ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The new CEO of regional air carrier LIAT has praised the initiative of the airline’s headquarters based staff in Antigua.
LIAT CEO David Evans
In his monthly "Letter from the CEO", David Evans noted how he was "struck by the huge wealth of experience that exists throughout our organisation."
Reporting on a joint venture to develop highly skilled jobs in Antigua, he said that the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Antigua State College (ASC) -- to establish an engineering apprenticeship scheme in September -- would "see us offer hands-on engineering experience in our facilities to apprentices studying at ASC."
Saluting the generosity of LIAT staff, he praised Kim Burden of the Engineering Department for offering to deliver, free of charge, skills training across the organisation in a number of areas, including customer service, communication, coaching, supervision and leadership.
Another highlight of his first month in office, Evans noted, was witnessing the work of the LIAT information technology team delivering software, allowing pilots to undertake a critical part of their training on their own PCs, laptops, or tablets in a true computer-based training environment.
"These three initiatives give me great encouragement because they have all come from within our organisation, and those individuals who have made them happen are to be commended," said Evans, a former British Airways executive.
LIAT is undertaking a wide-ranging review of its commercial activities with the sole purpose of enhancing its revenue earning potential, he stated. "To this end, a small team of airline commercial experts, who are not professional consultants but rather people with real-life airline experience, will be spending the next few weeks at LIAT's headquarters in Antigua and across the network to put in place very specific enhancements to the commercial processes."
Evans said he was confident that as a result "we will see some real improvements in our revenue performance in a relatively short period of time."
He also pledged to tackle the issue of flight disruptions by making the complex schedule simpler and focus on service delivery.
"I have seen some great examples of service from our front line staff, be they ground staff, engineers, pilots or flight attendants. Our task is to deliver that great service consistently across our network,” he added.
Admitting that financial challenges remain as the airline struggles with a very difficult cash position, he announced the start of a series of meetings "with our trade union partners where I believe that we have had an open and honest discussion about our cash position with full financial disclosure to all attendees."
The sale of LIAT's Dash 8 fleet is expected to help ease the cash crunch: "We concluded the sale of one some ten days ago, and are working hard to complete further sales before the end of this month and into June."
Meanwhile, Evans declared LIAT's commitment to keeping its headquarters in Antigua. "This firm commitment is reflected in a formal agreement entered into in January 2014 between the government and LIAT for the retention of the head office in Antigua. Through this agreement, LIAT continues to keenly support the economic and social development of the twin-island nation as well as the eastern and wider Caribbean."