by Aviation Doctor
It has been 100 days since David Evans, the new CEO, has taken over at LIAT and we have seen NO real changes. It is business as usual at LIAT, which means burning taxpayers money – very disappointing. At this time I award a grade of C, at best.
The first 100 days of any CEO are very important to lay out what it is you will do, to let people know where you are heading and what changes are needed. By now Mr. Evans should have a good understanding of what lies ahead, the problems, opportunities, possible approaches and likely obstacles. The quick screen should be done, all problems reduced to simple elements and now zero in on key metrics and detailed analysis.
By now, LIAT’s management, Board and Chairman should have gone from the denial phase, through the resistance phase and be at the acceptance phase, and be on board for on going cost reductions to turn the company around. The CEO needs to be creating excitement and enthusiasm in getting all on board for a brighter future.
IF after 100 days it is not there, then Mr. Evans has lost his momentum, and employees will lose faith in any real change. This time it’s different – the Eastern Caribbean has no money.
“Economic stagnation for 6 years and no one is realizing the fact the Eastern Caribbean has lost its attractiveness as a tourist destination.”
Competition is now not only Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, but also new destinations of Thailand, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil. The Eastern Caribbean continues to lose its place in the global tourist market.
What Evans should be doing…
LIAT’s CEO should be talking often and not worry about repetition. Mr. Evans should communicate a sense of urgency and need for action. He should make expectations and accountability clear. Employees need to understand specifics of what you want and how you will judge them.
Let employees know the savings are for investment and growth. Under promise and over deliver. Say what you are going to do after you have done it!
It is disheartening that once again a CEO is in place that will follow the course of the Chairman and Board, change little, and continue the denial of what IS going to happen: bankruptcy. The governments have no money and the international community needs to look at how much the Eastern Caribbean wastes keeping LIAT going.
LIAT is doomed. It needed a tough leader to change things – someone action oriented, enthusiastic and with the intellectual integrity to get things done.
Instead, we have what Dr. Holder wanted – someone who won’t rock the boat, won’t push for the changes LIAT needs:
Changes Needed NOW
Reduce work force from 850+ to 450
Discontinue money losing routes, or have smaller 3rd party aircraft fly them, or have the individual governments subsidise losses directly.
Push for reduction in taxes – 40% to 48% of ticket price is not acceptable!
Change management. Bring in outsiders who know their business. In the Caribbean few professionals have the broad experience and knowledge needed. That is why there has NEVER been an airline in the Caribbean that has been profitable for any extended period. All airlines that have been ‘successful’ survive on government aid. (Bahamasair, Cayman Airways, Winair, LIAT, CAL). No one in the Caribbean has an idea of how to make money and be self-sustaining in the airline industry because they have never known anything else but government covering the losses.
It’s now matter of WHEN LIAT will go bankrupt – not IF. And it will be very hard on the EC economy, maybe one day the ‘secret’ books to LIAT financial aid will be uncovered and people will see what mismanaged operation it is and has been for years.
The Aviation Doctor
This article was recently submitted by Aviation Doctor as a comment on BFP’s Tomas Chlumecky: LIAT should tell the truth
David Evans photo: Okay, okay… Evans has never been to prison that we know of, but gosh darn we just couldn’t let his publicity photo pass without a bit of comment! Have you ever seen such a publicity photo in your life? Ha!