Hours after the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) reopened following the passage of Tropical Storm Dorian, passengers on LIAT are still trying to confirm their flights to their various destinations today.
Passengers bitterly complained that they have been left in the dark and to fend for themselves with some saying they were not allowed to even check-in but advised to wait in the airport, as information would be shared with them periodically on the status of their flights.
Some passengers lamented that while they understand that LIAT’s hands were tied by the forces of nature, it was the lack of regular communication as well as the apparent absence of any contingency plan for stranded passengers booked on LIAT flights, that was vexing to them.
“I am here since this morning and I have my four children with me. They are young children and they are sleepy but there is no provision made for us. We are just expected to sit here and make out however we can. We are not getting information and every time we have to go to the (LIAT) counter to get some sort of update, but they never have anything new to tell us.
“This is just not good enough service; you can’t assume that people have money at the end of their trip. So, I am really nervous right now,” said one Guyanese passenger, who didn’t want to be identified.
Equally vocal about the state of affairs was Umadel Barathsingh, who told Barbados TODAY that she was a diabetic, low on medication. She revealed that she has already spent over $200 in taxi fare to and from the airport since yesterday, only to be told once more that she would have to wait and see if she would be able to get a flight home.
“I was here yesterday morning at about 7 a.m. because the girl told me that the flight is on. I told them that I didn’t have my suitcase and she told me to go and get it but when I come back the airport was cleared out. I had to take a taxi and go home, so that make
three fares. Now I am here this morning I don’t know what is going on,” said Barathsingh
This morning LIAT announced the cancellation of flights to and from Barbados, affecting Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Martinique, Grenada, St Lucia, Guyana, Antigua and Dominica.
LIAT’s Communications Officer Shavar Maloney told Barbados TODAY that the reopening of the airport in Barbados was only part of the equation as the system was still affecting other areas along the airline’s route. In addition, Maloney explained that as of noon today, LIAT was still awaiting the official word from other regional
airports that they were open to receiving flights.
“We are still waiting on paperwork from a number of other airports. We also had to do some reworking of our flights because we have no planes stationed in Barbados and those planes have to come from elsewhere and the weather system is affecting other areas. We are doing our best to provide our passengers with the necessary information, but we can only do so when the updates come to hand,” said Maloney.
This morning CEO of GAIA inc Neville Boxill made it clear that there were no problems from Barbados’ end and that while there some delays with international flights, there were no cancellations on that front. “We were ready since 7 this morning and everything is good from our end. LIAT’s situation is a little more complicated and I am sure they will outline things to their customers as the day progresses,” he said.