ST JOHN’S — LIAT yesterday apologised to customers for its “numerous” flight delays and cancellations over the past few weeks and sought to give explanations.
A press statement quoted Chief Executive Officer, Ian Brunton, as saying the disruptions were caused by a combination of factors and that the airline is taking “urgent and decisive” steps to address its issues.
“These include, among other things, an increase in unscheduled maintenance at a time when our schedule calls for maximum aircraft availability; crew shortages; bad weather; airport limitations; and delays in obtaining licences for operating our new ATR aircraft in some territories,” Brunton reportedly said.
Tropical Storm Chantal, which affected the Caribbean island chain earlier this month, forced LIAT to cancel 30 flights on July 9.
“Additionally, strong surface winds have been affecting our flights into and out of St Vincent while unfavourable weather conditions have affected flights to and from Dominica,” the CEO said.
Limitations at various airports around the region were also identified by the airline company as affecting its operations.
“(The) early closure of the VC Bird International Airport in Antigua due to runway works, the late opening of the airport in Guadeloupe, and runway lights not working at the airport in St Kitts, have all helped to contribute to the current disruptive situation in our operation,” Brunton said.
He also noted that, although the months of July and August are usually the busiest for LIAT as many holidaymakers and others travel during the summer, LIAT has been unable to transport several customers to their various destinations in a timely manner.
“In light of the current challenges, I would like to appeal to our customers for their continued patience and understanding and assure you that we are doing all we can to return to normalcy in the shortest possible time,” the airline boss said.
Brunton also expressed his gratitude to the airline’s staff members that, he notes, have come under tremendous pressure in recent times, “especially those employees on the frontline who have been faced with the challenges of handling the disruptions.” (Antigua Observer)