ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Caribbean Airline LIAT has confirmed that one of its brand new French-manufactured ATR aircraft developed steering problems just before take off from VC Bird International Airport yesterday.
Shortly before 11 am, LIAT flight LI 775 – en route from Antigua to Trinidad via St Lucia – developed the defect.
After spending some 20minutes at the take-off point, passengers were shuttled back to the terminal via bus and the aircraft was towed off the runway.
In a release, LIAT management said passengers would be accommodated on other flights and that the aircraft was towed to the ramp “where it’s being examined by the company’s maintenance staff and will undergo the necessary repairs before being returned to service.”
On June 16, last year, LIAT took receipt of the first of eight new ATR aircraft in a US $100 million re-fleeting exercise.
LIAT’s principal shareholder governments are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
The airline recently obtained a multi-million dollar loan from the Barbados-based Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to replace its aging fleet with the French-made ATRs.