Representatives of LIAT’s management and the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) met Wednesday at LIAT’s headquarters in Antigua to discuss issues relating to the industrial action by LIALPA on Monday that led to several flights being cancelled and hundreds of passengers being stranded.
The meeting was conducted in a cordial atmosphere with LIALPA’s team led by its Chairman, Captain Carl Burke, while LIAT’s team was led by acting Chief Executive Officer Julie Reifer-Jones, LIAT said on Thursday.
“The LIAT acting CEO welcomed the LIALPA delegation and it was agreed that the meeting would serve as a forum to listen to LIALPA’s concerns and to determine the way forward.
“The company’s management acknowledged that there are legitimate concerns on the part of LIALPA and it was agreed that both sides would continue discussions in an effort to address the issues,” the airline said in a statement.
“LIAT continues to seek to restore normal operations and efforts to get dislocated passengers to their various destinations as quickly as possible are on-going.
“LIAT acknowledges with regret the inconvenience and disruption passengers throughout the region have experienced,” the statement further said.
Meanwhile, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister and chair of LIAT shareholder governments, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, said Thursday that he is “absolutely fed up” with the constant industrial action plaguing the regional airline.
He told the Caribbean Media Corporation that he was he was “fed up” with the “self inflicted wounds” on the Antigua-based carrier.
“Maybe everybody simply needs to take a breather and read the Psalms or Proverbs,” he said
“The amount of money that we are putting in this airline, the shareholders, and more people are getting interested. I just talked to the President of the Regional Council of Martinique and he’s interested in getting on board as an equity partner in LIAT, but this kinda foolishness must stop,” Gonsalves further told CMC.
LIAT pilots walked off their jobs on Monday and their union blamed “misguided and ill-informed decisions” taken by the airline’s management for the action.
LIAT’s major shareholder governments are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St, Vincent and the Grenadines.