The government of Antigua and Barbuda has dropped plans to acquire Barbados’ 49% stake in LIAT (LI, Antigua) and plans instead to invest directly in the pan-Caribbean carrier, according to the Antigua Observer.

“We have taken the decision that instead of buying Barbados’ shares we will invest directly in LIAT, subject to the approval of the other shareholder governments, and I don’t see why they should stop us from investing directly in LIAT. LIAT needs the cash,” the country's Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the newspaper.

He said he had told Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley that his country had found XCD40 million East Caribbean dollars (USD14.8 million) that could be used for the airline's recapitalisation.

LIAT, in which Antigua and Barbuda maintains a 34% stake, will be restructured, he said, “to ensure it becomes a little leaner and to ensure it can at least turn an operating profit going forward”.

St Vincent & the Grenadines, Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago and other island nation-states own minority stakes in the perennial loss-maker, which has been heavily reliant on shareholders because many of the routes it operates are thin and suffer from poor demand.

Saint Lucian Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, for one, has made it clear that his administration will not support LIAT if it continues to be “business as usual” at the carrier. “LIAT must change,” he said during a news conference earlier this year, the St Lucia Times reported.