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A LIAT ATR-72 aircraft.
A LIAT ATR-72 aircraft.
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St. JOHN’S, Antigua — Regional carrier, LIAT, on Wednesday evening announced the cancellation of several flights on Thursday and warned its passengers to expect delays on the flights that do operate, as negotiations on Wednesday failed to end the on-going industrial action.

LIAT said the on-going disruptions to its schedule are caused by the on-going industrial action by the members of the Leeward Island Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA).

The cash-strapped airline said that passengers who have been affected would be allowed to rebook within the next two weeks with all change fees waived.

“We strongly advise our passengers to contact LIAT’s call centre for rebooking or advice on travel,” LIAT spokesperson, Shavar Maloney said.

Maloney also announced that the following flights have been cancelled for Thursday, June 8, 2017:

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  • LI 527 from Tortola and St. Kitts
  • LI 392 from Guyana to Barbados
  • LI 512 from Antigua and St. Kitts
  • LI 335 from Barbados to Trinidad
  • LI 336 from Trinidad to Barbados

“Passengers are also advised to expect delays on the services which will operate.

LIAT sincerely apologises for these disruptions and will keep you informed of all developments,” Maloney said, adding that a further advisory will be given at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Maloney said that the management of LIAT held discussions with representatives of LIALPA on Wednesday at the airline’s Antigua headquarters.

The talks were aimed at find a resolution for the current industrial impasse in which pilots are refusing to fly the airline’s ATR-72 — the larger of its two types of aircraft — because of a pay dispute.

Maloney said that during the meeting, LIAT’s management tabled a proposal that would have seen the pilots receiving salary increases with respect to the ATR 72 coming into effect from July 19, 2017.

The payment of the retroactive ATR pay adjustment for July 2013 to 2017 would be paid in three instalments by October 2017.

The settlement of other retroactive pay would be paid in six instalments commencing the pilots pay period in December 2017.

Maloney said: “This more-than-reasonable offer submitted by the company took into consideration the company’s obligations to other employee groups as well as suppliers.

“Regrettably this proposal to LIALPA has been rejected.”

The LIAT spokesperson said that the airline recognises air transportation to be essential to the economies of the Caribbean and the activities of its people.

“The Management, in an effort to ensure continuance of this service to the region, is again calling for LIAT to be designated as an essential service in Antigua and Barbuda,” Maloney said.

He said LIAT “continues and strives to maintain the critical connections throughout the Caribbean and sincerely apologises to its valued customers for these disruptions caused by on-going industrial action.

“We will continue to keep you informed of developments over the next few days,” Maloney said.