Irma costing Liat millions
HURRICANE IRMA will cost LIAT millions of dollars in financial losses.
Chief executive officer Julie Reifer-jones yesterday revealed that the regional airline’s current inability to operate commercial flights in and out of St Maarten and Tortola meant it was likely to lose about $4.4 million (EC$6 million) between now and the end of the year.
Reifer-jones was unable to give an estimated figure for likely losses during the entire hurricane season. However, speaking during a media conference call with regional media yesterday, she said the overall financial fallout would be “quite substantial”.
Overall, the airline was forced to cancel 33 flights since during Hurricane Irma’s deadly passage, its planes could not fly north of Dominica.
“Regional travel is very dependent on what’s happening in the economies of the region and of course any horrific event of this sort will impact certain territories and also the region as a whole. And that will impact regional travel and LIAT. Frankly, this is one of the complexities facing a regional airline like LIAT,” she said.
“Two years ago it was Dominica, today it is St Maarten and Tortola impacting our network. And based on previous experience it takes some time before recovery takes place. For us, St Maarten and Tortola are very key destinations in our network. We have done some preliminary assessments and we think that the negative impact on LIAT will be in the region of EC$6 million through to the end of the year.”
As a result, the CEO said the airline’s commercial team was “looking at our flight schedules to determine whether there are some other opportunities for us to reposition aircraft to be able to generate some additional revenue in other areas.”
LIAT, which is based in Antigua, confirmed that its entire staff was safe and the company suffered minimal damage. In the interest of safety, the air carrier relocated aircraft and some of its staff to Barbados over the last week, but between Tuesday and yesterday, they all returned to Antigua.
“I believe all the teams that were in Barbados have moved back. Certainly the fleet has been realigned to match our normal operational requirements. We had an engineering team in Barbados, they have been relocated, the call centre has moved back up, the operations team for sure is in Antigua,” Reifer-jones said. ( SC)
A SERIES OF EVENTS involving the police have left the Bailey family of Pickering, St Lucy, angry and annoyed.
They said that for the past two weeks, police had been to their homes on three occasions looking for guns, bulletproof vests and fugitive Rommel Daniel, who is wanted in connection with an incident in which two women were chopped up three weeks ago.
Donna Bailey and her daughter, Dana, said the situation had left the family in shock and in fear of their lives. They said they had never had any interaction with law enforcement before.
“The first time they came was on August 22,” Donna explained, pointing out that she was sitting at a window when a group of officers, whom she described as “Task Force men”, descended on the property and told her to keep quiet; that they were going to her sister’s house next door.
The woman told the DAILY NATION they barged into the house with guns and began searching every room, frightening the children who were in the house.
“They showed my sister a search warrant but she could not understand what was written on it and they did not leave a copy,” she complained.
However, she added that the police eventually told the family they were looking for Dana, and that they had received information she had a gun.
That same day, they also went to Dana’s workplace enquiring about her.
Dana, 27, said she was advised by her family to contact a particular officer at District “E” Police Station.
“I called the station and identified myself and told them I understand the police looking for me . . . . The officer that answered the phone told me to hold on and I