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More LIAT blues

Grenada the latest to cry out for poor service

Yet another scathing criticism has been issued of the service provided by the beleaguered regional airline LIAT.

The latest attack comes from Grenada’s Tourism Minister Clarice Modeste who said she was forced to endure a three hours delay while travelling on official government business recently.

Grenada’s Minister of Tourism Clarice Modeste

Grenada’s Minister of Tourism Clarice Modeste

“About a week ago I went to St Lucia, I had a meeting in the afternoon. LIAT had a two-hour delay. On the way back it was a one-hour delay,” Modeste related to journalists during a press conference today at the Hilton Hotel.

“One of my colleague ministers who had to do a press conference this morning he was in another island . . . I just briefly glanced that the press conference was postponed and I am almost certain that it was because of LIAT because it has happened before.

“So you can’t plan for the next day, you have to give an extra 24 hours just in case. A number of my colleagues have had to overnight in Barbados or wherever and so it is really a serious problem for us in terms of inter-Caribbean,” she added.

Less than a week ago, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security in St Vincent, Godfrey Pompey, warned “it is time for LIAT to get its act and attitude towards the travelling public of St Vincent and the Grenadines together” as he threatened that once LIAT makes a request for the E.T. Joshua Airport to remain open beyond the 11:30 p.m. agreed operating hours, his ministry will bill the airline for staff overtime.

In response to that letter, LIAT has promised to do better.

“LIAT have decided to make some network and scheduling changes to avoid the late arrivals into St Vincent,” Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones said in a statement.

She also confirmed that a meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, September 14 in St Vincent & the Grenadines with the LIAT management team.

In April, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit requested an urgent meeting of the shareholders of LIAT and demanded an immediate investigation into the cancellation of a morning flight into Dominica on April 8.

The cancellation reportedly affected over 40 passengers in Dominica.

Skerrit said he was utterly disgusted at the shabby manner in which his island was being treated by the airline, saying it “clearly appears to be an awful, negative attitude towards Dominica by senior personnel at LIAT”.

“I am warning, now, that this must stop,” the Dominican leader had said in his letter.

Modeste, who is in Barbados for the annual Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s State of the Industry Conference, said it was almost laughable that the tourism-dependent region, which should be interacting more and promoting intra-regional travel, was having the most difficulty achieving such on account of LIAT.

“One of [the factors] is the lateness, unavailability of flights but another thing, if you look at the fares, you can go to the United States or perhaps to the UK with a similar airfare. So although some governments, including my Prime Minister have been very vocal, some have been quiet because they have more investment, but I believe that we need to address this. We need to get together and speak about it,” the Grenada official said.

When challenged about the high government taxes which LIAT has said, in some cases, amount to more than the actual airfare, Modeste maintained that LIAT fares were generally high.

“I am not a statistician, I don’t know a lot about figures but I know what it costs me to go from point A to point B and when I compare it, I know that LIAT doesn’t compare well. Now the governments are saying that this is not so and I know that sometimes they have done presentations to demonstrate this. So I will not really categorically say that it is untruthful but from the information I have it doesn’t seem so at all,” she said.

“I respect LIAT for the historical service it has given and I really hope that good sense, commonsense will prevail and that the powers that be will get together, but it really does not seem so because we have protested over the years and it is not working. So we’re looking for other takers,” she said.

4 Responses to More LIAT blues

  1. Francis September 14, 2016 at 8:04 am

    A bunch of political jokers
    Butt out of the running of LIAT politicians!!!
    Prime Ministers stop asking and demanding extra flights for your islands when it makes no economic sense!!
    This is all your fault!!
    Political interference by politicians who can’t even differentiate a jet from a prop aircraft!!
    Nuff said

    • ISIS September 15, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Why should the politicians “butt out” of the running of LIAT when they are the shareholders??!!

  2. Phil September 14, 2016 at 8:12 am

    #1. This article is to long and monotonous. #2- LIAT cannot be blamed for delays. The pilots and employees are not sitting there twiddling their thumbs. #3 The cause od the delay was not reported. #4 LIAT does not make and cannot be profitable on account of its high cost of operations. Those being employment expenses, and we know how ANU controls that with overstaffing at their airport. #5 excessive taxes, #6 high landing fees, #6 fuel charges. #7- Maintenance expenses. #8- Annual licenses fees plus more. What amazes me is that these regional politicians complain that LIAT is not serving their territory well and yet they don’t doy anything to help lower LIAT’s operating costs. They turn up at the airport and are given priority over paying customers, and in most cases causes the delays themselves as they often check in later than the scheduled departure, is walked from counter to their seat, while pompa-setting in their arrogant “don’t you know who I am” attitude. All this, together with other things such as aircraft weight checks, weather conditions, runway clearance, strong cross winds conditions plus a whole lot of other non flying conditions may cause delays. LIAT nor any other airline for that matter do not go out to delay their services without a due cause. If Clarice Modeste was delayed by an international airline especially one bringing tourists to GND, she would have shut her ass up and smiled or risk to get the captain identify her as unstable and will place the flight at risk, and either order her off the flight or have her arrested and detained and questioned at her destination, where she can be detained for up tyo 72 hours.

  3. Tony Webster September 14, 2016 at 9:17 am

    ANU , and the over-staffing ( and more than a scintilla of corruption) has long been present there. If transferred or re-hubbed to Bim, this would NOT be a guarantee of flying through plain blue skies at 50% less fares, plus a better/ black bottom-line….but it would at least reinforce one thing: change would have a chance! This would be sooo much better, than a corporate death-in-slow-motion.


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