LIAT flights on schedule
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, Friday announced that all its flights were operating on schedule, three days after pilots took industrial action in support of their dismissed colleague, Captain Michael Blackburn.
A brief statement from the airline gave no indication as to whether or not an agreement had been reached with the striking employees, noting that “no flight cancellations were planned”.
“Passengers who wish to check on the status of their flight may do so via the Company’s website or by calling the LIAT Call Centre from Antigua…for information on the status of their flights,” the airline said.
The airline, which operates 110 schedule flights daily, had been forced to cancel many of them during the week leaving thousands of passengers across the region stranded.
The airline has maintained its position regarding the decision to dismiss the experienced Blackburn indicating there were “appropriate remedies” for their grievance under the established procedures of the Labour Code and other legislation.
Chairman of the unions within the LIAT system, Grenadian trade unionist, Chester Humphrey had warned of an escalation of the strike by the pilots
Humphrey said that Blackburn had been dismissed for statements he made in his capacity as a trade union leader and warned that the action would not be accepted.
“…he was dismissed summarily for an offence that is not of a summary nature and he had no opportunity to be heard or offer a defence. It is clear to me that Captain Blackburn had been targeted,” he added.
But even as the airline was reporting a return to normalcy, the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) was reminding LIAT’s management of its intention to take industrial action in their dispute over pension payments if certain action was not taken by the company by December 15.
Efforts to contact the pilots union on Friday have so far proved fruitless, since it is a public holiday here.