ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Patrick Ryan, a former LIAT executive, is circumspect that recommendations from an external aviation consultant can turn around the fortunes of the plagued carrier, calling them “pie in the sky” – however, he agreed with the advice that a management reshuffle might be necessary.
“I have my doubts very much too (that) somebody can sit on the outside and look into LIAT and come up with all of these wonderful ideas that they are going to save money and change things without having a proper look at it generally from the outside,” Ryan said, referencing a proposal from Alex Sanhi of Aviation Workforce Agency (AVA) in India.
In its unanswered March proposal submitted to Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, the agency recommended lowering operation costs without cutting wages or jobs, introducing performance-based evaluations, code-sharing flights and strategic alliances and relieving some of LIAT’s top brass of their positions.
The last point, Ryan concedes, might be necessary for the faltering company to regain its footing in the aviation game and referenced back 30 years when Aer Lingus came into LIAT with a five-person team to restructure its operations.
“What I would like to do is, like Aer Lingus … They evaluated the top management, they trained those who they recommended training and got rid of those who they assessed have no long term value to the airline.”
The former LIAT operations manager said that following the Aer Lingus restructure, LIAT flourished, doubling its fleet of dash eight aircraft and expanding to routes outsides of the Caribbean.
However, Ryan applauded LIAT’s swift recovery after last month’s fire that destroyed a hangar and a Dash-8 aircraft.
“Really and truly, I don’t think that any other airline in the world could have reacted that fast with the type of resources LIAT has,” he said.
“The problem with LIAT is crisis management. How do we get them to operate in that mode on a day-to-day operation?”