An opposition lawmaker has criticised regional airline LIAT for the poor implementation of its re-fleeting exercise, which has resulted in long delays and cancelled flights across the region.
The problems came to a head over the last week weeks as the airline struggles to keep up with peak demand even as some of its pilots are in France being trained to fly larger ATR aircraft, which will replace the current Dash-8 fleet.
MP for West Kingstown, Daniel Cummings, said the situation has “the whole region in a mess.
“It’s not just the problems of people inconvenienced and can’t find their luggage and so on. It is what it does to the intraregional tourism product,” Cummings said on radio Tuesday night.
“People who normally go and spend the extra weekend in Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, for the different festivals and so on, these numbers have been reduced significantly, because not only the cost of flying but the hassle.
“You want to go to Grenada, you can’t even get a direct flight. You have to wait hours in Barbados and St. Lucia and so on,” he further said.
“I mean, that is very hard; and the boss man keeps touting this LIAT as if people hate LIAT,” he said in an apparent reference to Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves.
“People don’t hate LIAT. People hate the stupid management in LIAT — disgraceful management,” Cummings said.
Meanwhile, chairman of LIAT’s board of director, Dr. Jean Holder, apologised Friday for the disruptions.
He said the public should have been informed earlier about the disruption in service that would result from the on-going re-fleeting exercise.
(Read also: LIAT chairman apologises for disruptions caused by re-fleeting)
If SVG PM and LIAT don’t want travellers to criticize the carrier, LIAT (and PM as explainer) must get their act together. I am a frequent flyer…other airlines go through that kind of process all the time but do no not end up with that kind of chaos…LIAT change aircrafts every blue moon and everything goes nuts…don’t they know about scheduling (re-shuffle)?
If it wasn’t for “JAWS” I would swim.
During my travel to SVG this year I had to go from St. Lucia to Barbados, stayed there for several hours, before I came to St. Vincent late at night. I should have taken the Santa Maria or the Nina. This is ridiculous! St. Lucia is just a stone throw away from SVG, yet travellers have to go to Barbados to get to SVG. I have to agree the planners are incompetent. It would take a total boycott of travelling in the Caribbean to bring them to their senses.
Those who control LIAT are forcing travellers to Barbados, to boost its economy. But this is on the backs of unfortunate travellers, who have no other way to get to SVG and Dominica.
The other islands have larger airport and folk can use one carrier to get to their destination. SVG nationals are so fed up, that they are blind to the Argyle airport fiasco. Incidentally, Ralph is using this frustration to boost his support for another term. He doesn’t care about the problem Vincentians encounter travelling from North America or the EU. He’s laughing all the way to the political bank.
Next time I plan to travel to St. Lucia and get a boat to pick me up from there. I don’t care if it cost me more money for the trip, as long as I get to SVG on my time, not LIAT’s .
LIAT managers with the help of SVG, B/dos and Antigua governments destroy any competition to the airline. They produce all kinds of half-arse rules to block other companies from competing against LIAT.
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