LIAT 2020 (Antigua) has been granted its Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA), while USD12.1 million have been placed in escrow for three aircraft, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne recently announced in a radio interview.

First reported by Antigua News Room, obtaining the AOC takes the government-backed carrier one step closer to launching. LIAT 2020 is the revamped version of defunct LIAT (Antigua and Barbuda). However, no actual date for the launch of scheduled commercial operations has been given.

In its 2024 budget, Antigua and Barbuda’s government said it had undertaken the responsibility to restructure and resurrect LIAT with a vision to returning it to the Carribean's skies. It pledged to spend about XCD30 million East Caribbean dollars (about USD11.1 million) in 2024 “to ensure LIAT 2020 Ltd has all the aircraft needed and appropriate maintenance and operational arrangements are in place.”

The Caribbean nation is collaborating with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which is approving the sale of three ATR42-600s currently owned by the bank that were part of LIAT 1974 Ltd's fleet, and Nigeria’s Air Peace (P4, Lagos), which is set to become majority shareholder by investing between USD80 and USD90 million in the venture.

However, Browne voiced his concerns over CDB’s delays in approving the sales agreement, saying he has messaged the acting president and “up to this day, I don’t understand why a sales agreement has to take so long.” He said they had to enter into a lease agreement with the administrator of LIAT 1974 to lease one of the planes for USD100,000 per month, plus there is an additional agreement for another USD95,000 per month.