By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- LIAT’s chief executive officer Captain Ian Brunton has handed in his resignation following the summer meltdown during which flight disruptions and cancellations are reported to have cost the regional airline millions of dollars.
Captain Ian Brunton
Various complaints surfaced about LIAT’s service during one of its busiest periods, as the airline also took on its ongoing re-fleeting exercise -- converting from its 20-year-old Dash 8 aircraft to new, larger ATR planes.
The complaints included letters from Dominican hotelier Gregor Nassief, who insisted that heads should roll at the highest level because of what was generally felt to be poor service being offered by LIAT during the summer months.
Meanwhile, leading trade unionist, Grenadian Chester Humphrey, has expressed surprise that Brunton is on his way out.
Humphrey, whose union represents some of the airline’s employees, says Brunton’s going will impact negatively on the struggling LIAT.
“We had not anticipated this or had any hunch that was coming. In my own personal opinion it could not have come at a worst time,” he told WINN FM.
Pointing out that Brunton has been intimately involved in the re-fleeting initiative, the trade unionist said a new CEO would have to familiarize himself with what was going on in the company.
“At this time the company needs leadership and Captain Brunton’s resignation at this time no doubt will affect the company, there’s certainly no doubt in my mind about that,” Humphrey said.
He says the unions representing LIAT workers will try to give the company their support at what he describes as a difficult time for the airline.
In late August, Brunton was optimistic when he spoke to WINN FM that the company would ride the storm of disruptions and get back on track.
“I see us pulling through this … certainly before the Christmas and New Year peak LIAT will be in a much better position to face the demand and to provide the kind of customer service and product that is second to none,” he said at the time.
It was confirmed on Monday however, by Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, whose country is a key shareholder in LIAT, that Brunton had tendered his resignation.
Brunton’s resignation is reported to have been delivered to the LIAT board of directors last week.
The board is expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
According to Gonsalves, Brunton has made a good contribution to LIAT and it will be hard to find a replacement.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network