LIAT was founded as Leeward Islands Air Transport in 1956, with its headquarters at V.C Bird International Airport in Saint George Parish, Antigua. Originally operating a single aircraft on a route between Antigua and Montserrat, in 1957, the company was acquired by the larger BWIA airlines, allowing further expansion into the Caribbean. After purchasing new aircraft, the airline began operations in Puerto Rico.
Currently, LIAT flies to 17 destinations with its fleet of 10 aircraft, including 9 cities in the Caribbean and to Guyana in South America. The company now operates a second base out of Grantley Adams International Airport and their slogan, "THE Caribbean Airline" indicates their commitment to being the premier airline in the region.
The 1980s was a time of great growth for the company and by 1986, daily flights were operating to and from Anguilla, Barbados, and Grenada, as flight times were reduced by new aircraft technology. In November 1995, LIAT was privatized and from the injection of capital, upgrades were made to existing planes and after talks of a merger with a smaller airline, they bought out Caribbean Star Airlines in order to increase their available routes. In addition to the current destinations, they also have partnerships with Virgin Atlantic and Jet Blue Airways to carry passengers to the United States.
Currently, the airline also operates cargo flights, with its service, Quikpak, offering door-to-door 1-2 day delivery throughout the Caribbean. Using older planes for the cargo services has allowed the purchase of new ATR-42 and ATR-72 passenger planes, and enable flights to Trinidad and Tobago, a previously unknown destination for the company. In 2007, the company won The "Caribbean's Leading Budget Airline" in the World Travel Awards.
The airline is proud to offer exceptional service to all passengers, with even short flights operating a snack and beverage service. Economy passengers are offered comfortable ergonomic seating, ample leg room, in-flight magazines, complimentary tea, coffee, and a generous baggage allowance.
Business and premium passengers are offered complimentary amenity kits and a variety of reading materials, including magazines and international newspapers. In addition, the seats are comfortable and adjustable, giving passengers extra space. USB charging ports and entertainment screens ensure every passenger arrives refreshed and ready to go.
Checking-in: LIAT does not offer passengers online check-in, so all passengers must be at the airport at least two hours before the flight's departure. If checking bags, be sure to arrive at least an hour before departure for domestic flights and three hours prior to international flights.