7 million in profits next year if all its plans are successful.

Although LIAT has not indicated any plans to cut jobs, Burke said he is concerned about job security due to the company’s expressed intent to cut back on 39 of the 100 daily flights it operates.

“We are carefully studying the business plan and the information that we’ve been given to try to see how that would affect our membership,” he told OBSERVER Media.

Captain Burke said he’s also concerned about the effects the cutting of flights would have on the region.

Meantime, chairman of the regional grouping of trade unions representing LIAT workers, Chester Humphreys said he is yet to get a copy of the business plan as he has been travelling a lot in recent weeks. He pledged to comment once he obtains and reviews a copy.

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