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LIAT meltdown claims more victims
Published on August 30, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version


By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The apparent meltdown of regional airline LIAT continues to claim victims and turn them into irate passengers, despite assurances this week from LIAT CEO Ian Brunton that the situation is improving, and that there would be less disruption, less flight delays and cancellations.

Kittitian businessman Carlton Dupont told WINN FM on Thursday that he remained stranded in Antigua on his way back to Basseterre from Guyana.

In a telephone conversation from Antigua, he said it took him two days to get to Georgetown, and that the return leg of the journey was even more problematic.

“Tuesday evening I got here from Guyana eight o’clock in the evening, and even though I’m so close to St Kitts I am still here in Antigua in a nice hotel, getting good food – something has to be wrong with the operation of LIAT and who is running it,” the businessman said.

According to Dupont, he was among several Kittitians whose flight was delayed and awaiting word from the airline on when they would get home.

He said LIAT was incurring expenses in providing accommodation to stranded passengers, and predicted that “one of these mornings we could wake up and the whole operation of LIAT will be completely closed down”.

Dupont blamed the company’s management for the current state of affairs.

WINN FM’s Lorraine Wilkin, who has just returned from a visit to Grenada, described her LIAT experience as “traumatic and disastrous”.

She reported having experienced delays in both going to and coming from Grenada, her luggage delayed even longer, and damaged on the return leg of the trip.

Wilkin’s advice to LIAT: “Shut down.”

Meanwhile St Lucian hotelier Bertia Parle said the airline can do much better, especially in the area of customer relations.

Parle wants the company to improve communications “and don’t treat people like cattle”.

She is advising LIAT to communicate accurately.

“Don’t give people false promises that just doesn’t happen in some cases,” she suggested to LIAT when asked about the matter by WINN FM.

LIAT is reported to have bitten off more than it can chew this summer, as the company tries to re-fleet while attempting to operate a hectic schedule.

That’s according to Captain Carl Burke, the president of LIALPA – the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association.

He told WINN FM that training of pilots for the new planes being purchased has led to a shortage of manpower, with the current crew overworked, and the operations stretched to the limit.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 19621

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Shirley Spycalla:

I'm sorry, A Johnny. You said "Perhaps LIAT would be a much better airline if the burden of air access in the region it serves were willing to help with the financing the airline needs to give a better service."

And I say, if LIAT was given an infusion of 100 billion dollars, it still would not solve the problem of customer service indifference.

In May we checked in at 11:30am for a 1:00pm departure flight from St Maarten to Antigua, where we had a confirmed connection to Montserrat.

The LIAT flight was six hours late, no excuse given. We missed the last flight to Montserrat and had to look for accommodations in Antigua for the night.

We stayed at a low-cost guesthouse. No supper, as the kitchen was closed. LIAT would not pay or even reimburse us. We went to bed hungry and angry.
Next morning had to pay the Montserrat airline for a change of flight, even though the fault was not ours. What if we didn't have a credit card? Nobody told us they were sorry or commiserated in any way.

I used to work with LIAT in the 1970s when the airline made us all proud. Efficiency and caring were the order of the day and, even without technology and computers, flights were operated efficiently. Now, I can only shake my head in sorrow.

A Johnny:

Those screaming loudest about LIAT and its failings are from countries in the Caribbean that does nothing to help their native airline, LIAT is being supported by very few nations in the Caribbean, Perhaps LIAT would be a much better airline if the burden of air access in the region it serves were willing to help with the financing the airline needs to give a better service, so basically, I am saying to those that snipe from the sidelines, Put up or Shut up! - LIAT is very far from perfect but consider the alternatives for the Caribbean if the airline fails, the cost of travel would sky rocket without competition for Caribbean Airline and others that are given money to fly to the Caribbean.

Karl H:


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