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.