ST JOHN’S , Antigua – The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, said on Friday that it would continue to suspend commercial passenger services until June 30 due to the continued impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
LIAT, whose main shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines, serves 15 destinations across the Caribbean
Julie Reifer-Jones, LIAT’s chief executive officer, said most of the airline’s network remains closed to commercial passenger traffic.
She said while some territories have announced a reopening date, there are still many protocols to be implemented, such as testing and mandatory quarantine periods, which will allow for the safe movement of passengers.
The LIAT official said that the airline is closely monitoring the situation across the LIAT network and will resume flights when it is safe for passengers to do so.
The cash-strapped airline said that passengers booked during the extended period of suspension will automatically have their bookings cancelled and will receive full airline credit for future travel.
“Passengers will be able to rebook as soon as the airline announces the resumption of passenger services,” the airline said, with Mrs Reifer-Jones seeking to re-assure the public that the airline was continuing its planning for the resumption of operations.
She noted, however, that there was still a great deal of uncertainty about the date of reopening of most borders. Caribbean countries had closed down their borders in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that that killed more than 350 000 people and infected 5.6 million others across the world.
LIAT said it has maintained strict protocols for its aircraft cleaning and sanitisation to ensure the health and safety of its passengers and staff.
“The airline acknowledged that this was an extremely difficult time for the region and its own staff and passengers,” and Reifer-Jones said that LIAT is still committed to keeping the region connected, especially after this crisis.