ST. JOHN’S: The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, has announced that the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) is providing US$65 million in loans to the four shareholder governments of the company.
It said the loan, approved last week to Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Dominica will assist with the purchase of aircraft in the context of a fleet modernization project.
In a statement, LIAT said that the loan agreements “provide for the loans to be on lent-to and repaid by LIAT over a 13-year period following a grace period of two years”.
It said co-financing for the project is being provided by shareholder equity contributions and from the sale of LIAT’s existing aircraft.
The fleet modernization project involves the replacement of LIAT’s aging fleet through a combination of lease and purchase of aircraft; the transition costs associated with the changeover; the upgrade of maintenance facilities and other institutional strengthening activities.
“The project provides LIAT with the most cost-effective means of improving the reliability of its service and consequently its contribution to the socio-economic development of the region. It will have significant impact on the operational efficiency and financial performance of the airline. Realization of these results will require the involvement of all stakeholders.”
LIAT, which flies to 21 destinations in the Caribbean, said reliable and efficient air transportation is essential for connectivity, mobility and accessibility within the region and for some of CDB’s borrowing members, LIAT provides the only air links with the rest of the region.
“This project is consistent with CDB’s strategic objective of supporting regional cooperation and integration and contributes to CDB’s overall mandate of reducing poverty in the region through social and economic development,” the statement said.