Written by CBC NEWS Thursday, 14 June 2012 17:32
The regional airline LIAT on Thursday put preliminary estimates of its losses from Sunday’s fire at 35 million dollars (about 12.9 million US dollars), the company said.
In a statement issued by LIAT spokesman Desmond Brown, said the figure amounted to insured losses. The estimate comes two days after loss adjusters visited the site of the fire at the airline’s Antigua headquarters.
A huge fire on Sunday night gutted one of its hangars, destroying the oldest member of its fleet of 18 twin-engined, turboprop planes, along with two offices.
Airline executives had earlier described the fire as "catastrophic" and a "major tragedy" for the cash-strapped, island-hopping carrier that is majority owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Earlier this week, the Vincentian leader Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said the Dominican government was about to complete the process to become the airline's fourth major government-shareholder.
The carrier, which has been flying since 1956, has been beset with financial and industrial relations problems through much of its life while ferrying thousands of people each year between larger hubs in Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad and smaller airports dotting the Eastern Caribbean, the Dutch Antilles and Guyana.
Yet, despite frequently earning the ire of Caribbean travellers, the airline has managed to survive a number of challenges by rival carriers as start-ups have often gone belly up within a short period.
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