ST. JOHN’S ANTIGUA- Friday December 16, 2011-Regional airline LIAT is re-assuring its customers of continued service during the holiday season, saying it will be maintaining its scheduled services.
This comes as customers of the carrier remains on edge following last week’s industrial action by pilots.
As what can be considered the busiest travelling days of the year draw closer, LIAT in a statement issued on Thursday outlined “the company confirms that efforts are continuing to respond to the various labour and other issues which have caused our customers to be concerned about further disruptions to our schedule.”
The airline said it remains in dialogue with the Leeward Islands Airlines Pilots Association (LIALPA) on areas of concern to the pilots’ union in discussions, which have remained frank and respectful.
Operations across LIAT’s network halted on December 6, 2011 for three days, when pilots reported sick, following the dismissal of veteran cockpit crew member and Chairman of LIALPA Captain Michael Blackburn. The senior pilot was sacked allegedly for reports he made on a local radio station deemed controversial by the airline’s management.
The industrial action resulted in thousands of passengers being stranded within LIAT’s network, and the company losing approximately one million dollars daily, according to one prime minister, whose government is a major shareholder in the airline.
Though pilots have returned to work, tension remains between LIALPA and the airline’s management, the latter not relenting on its decision to sack Captain Blackburn. Mediation talks between the two sides chaired by Antigua’s Minister of Labour Dr. Errol Cort also broke down last week, but LIAT is hoping for a resolution, noting “discussions are also on-going with various unions aimed at addressing a number of the other concerns which have arisen between the company and its employees.”