LIALPA blames management for airline’s woes

The Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) has strongly refuted claims that LIAT’s flight delays and cancellations were being caused by a high level of sickness among its crew.

The association has instead laid the blame squarely at the feet of the company’s executives charging that the problem was due “to a shortage of crew, poor working conditions and an incompetent management team.”

LIALPA made the statement in a press release issued this evening in response to comments made by Chairman of LIAT’s Shareholder Governments Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves last Wednesday, following talks involving Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, Tourism Minister Richard Sealy and the airline’s chairman and management.


Dr Gonsalves told reporters at a news conference the carrier had issues, which needed urgent attention including “frequent illness among staff.”

“We have too many cancellations caused by the illness of flight crew… we have too many bouts of illness which results in cancellations. The main priority of management is to stabilize the schedule by resolving operational challenges, take action to reduce crew sickness. [Management] will do this is a sensible manner and a sensitive way. You know they have to communicate with the workers, the pilots, the professionals,” he said.



But LIALPA was adamant that this was not the case, insisting that the regional carrier was “woefully short” of adequate crew to properly execute the current flight schedule.

“Over the last two (2) years, LIAT has not employed a single pilot, even though 31 pilots have left the company either because of retirement or resignation. Nineteen of those who have left were trained to fly the newly acquired ATR type aircraft. Management sat on their hands while this mass attrition of ATR pilots occurred, and did nothing to rectify the situation.”

LIALPA warned this would result in  continued delays and cancellations during the upcoming busy winter season. It claimed that management was now “in a last minute panic to hire additional crew,” but said it was already too late since it would take at least three to four months for a new pilot to train before they can actually fly passengers.

Meanwhile, the pilot’s body was adamant “ there is no abnormal sickness occurring among crew members.”

Declaring it could no longer keep silent after going beyond the call of duty, LIALPA revealed that some pilots had fallen ill “ due to extremely high and unbearable cockpit temperatures, and also in part, due to the usage of chemicals/ pesticides to address an existing roach infestation in cockpits and passenger cabins.”

LIALPA also made it clear  that it would not be held responsible for the airline’s projected losses expected to reach EC$9.2 million dollar by year-end. It pointed fingers at management, claiming that the airline lost millions of dollars when it sold its Dash 8 airplanes.


14 Responses to LIALPA blames management for airline’s woes

  1. Susanna Ophelia
    Susanna Ophelia October 23, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Oh dear hope l not traveling during busy season at least we were warned

  2. Donild Trimp October 23, 2016 at 9:07 pm

    Sounds like hell to me.

  3. Phil October 23, 2016 at 10:20 pm

    1. -> LIAT ia headquartered in the wrong country. 2 -> LIAT is poorly managed Actually so too is WICB some kind or Caribbean nonfunctional disease. Oh so too is Individual countries Prime Ministers disease. There are many reasons for delays. so don’t blame pilot illnesses. There is unsuitable weather conditions, counter staff holding up departures to fit o0n two more passengers from other flights going to the same destination the plane is heading, There is weight problem – plane too heavy. Then this popular one. Flight is held up because some minister is booked on that flight, arrives at the airport 1 minute before scheduled departure and is whisked by ground staff half hour later. then there are strikes and go slows from all quarters. There is also actual mechanical problems that renders the aircraft unsuitable to fly. There are lots more. We have great pilots at LIAT Get off their backs. I am a VFF – Very frequent Flyer. They know me well.

  4. Shevaun October 24, 2016 at 2:07 am

    To Phil – How does the location of the headquarters impact LIATs financial results in this situation? I don’t follow your logic.

  5. Shevaun October 24, 2016 at 2:09 am

    The reality is that at this moment, all we are hearing are anecdotal stories from both sides. The biggest issue to me is that for whatever reason, LIAT does not release its financial statements. That would be a great place to start for us to make more informed judgements in the court of public opinion.

  6. Shevaun Stevens
    Shevaun Stevens October 24, 2016 at 2:14 am

    The pettiness continues. All we’re going to keep hearing are anecdotal claims from both sides, w/ neither mgmt or staff (operations) willing to accept accountability &/or responsibility. We need to see LIATs financial statements. At least from there, we can make more informed decisions in the court of public opinion.

  7. James Lynch October 24, 2016 at 7:59 am

    The public is not aware that bipolar Raplh “Schizo” Gonsalves has been micromanaging LIAT ever since he was appointed Chairman of the shareholders, even to the point of demanding that a LIAT aircraft land on his own white elephant Argyle Airport – unfinished, uncertified, uninsured, and unready due to a gaping hole two-thirds of the way down the runway where they were still installing the drainage culverts across the runway.

    Yet the moment Raplh “Schizo” Gonsalves saw LIAT cancel a flight which his sports team was supposed to catch he erupted in a furore of indignation – to hell with all the other delays, cancellations and mis-handled baggage of passengers across the entire network, his team was inconvenienced and that was the first unacceptable item that he ever felt impelled to react to.

    “Schizo” now has a history of unacceptable behaviour. He took it upon himself to present awards of excellence to schoolchildren in Barbados – yet so far as I can discover he has never done so in his own country. Recently – with a bare majority of one seat in Parliament – he passed laws restricting Press freedom and making it a crime to criticise himself, the Prime Minister – which is a cowardly way of accelerating his dictatorship to try and emulate his idols, Chavez and now Maduro of Venezuela (hopefully St. Vincent will not experience the starvation seen there).

    LIAT also has a history of asinine and incompetent management. I left there twenty years ago and in those years witnessed management so bad that it may perhaps be described as anti-management or a-management.

    The LIAT Board has NEVER had anyone on it who was not a political appointee collecting his or her just rewards for political favours. LIAT’s Board has NEVER had anyone on it who had a clue about aviation. LIAT’s Board has NEVER had anyone on it who could come up with a viable path forward for the airline.

    Perhaps I should also explain to the public that a commercial pilot – charter, airline or LIAT – is required by law to refrain from flying if they do not feel well. Not just a cold or the ‘flu, but also if they do not feel well (and “tired” is part of that broad range). Commercial pilots require years to be trained, decades to make command, are not bus or truck drivers, and the vehicles they operate cannot stop just anywhere so the operator can “take a leak”, vomit or deal with diarreah. This really is serious business, not building renovation.

    “Schizo” and his Board and management team have created the conditions which now exist. It is therefore unreasonable – but within “Schizo’s” two-faced mandate – to expect that a busier schedule, higher workloads, less rest time, less days off and less vacation will not impact on the true care of the airline which they CANNOT do without – it’s pilots.

    “Schizo” and his Board and management team behave as though the pilots are a bunch of spoiled brats. In fact they are hard-working professionals being pushed beyond their professional and legal limits, not to mention health and comfort levels.

    As has been called for repeatedly for decades now, REMOVE “Schizo”, the Board and this incompetent management team and replace them with people who “have a clue” about fast-moving airlines – and perhaps the airline will break even as many have forecast.

    An airline is not the place to practice Marxism, Socialism or even Communism, yet year after year we see the same political INSANITY percolating down from and through the highest levels of LIAT and the same politically INSANE expectations at the end of every financial year.

    Get off the pot, leave the studio, exit the stage, just get those politricks the hell away from LIAT, or it WILL fail. NONE of you can afford to keep pumping large sums of taxpayer money into the carrier, least of all 51% shareholder Barbados (now approaching 11 Billion dollars in national debt).

    The employees are not the problem, those who call the shots are the problem. And an airline is not a haberdashery or a construction company, so do it right for once or lose the resource, it really is that simple.

  8. Luis Fuentes
    Luis Fuentes October 24, 2016 at 8:44 am

    So LIALPA blames management for the airlines woes……there’s a new concept…….

  9. jrsmith October 24, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    LIAT needs to be privatized , we have no level of management in the region ,who could take on this company and brink it to break even, ( This is JR give us the job Managing (LIAT) let me choose the people from the daily forum on today ,as a matter of fact , lets us run the transport, the seaport ,the airport, the prison give us 100 days at it all…
    I think we would have been better off if were still producing sugar at the levels we were 4 decades ago .. and our government now was as it was then………

  10. Alex Alleyne October 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Two companies, LIAT and WICB , same results. “TOO MUCH POLITICS”. Both need to be run with headquarters in Europe/USA.

  11. James Lynch October 24, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    On the contrary, there are many aviation people in the eastern Caribbean who could run LIAT very well. But they do not put up with BS or political (mis)direction, so they either have not applied or will never be considered.

    I could name you a new Board for LIAT in less than 10 minutes, but none of them are in the pockets of the politicians so even discussing that is a waste of time.

    If the LIAT shareholders want _CHANGE_, then they should implement _CHANGE_ – and stop this decades-old INSANITY.

    Further, while we are on the subject of LIAT, perhaps it is also a good time to demand that the audited accounts for the last 50 years also be made public. An entity bought, owned and maintained financially by taxpayers should produce and publish its audited accounts as a matter of public record, not be kept hidden as national SECRETS.

  12. Phil October 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Shevaun… You got to be be Antiguan. You’re too defensive. Hear the benefits of moving from ANU. Barbados owns the most shares. ANU employs 514 people to do the job of about 90. A PURELY POLITICAL MOVE. Far better management in Barbados when compared to those poppets (like you) in ANU. Better ground facilities in BGI. More corruption than anything in ANU. I witness a man came in with three suitcases of hats. he as challenged by customs He called a politician who turned up with head of customs. The customs officer was immediately removed from his post. The hats got through. No Problem man.

  13. jrsmith October 25, 2016 at 10:28 am

    @, James ,L , hail , hail, good shot demanding to see accounts for the past 50 years ,,, man you are brave, but also please not to forget months a go we read some departments in Barbados government had not been audited for 10 to 15 years and the bigger one the ( AUDIT GENERAL’S ) reports showing hundreds of millions which cannot be accounted for, and all the politicians gone quite about the same……..

  14. Shevaun Stevens December 9, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Phil, sorry for the late response man. I was busy making a real impact in life, instead of online bashing like yourself. Also, I am Antiguan, & it is also worthy to note that the word is puppet (not poppet), which I am definitely not. You may want to learn to spell before you go online to bash. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. In case you are not aware, the Chairman of LIAT (Jean Holder), as well as the CFO & current acting CEO (Reifer Jones) are both Bajans, so if we want to have a conversation about the poor results at LIAT, we may need to start with your fellow Bajans. Also, if you had read my comment and apply a bit more wisdom and knowledge before you responded, you would notice that I said the primary issue at LIAT is that noone knows for certain what their financial results are because they have never released their financial results to the public (we have that right since LIAT is owned by four regional governments, regardless of who is the largest or smallest shareholder), & all we have been hearing are anecdotal claims from both staff & mgmt. I am simply suggesting that it is impossible to begin to fully understand the scope of the financial issues at LIAT without even at least seeing their financial results. Never once did I mention or say anything about Antigua. For you to suggest that the issues at LIAT can be simply solved by moving to Barbados, (also remember that as I have previously mentioned that the company is effectively managed by Bajans, which also has nothing to do with the bigger issue at hand), is short sighted. So you are suggesting that flight cancellations, crew sickness, pilot sickness, airline maintenance, oil prices, seasonal demand, are all going to be cured by moving to Barbados; I do not think that is true, sir.


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