Scores stranded as result of LIAT pilots’ strike

Scores of passengers were left stranded at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) on Friday, as pilots employed by regional airline LIAT staged protest action.

This follows a breakdown in talks on Friday morning between management of the Antigua-based carrier and representatives of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA).

LIAT pilots today staged protest action leaving scores of passengers stranded at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

In a statement this afternoon, the airline’s Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones did not go into details on the latest impasse, but apologized to the passengers for the inconvenience caused by the pilots’ action.

“LIAT apologizes for these disruptions to our passengers and their plans and wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with LIALPA to resolve any issues,” Reifer-Jones said in the statement, adding that management was working to restore regular operations as soon as possible.

In the meantime, reports reaching Barbados TODAY were that passengers were left with no way to turn.

One woman, who arrived on a British Airways flight this afternoon with an onward connection to St Vincent, complained that passengers, including the disabled, have been left to fend for themselves.

“We have no idea when we are going to leave Barbados. There are disabled people here and LIAT is not taking responsibility. They haven’t even offered us as much as a glass of water,” she said.

There has been no official word from LIALPA on the latest impasse. However,  in recent months the pilots have been at odds with the airline’s management over pay, with the pilots refusing to fly LIAT’s ATR 72 aircraft unless they were compensated for the additional responsibility of flying those larger planes.

6 Responses to Scores stranded as result of LIAT pilots’ strike

  1. Sonia Small
    Sonia Small November 11, 2017 at 12:21 am

    really people does still use this silly service

  2. Alex Alleyne November 11, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Nothing NEW , LIAT want shutting down. Remove all POLITICS from this Company and let us star a new Air Line. “CARICOM AIRLINES” with all Islands paying their fare share. All CARICOM given a CARICOM ID-CARD to travel “FREELY IN CARICOM”.

  3. BimJim November 11, 2017 at 9:52 am

    If the politics were removed and LIAT were run as a commercial operation, it is very reasonable to assume that for the past few decades no island would be paying any share at all.

    As has been the norm for mat least the last 50 years, LIAT has a Board of people who know nothing about aviation, far less a fast-moving regional airline, and has a top management who seem to know even less.

    The current CEO is an accountant with ZERO prior experience in aviation – her professed “qualification” for the position is that she loves LIAT.

    Bear in mind that in order to award her the position LIAT bypassed SEVERAL highly qualified and skilled CEOs who could have turned LIAT around, but in their interviews they were disqualified because they spoke that forbidden word “change”. Clearly the shareholder Prime Ministers gave strict orders that this long unbroken line of incompetence must continue, whatever the cost to taxpayers and inconvenience to passengers.

    See those ATRs? Trinidad is now coming to grips at government level with the abysmal choice made at Caribbean Airlines management level in order ensure SOMEbody got a fat sweet pot full of kick-backs. To hell with the taxpayer, he got his and then moved on to soak the LIAT and BahamasAir taxpayers as well.

    But in LIAT this particular instance is another example in a long line of examples of management not knowing, or not being interested in knowing, how their relationships with professional bodies are affected. Going by the LIALPA statement, this particular instance is a matter of refusing to follow protocol – and simple reason – and blundering ahead with their own timetable regardless of how it could affect the industrial harmony.

    There is a single word that may describe the Board and management of LIAT for the 45 years I have been intimate with the airline, and that one word is “incompetence”.

    And that one word has cost the LIAT shareholder taxpayers countless of hundreds of millions of US dollars over the decades.

    LIAT is dead. Long live LIAT.

  4. Milli Watt November 11, 2017 at 9:56 am

    woman + manager + from Barbados = brilliant idea to hire scab labour but < the power of a strong union to mek she hear. this inept management class could only do that in Barbados and get away with it because of a hand tuh mount labour group. MEK DEM HEAR LIALPA MEK DEM HEAR.

  5. Alex Alleyne November 11, 2017 at 10:36 am

    @BimJIM, your ‘essay’ on LIAT is always “spot-on” . Maybe with such insight, you were employed there in the past.
    On having the Islands pay into LIAT (with on say/strings attach) will do well with the extra coppers for the first 10 years. After it’s up and doing well, them “CUT-THEM LOOSE”.

  6. BimJim November 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    Alex Alleyne, I did work at LIAT – for 16 years. And I spent a few of those years in a privileged position where I could see much of the political BS going on.

    I found the Board and management political, lying, abusive, ignorant, incompetent, and in every aspect unfit to run any airline.

    For instance, Jamaica (then a LIAT shareholder) asked LIAT to extend the Antigua-San Juan-Santiago (DR) flight to Kingston. LIALPA wase asked to make an exception to the contract, and agreed, but Trinidad (then also a LIAT shareholder) stepped on everybody’s toes and said that was a BWIA route.

    At the time BWIA did NOT fly into the DR, but LIAT was cut off and the flights were not scheduled. But shortly thereafter, BWIA terminated its Kingston-Antigua flights (no specific reason given). The LIAT line pilots and employees never knew about any of this.

    FACT: LIAT shareholders need NOT have contributed a penny to LIAT over the last two decades – if the shareholder Prime Ministers had allowed proper professional management to be employed and installed.

    FACT: With respect to ownership, all the demands by Comrade Gonsalves – correctly refused by Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts – were purely and simply so he – Gonsalves – as Shareholder Chairman of LIAT could continue down the merry path of losses and not have to face that boogeyman CHANGE.

    FACT: Over the last two decades the LIAT shareholder PMs installed one friend or another as CEO to “try a ting” or “see what they could do” without having the slightest background in aviation.

    FACT: Jrean Holder has been Chairman of LIAT for so long I don’t remember who was Chairman befoire him. In my opinion he holds that position because he has political friends… his performance over the last three decades has produced several books on tourism, but zero on advancement or betterment of LIAT. Any Board Member in a civilised part of the world where actual demonstrated performance is a benchmark would have been hurled through the Board Room window a very long time ago.

    I could go on and on, but by now you should have got the drift.

    LIAT needs competent airline management, with changes implemented by someone who has broad global aviation qualifications and experience – and knows what will work from his experience with or observation of other airlines. An accountant brings NOTHING to our airline but the same old “try a ting” or “see what you could do”. At least the last two trying fools has a vague brush with aviation.

    The crying shame is that WE, the taxpayers, pay through the nose for all these privileged people to pontificate and play their stupid political games.


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