LIAT Ltd, operating as Leeward Islands Air Transport or LIAT, is an airline headquartered in Antigua. It operates high-frequency inter-island scheduled services serving destinations in the Caribbean. The airline’s main base is VC Bird International Airport.
Leeward Islands Air Transport Services was founded in 1956 and began flying between Antigua and Montserrat. After Court Line obtained 75 percent of the airline in 1971, LIAT entered the jet age. Court Line went bankrupt in 1974. In order to keep the airline flying, the governments of 11 Caribbean nations stepped in and acquired the airline. The 1980s were a decade of growth for the airline. In 1995, LIAT was partially privatized, to save it from bankruptcy once again. In January 2007 the airline announced an intended merger with Caribbean Star Airlines. However in June 2007, the shareholder governments of Barbados, Antigua and St. Vincent gave the go ahead to the Board of Directors to buy out Caribbean Star instead. LIAT purchased Caribbean Star Airlines in October 2007. The airline is now owned by seven Caribbean governments, with three being the major shareholders, private shareholders and employees.