Liat hopes to forge Cargo alliance with Amerijet

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Antiguan carrier Liat believes an opportunity exists to build a partnership with Miami-based Amerijet to transport cargo from Trinidad.

Liat introduced cargo service in October of this year using one of its Bombardier Dash-100 turboprops converted to an all-freighter aircraft.

Speaking to ATI during Network Latin America 2010 in San Jose, Costa Rica, Liat director of schedules and special projects Lesroy Browne explained the cargo service has been somewhat slow to takeoff after hurricane Thomas this year struck St. Lucia and St. Vincent, two of the primary fruit and vegetable producing markets in the region.

But Browne sees strong potential for the cargo business once those markets recover. Before the islands came into Thomas' path, Liat was on the verge of reaching an agreement with Amerijet to transport cargo from Trinidad to St. Lucia, says Browne.

Currently Amerijet operates a 767 cargo aircraft from Miami to Trinidad, and then uses a 727 from Trinidad to move cargo throughout the region, Browne explains.

Liat believes partnering with Amerijet could be a "win-win", says Browne, who explains a fall in cargo volume has made the 727 somewhat unprofitable to operate. "We see some potential there," he says.

Liat is continuing to hold talks with Amerijet, but Browne says both carriers want to see Liat's cargo operation up and running properly before a firm commitment to partner is made. Currently, Liat is operating the Dash-100 freighter three days per week.