Regional airline LIAT says it is taking “urgent and decisive steps” to address a series of challenges that have resulted in numerous flight delays and cancellations over the past few weeks.
In a statement on Wednesday, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of LIAT, Ian Brunton apologised for the inconvenience caused to the airline’s customers and sought to assure those being affected that every effort is being made to get them to their various destinations safely and as quickly as possible.
He said LIAT is implementing both short and long-term fixes to alleviate the problems which have resulted in a severe strain on the airline’s operations.
“The disruptions being faced by LIAT at this time are caused by a combination of factors. 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 said.
“As a result of Tropical Storm Chantal we were forced 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.
“Airport limitations such as early closure of the V.C. 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 further stated.
The months of July and August are usually two of the busiest for LIAT with high volumes of vacationers and other people making trips during the summer but Brunton said due to the current challenges the airline 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,” Brunton said.
Brunton also thanked the staff throughout the LIAT network who 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.