LIAT 1974 Ltd, dba LIAT (Antigua and Barbuda) (Antigua) is expected to cease operations on January 24, 2024, ahead of the launch of newco LIAT 2020 Ltd, commencing operations. The transition will result in the loss of over 90 jobs.

In 2022, the four major shareholders of LIAT, the governments of Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines, resolved to liquidate the debt-ridden 67-year-old airline and transfer its assets to a new entity called LIAT 2020 Ltd. LIAT 1974 Ltd. went into administration in mid-2020, having accrued debts exceeding XCD100 million East Caribbean dollars (USD37 million).

According to the ch-aviation PRO airlines module, LIAT (Antigua and Barbuda) owns three ATR42-600s (one is inactive) and flies 34 routes to 10 countries around the region.

While some government shareholders have vacillated on shutting down LIAT, Gaston Browne, Antigua's Prime Minister, has long supported the carrier. Last week, he told a local radio station that he was awaiting letters of support from the other governments ahead of asking the Caribbean Development Bank for funding to acquire one, but potentially up to three, aircraft from CDB Aviation.

“If everything goes as planned... we anticipate concluding the sale of the initial aircraft for LIAT 2020 within a few weeks," Browne said. "Our objective is to conclude LIAT (Antigua and Barbuda) by the end of this month and simultaneously commence LIAT 2020."

The same governments will take stakes in LIAT 2020. However, they will be smaller stakes. The majority shareholder will be Nigeria's Air Peace (P4, Lagos). That airline will reportedly invest "cash and other assets" in LIAT 2020.

At the same time Browne was speaking to media, LIAT administrator Cleveland Seaforth, managing partner at the KPMG Saint John's office, wrote to that airline's employees to tell them they had lost their jobs. "After careful consideration and evaluation of the present operations, a decision has been taken by the court-appointed administrator to permanently cease all commercial flying operations as of close of business on January 24, 2024," the leaked letter reads. "As a result, you are hereby notified that your employment with LIAT 1974 Limited (in administration) will be made redundant effective February 4, 2024. The company recognises its obligation regarding any applicable entitlements, which will be provided to you under separate cover within 45 days of this letter after completing the respective computations."

Browne said most LIAT workers would be re-employed at LIAT 2020 Ltd. He says his government, along with the Caribbean Development Bank and Air Peace, were working to put arrangements into place for "the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of air services to the people of the region."