ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday August 13, 2013 – The regional airline LIAT yesterday warned passengers to brace for more travelling woes this week after one of its new aircraft was grounded “as a result of a technical issue”.
In a statement, the airline told passengers that “its operations continue to be affected by numerous challenges throughout its network” and that despite the re-fleeting exercise LIAT continues to operate its scheduled passenger and cargo service and carry out scheduled and unscheduled maintenance on its entire fleet of aircraft including the Dash 8 and new ATR 72.
“LIAT is also responding to traditionally high demand during the summer peak. This combination of factors has resulted in significant challenges for the company exacerbated by the grounding of one of the company’s new ATR aircraft in Barbados Sunday as a result of a technical issue.”
The airline said the French-made aircraft “is likely to remain out of service for the remainder of this week as the matter is being addressed.
“The technical issue concerns a higher than normal oil consumption. The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and as such the Aircraft will only be returned to service after the issue is resolved.”
LIAT said that recent staff issues in Dominica and Barbados have further exacerbated the challenges and “while the company is doing everything to minimise the effects on its customers, they are being advised that for the coming days further disruptions to the schedule are likely to take place.
“LIAT will continue to make every effort to mitigate the disruptions. We will also continue to issue timely, informative and up-to-date Passenger Communication Advisories at all stations” through its social media sites and directly to customers.
“The company regrets and would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience to its customers as a result of the current challenges. We are doing all we can and we will provide open and honest communication to you while we seek to normalize the situation for our valued customers by providing the care and support that you deserve.”
Earlier on Monday, prominent Dominican businessman Gregor Nassief said LIAT is contributing to the damage of fragile economies in the Caribbean through its poor service, especially over the past few weeks.
In an open letter to the board of directors of the cash-strapped airline, Gregor Nassief, a hotelier and president of Tecsys Latin America, wrote of eight weeks of customer service “which continues to this day due to lack of foresight and planning on the part of LIAT’s executives, and second because of LIAT’s disastrous public relations which has revealed the depth of your executives’ indifference to your customers”.
Over the last weekend, LIAT’s chief executive officer Ian Brunton said the travelling public would continue to face problems even as the airline improves upon its bumpy summer schedule.
But Brunton dismissed criticisms that the problems are associated with the airline’s decision to undertake its re-fleeting exercise.
Brunton told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that while the situation regarding the problems being experienced by passengers it is not ideal, LIAT had little choice..