ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – The regional airline, LIAT, has defended its record of operations saying that its flight cancellations were low as compared to the existing situation in the global airline industry.
“Our operational performance is certainly not where we would we want it to be, and we owe it to our customers to deliver real improvements,” the Antigua-based airline said, following criticisms levelled by the head of the Barbados-based National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), Denis Clarke.
Clarke had been very critical of the airline, which is owned by the governments of Barbados, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda.
The veteran trade unionist had been stuck in Antigua last week due to flight problems and described the cash-strapped LIAT’s operations as “bedlam”.
But in its statement defending its record, LIAT said while it respects the position taken by Clarke, its average punctuality over the last six years has been 67 per cent, and that it has been forced to cancel between one and two flights daily in comparison to the one to two per cent average of the global airline industry.
LIAT said delays and cancellations can happen for a myriad of reasons including maintenance, weather, crew availability, airport handling, Air Traffic Control, government clearance procedures, and that its complex schedule “inevitably brings pressure on operational integrity.”
“We are therefore looking at ways to simplify and streamline our schedule, while maintaining our core route network. This may mean reducing some flights in order to make the overall schedule more reliable. We intend that these changes will be in place by the end of October 2014.”