The cash-strapped regional airline, LIAT, Friday announced that it would from next week increase its scheduled commercial flights into the territories affected by Hurricanes Irma and Maria that ploughed through the Lesser Antilles in September causing several deaths and billions of dollars in damage.
The airline, whose major shareholders are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said that it had been working to restore capacity to the affected territories as they continue their rebuilding efforts.
Last month, LIAT’s chief executive officer, Julie Reifer-Jones, said the struggling Antigua-based carrier should also be considered for assistance as the region emerges from the devastation caused by the hurricanes as it assisted with evacuation flights and other forms of relief for seven storm-battered territories, namely Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Dominica, the British Virgin Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Martin and Turks and Caicos Islands.
She said that the loss to the carrier’s network as a result of the recent storms had been estimated at more than US$4 million.
In its statement, the airline said that it would increase its flights into Dominica, St. Maarten, and Tortola, adding “this will provide greater connectivity for passengers within and outside the LIAT network”.
Interim Chief Commercial Officer, Audra Walker noted that demand is improving and the airline has been working closely with the relevant authorities to rebuild capacity to pre-Hurricane levels.
“We at LIAT are committed to helping our region stay connected and we are keen to reinstate flights where there is demand for seats, as well as cargo and Quikpak services,” Walker said.
The airline will now operate three flights a week into St. Maarten, five flights weekly into Tortola and will increase the number of flights into Dominica from an alternating daily service to three flights per day.
LIAT said that the new schedule will become effective on November 16.