The Grenada Airlift Committee has been forced into action to find a solution for locals looking to fly into neighbouring Barbados each day early following the decision of LIAT to pull out its early morning 560 flight from the Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) to the Sir Grantley Adams in Barbados.
According to Tourism & Civil Aviation Minister, Dr. Clarice Modeste-Curwen, the committee, headed by Richard Strachan, has not been able to find a solution to the problems cause by the discontinuation of the flight.
As of October 24, the regional airline pulled out the early morning flight from Grenada to Barbados posing significant financial challenges for business travelers as well as persons traveling to Barbados to get their U.S VISAS.
Prior to this, on September 19, LIAT gave a mere four-day notice of the discontinuation of its late night 738 flight from the neighboring twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
According to Minister Modeste-Curwen, Grenada might be forced to look to Caribbean Airlines as an alternative since the company has a daily late night flight coming into Grenada from the neighbouring twin island republic.
“… Our airlift committee has gotten into gear and (has) had a number of discussions with other alternative airlines and they are continuing to press on with that (but) we have that kind of uncertainty,” she said.
“We are looking for alternatives at this time, we are having some serious discussions and it is very likely that there will be some financial implications. The Minister for Finance and Prime Minister (Dr. Keith Mitchell) is aware and has given his commitment to that recognising the importance of it,” she added.
The move by LIAT to pull out the lucrative early morning flight between Grenada and Barbados comes weeks after PM Mitchell re-iterated that Grenada has no intention to pump taxpayers money into the cash-strapped LIAT.
Four regional governments – Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent & The Grenadines – are the main financiers of the region’s long-standing airline company.
Despite the harsh criticisms levelled at LIAT’s management by Dr. Mitchell, the island’s Civil Aviation Minister still underscored the importance of the airlift service provided by the airline to Grenada.
According to the senior government minister, although “we have had problems with LIAT flights over the years, LIAT still provides a valuable service to our country and to the region in terms of connectivity with the other islands, which is very important but we cannot just sit and wait on one airline to just make short-term decisions that affect our people and our visitors”.
“I know that the 560 in the morning is going to affect a lot of our Grenadian people…that one has hit us hard.
That is the flight that a lot of our people depended on to take them when they have appointments in Barbados to the Embassy or even when they have connecting flights to other places,” she remarked.
The female government minister stressed that while the airlift committee is currently in search for alternatives to the recently cancelled LIAT flights coming in and out of the country, “we are still open to discussions with LIAT.”
LIAT had given 35 days notice of its decision to discontinue its early morning flight from Grenada to Barbados and with the cancellation of its late night flight has left passengers with no other alternative but to spend more money over-nighting in Barbados.
LIAT now has three daily flights coming into and departing MBIA.