(Antigua NewsRoom) In a letter dated June 11, LIAT has advised the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association of the need to extend the temporary layoff of its pilots for three (3) months.

The Human Resource Manage, Samantha May Francis, attributed this to the chronic fiscal turbulence experienced by the regional airline, now made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline has operated a limited-service, providing cargo and chartered flight. However, the correspondence obtained by our newsroom affirms that this is ‘insufficient to cover the company’s costs.’ The resulting reliance on bailouts from major shareholders to meet their day to day expenses has cast a dark shadow over operations as ‘these funds continue to be delayed.’

A press release from the airline on May 14, 2020, announced that the suspension of passenger services was being extended to with “no firm date” set for resumption. One pilot for the airline dispelled rumors of a restart to LIAT commercial flights on June 30.

The worker, who insisted on anonymity, affirmed to our newsroom that the company would have to give a month’s notice to enable retraining before resuming commercial flight services.

The letter assured employees that they would continue to receive medical insurance coverage and staff travel privilege during this period. LIAT’s major shareholders are the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadine, Dominica, and Barbados.