By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The worst will soon be over, according to key officials of regional airline LIAT. CEO Ian Brunton says the transition to new aircraft, coupled with a very busy summer schedule and mechanical problems, including breakdowns, contributed to almost three months of flight delays and cancellations.
LIAT CEO, Captain Ian Brunton
Those disruptions have exposed LIAT to persistent, damaging criticism from the travelling public, hoteliers and other stakeholders. Speaking on Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture on Sunday, Captain Brunton indicated that with the busy season almost over and the re-fleeting expected to pick up momentum, LIAT’s operations will be improving significantly.
“And we will see in the next few months, a huge change. I think anybody who has flown on the new product (ATR aircraft) will attest to the fact that it is a game changer,” the LIAT CEO said.
“So once we get the bugs out, once we get over the teething problems … I think you will see a change and all that will come together in the next few months’” he added.
Brunton wasn’t inclined to comment on calls for proper accountability and for “heads to roll” as one angry hotelier put it.
However, told that LIAT appears to have undergone one of its worst crises under his stewardship, the beleaguered Brunton shot back: “Well it may well be, but also under my stewardship comes the biggest change in LIAT for 23 years.”
He said change was disruption, but that things would get better in the end. The pilots association – LIALPA – which has been critical of LIAT management , agrees that the disruptions are likely to be less over the coming months.
Association president Carl Burke said the end of the busy season will provide the airline with more breathing space. LIAT is making a transition from its 20-year-old Dash 8 aircraft to newer, bigger ATR planes. It has already received two ATRs, and is hoping to purchase a total of 12 at the cost of US $100 million.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network