LIAT withdraws pilot suspension letters

A LIAT aircraft
A LIAT aircraft

Regional airline, LIAT, has withdrawn suspension letters issued to president of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association, (LIALPA) Carl Burke and Barbadian pilot, Neil Cave.

Chairman of LIAT, Dr. Jean Holder, has also announced that all pilots on strike are back on the job while at the same time reassuring travelers that normal service will return as the day progresses.

The suspension of the two pilots was at the heart of the crippling action by pilots of the airline which left travelers stranded across the region.

According to the Barbados TODAY,  Cave and Burke were suspended following the grounding of an aircraft for technical repairs on Saturday.

The newspapers stated that Cave, who was scheduled to fly the plane, “was apparently not satisfied that the appropriate test procedure was used before bringing the aircraft back into operation.”

“He also reportedly highlighted discrepancies with the official paperwork and this led to his suspension the same day,” the Barbados TODAY reported.

It is further reported that Cave brought the matter to LIALPA and Burke tried to intervene on his behalf during a meeting with Director of Flight Operations, Captain George Arthurton, but he was also placed on suspension.

After the withdrawal of the suspension letter, LIALPA issued a press release on Wednesday morning on the matter.

Below is the full release.

The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) would like to inform the Caribbean people that due to misguided and ill-informed decisions taken by management, an emergency meeting of the Association took place in Antigua to brief its membership about the repercussions of management’s unfortunate actions and to chart the way forward.

According to our Association’s constitution, this emergency meeting required a specific percentage of pilots at a specific base to be in attendance. Due to numerous crews being out on overnights and others away on training in the United States and France, it was necessary to have all remaining crews in the respective bases attend. The crews were immediately released for duty at the end of the meeting.

As a result of this, all departures from Antigua and Barbados were affected, and many of you suffered disruptions to your travel plans. For this, we sincerely apologize. Please be assured that our decisions to hold the emergency meeting was not taken lightly but we had no other choice due to the serious nature of the impulsive and reckless actions of management. We also had legitimate concerns about LIAT’s flight operations which we communicated to the company via several e-mails and telephone exchanges.

Eventually, good sense prevailed and management withdrew the suspensions of two (2) pilots, one (1) of the pilots being our Association President. He had been suspended on Monday at a meeting with management, while acting in his capacity as a Union Representative to address the issue of the other suspended pilot. Management has also guaranteed the pilots a meeting this morning Wednesday 6th November 2013 with Acting CEO Ms. Julie Reifer-Jones, to discuss the chain of events that led to this impasse. The outcome of this meeting will determine the way forward for both parties.

We continue to pledge to you the traveling public that we are taking a reasonable and responsible position in dealing with these matters. We do this because of our unwavering commitment to you, our unrelenting dedication to your best interests in the long-term, and with the best interests of the airline’s future survival at the forefront.

Once again, we apologize to the general public and any inconveniences caused by flight disruptions, are deeply regretted.

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41 Comments

  1. NWO
    November 8, 2013

    To Ron C especially, A group of persons should never be disallowed their constitutional right to oppose victimization and all other forms of suppression. I suggest you do more research into the incident as it occurred, the heavy handed manner of management and what has so far become of it. Skerrit has made an emboldened plea to make the pilots an essential service, what nonsense! He should dialogue with his colleague, PM Spencer before jumping on other peoples’ mindset, God knows the man lacks intellect. The economic hollow this move would ensure for Antigua would be far reaching. Rather than speak such nonsense maybe practice a little jurisprudence and follow leaders like Anthony and Mitchel who demand better management in Liat before pumping their tax payers hard earned money into a company so terribly run by incompetent toads for decade after decade. Liat’s failure can never be blamed on the pilots, a group of dedicated professionals who keep this airline together at the seams. When patience runs out they have no other option but to exercise their legal right. Ron C, why don’t you challenge management to find the right toad guilty as charged for the 3 day disruption and have him removed from office once and for all?
    Liats’ inept management have for too long remained blameless for the constant industrial corner they have forced pilots and other employees in. Demand Skerrit get some sense, or seek proper advice, and demand accountability for our tax dollars thrown into that conundrum called LIAT.

  2. Santa Claus
    November 7, 2013

    Anytime I see or hear anything about LIAT I am reminded of Skerrit’s failed policies, poor management, and no vision. No wonder Skerrit spent $8 million on them and dumped several millions on Melville hall for LIAT to do night landing.

  3. hardcore
    November 7, 2013

    liat needs to stop apologizing day in day in day out………this is ridiculous. Here’s a smart idea: throw in competion and liat must BUCK UP

  4. UDOHREADYET
    November 7, 2013

    Look up mismanagement in the dictionary and you’ll see LIAT in bold letters.

  5. toni
    November 7, 2013

    I really dnt see how some people are so bias. how would you fell if that pilot had taken the risk and after take off the plane crash knowingly that there was a fault some of you would be singing lawsuit now. well my flight was cancel am happy am alive. well down Carl and Cave love you guys

    • Elizabeth Lewis
      November 7, 2013

      this is so true make all the sense in the world

  6. Child of the 70's
    November 7, 2013

    Dear DOM CITIZEN, What has happened to negotiations before suspension? Are you DOM or DUMB? Giving notice or deadlines for industrial action does not serve the purpose. Charles Savarin, the so called current President of Dominica taught that to us. Why don’t you ask him about the effectiveness of such action? Which is most important, the financial position of the airline, or the safety of employees and passengers? Consider the worse scenario if a plane had crashed due to the concerns raised by the employee and the financial impact of suits and counter suits. Is is a good thing you are a DOM (DUMB) CITIZEN and not DOMINICAN CITIZEN

    • Anonymous
      November 7, 2013

      true their brains were not in geer before their emotion kicked off

  7. Santa Claus
    November 7, 2013

    Whenever I see or hear anything on Liat I am immediately reminded of Skerrit’s failed polices and his visionless spending.

    • Roughcake
      November 7, 2013

      What a Jackass you are.

  8. Dominican4real
    November 7, 2013

    I applaud president of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association Carl Burke and Barbadian pilot, Neil Cave. Thanks for not taking any chances with the lives of the crew and passengers. Also, remember the pilot cannot put his life in danger; he is also on the plane. “Safety first.” Thanks again and God be praised.

  9. john bess
    November 7, 2013

    I am stuck in dominica and loving it,cant wait for the uwp to build the international airport !

  10. November 7, 2013

    Congratulations to the Pilot who refused to fly because of concern to his safety and the safety of others. He should not be fired, he should be commended. SHAME ON YOU LIAT.

  11. November 7, 2013

    What has happened to negotiaions BEFORE you go on strike FOR ANY ISSUE, or giving deadlines & NOTICE of industrial action before you PENALIZE by strikes not only management, but the company’s FINANCIAL position (ability to PAY YOU strikers!!!) and especially, the TOTAL INCONVENIENCE caused to PASSENGERS who provide MOST of the revenues to pay salaries at LIAT!!! This CONSTANT indiscipline & forced SUFFERING must stop!
    It is time that LIAT be declared an ESSENTIAL SERVICE FOR THE protection OF PASSENGERS & THE TOURISM SECTOR..

    • John Paul
      November 7, 2013

      LIAT is known for it’s corruption.it needs to be purged and those who manage it should be held accountable.it is time that this stops being a freebee organization that is exploited by those who run it .

  12. Ron C
    November 7, 2013

    In the interest of good taste and respect for other readers,I will not use the kind of language I really wanted to use. Just to say though that the LIALPA’s apology is certainly not enough. The travelling public was never given any consideration in the action that took place. Infact it is reasonable to deduce that a number of travellers were left stranded across the Eastern Caribbean even as the pilots made their way to Antigua for their meeting before the industrial action officially began. This abominable action coming as it were failed to consider the situation of the airline weeks after the most miserable summer for the airline.

    What about the travellers who could not report to work at a certain time because of the pilot’s action? What about the economy of the various countries which depend on tourist arrivals/revenues? Unfortunately too, LIAT’s management is so incompetent that by their actions they failed to forestall such an action. What of the future? LIALPA, you suck…..!!!

    • from no where
      November 7, 2013

      Would you preferred that the airline dropped in midair?

  13. Anita
    November 7, 2013

    Let me see if I got this right. A pilot complained about safety procedures not being followed and he gets suspended (http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2013/11/05/bajan-pilot-and-union-boss-at-heart-of-liat-strike/) ???? Can someone explain to me why the Chairman has not resigned? He clearly is unable to resolve the human resource issues between management and staff while overseeing some of the worse customer service passengers have ever had to endure while paying exorbitant fares for air travel. Passengers deserve better than this . Where else in the world would he be allowed to stay in the job? It is time for renewal of more than the fleet, heads need to roll at the very highest level in this airline.

    Mr. Skerrit, This is a management problem that needs to be resolved at the management/shareholder level. passing laws preventing staff from striking is not the solution for an airline and is the very weakest form of management. What you are suggesting is that since management cannot resolve the personnel issues at LIAT then lets pass some laws to prevent staff from withholding their services. This will not resolve the staffing issues and will probably make the atmosphere even more poisonous between management and the employees. As a passenger the only thing I want the pilots of LIAT to be worrying about is getting me from one destination to another safely and on time without the constant distractions of management.
    Anita

    • dafriend
      November 7, 2013

      You are absolutely spot on. I cannot blame the pilot if the story is true. ‘Safety first’ is the name of the game. The party to blame is as usual the management of LIAT. Same old, nothing new. Get rid of these incompetent individuals!

    • John Paul
      November 7, 2013

      This will also accelerate the danger posed to the
      pilots and Customers who fly on LIAT!

  14. Islander
    November 7, 2013

    Not only are Liat Management and Directors not interested in its customer’s traveling convenience now we see its not interested in their safety if it disrupts schedules. When will Management realize its customers want a complete shake up of Liat staff and operating methods

  15. danger
    November 6, 2013

    LLIAT needs to go away. I am over 50 years old, and LIAT always have a don’t care attitude. We need LAWSUITS, LAWSUITS, LAWSUITS. Do you know how many connecting flights I have missed going to the USA. And everything was at my own cost. I know people who have lost their jobs because of LIAT. We know sometimes not all thing are controlled by them, by a lot of times is because their brain is under their food. They are sinking already, just let them sink. They don’t give a heck about the general public.

    LIAT has be in service so long, they should be a multi billion dollar company. Black controlled businesses, sports, entertainment etc., always have so much problems. Other races, unite and come together, that’s why they stay afloat no matter what. LIAT has no Accountability, or Responsibility for their actions. Go Away LIAT. Best we get a more expensive Airline that is Responsible and Accountable.

  16. danger
    November 6, 2013

    I over 50 years old. Since I am born, LIAT has no respect for their passengers. Where they leave you that is where you have to stay and fend for yourself. LAWSUITS, LAWSUITS, LAWSUITS. That is the only solution if these managers have a heart. They are sinking already, so-be-it. I have loose so many connecting flights to the USA already.

    I know some who have lost their jobs, money, time etc. due to LIAT’s don’t care attitude. I am black. Black people need to unite more. Don’t you see anything black owned don’t last. In sports, Entertainment, etc., they fail almost 90%. All other rai

  17. More Power
    November 6, 2013

    What a travesty on the part of LIAT. Well done pilots, that’s people power.

  18. Helas!
    November 6, 2013

    All I want is for the govt. to cease funding LIAT
    Management may have a problem but the pilots first action is to choke Dominica.

    An 8 million dollar choke hold. Other countries could do alternative travel, not us.

    And then they were not satisfied they had their meeting while we sweated and then they were moving so so slow a lady commented you can only go this slow in the air

  19. Mee3
    November 6, 2013

    wait a while, so you mean a pilot did not feeling comfortable with the way a plane was serviced and he is being suspended?. What de i hearing der nuh. I thought the man would be praised by the authorities for making sure the customers are safe instead they suspend him. That is why things will continue to go bad at liat. People sitting in offices think they know it all and care less about people, all they care about is their big pay cheque. One day liat, one day.

  20. Anonymous
    November 6, 2013

    good call pilots…. safety first

  21. Lang Kabwit
    November 6, 2013

    We Caribbean people are really fed up Liat and their useless management team. Can you believe they suspended a pilot because he was not satisfied with the appropriate test procedure and paperworks. Liat does not have the people’s safefty at heart they just pretend. Don’t they feel embarrassed for treating their pilots with such disgust. They still have the audacity to say good sense prevail in what sense? Jean Holder needs to go and rest his wary bones so long he is their enjoying benefits, wining and dining at trade shows and coming back with no new ideas. The entire management needs to go where is Gregor Nassief?

  22. Negbawi
    November 6, 2013

    Its appears the Pilot is also a mechanic…he disregarded the report of the director of flight operations…more power to LIAT Pilots.

    Next time you are not given coffee in the cockpit call a strike and screw the travelling public

    • :P
      November 6, 2013

      Not sure what you are trying to say????

    • sense
      November 6, 2013

      you really do have sense, I will glad if all pilot was like that, If the plain did crash a jack like you would find all kind of things to say, you need help you idiot. You lucky is on DNO you come and say that crap your………..boy boy…..nonsense man DNO should not even post that, because that just get me vex.

    • maindesk
      November 6, 2013

      The pilot always has the last say. It is his tail in the air not the engineer when the trouble develops

    • Anonymous
      November 7, 2013

      Senario: If Capt Cave had taken the aircraft out and something catastrophic happens. What would your reaction be..Do remember that the mechanic no have control in the air it’s the Captains call..I have known a flight to be delayed when the windscreen wiper wasn’t working on a clear blue sky day…And it was sunny…The Pilot made the call purely based on safety concerns….Anything happen a Pilot first get ask question if they live to answer them…Nuff Sed

      • Anonymous
        November 8, 2013

        Good point. Brave pilot. LIAT gets to maintain its safety record because of great pilots.

    • Anita
      November 7, 2013

      You are an idiot. A pilots primary responsibility is the safety of the passengers. How many passengers have lost their lives because technical staff failed to follow established procedures to ensure the safety of the traveling public. When you start overlooking the procedures, people die.
      Anita

  23. Shameless
    November 6, 2013

    When shortsightedness become the norm in any company we all suffer. LIAT’s management should have known that you cannot suspend or fire the pilot simply because he refused to fly an aircraft that he deemed unsafe. His primary function is to ensure the safety of the flying public. Kuddos to the flight crew for putting passengers ahead of profits. But, Change Must Come and that include at LIAT.

    Assertive, NOT Agressive!

    • Anonymous
      November 6, 2013

      That is why liat should pay the people hotel they cause the strik

  24. November 6, 2013

    LIAT again , another poor decision.

  25. uhhmmmmm
    November 6, 2013

    meant STRIKING

  26. grell
    November 6, 2013

    management of liat are a bunch of kids,if a pilot feel a plane is not safe why should he put passengers @ risk liat needs a major overhaul,i would start by getting antigua out of the way as the hub.

  27. uhhmmmmm
    November 6, 2013

    United we stand divided we fall….liat pave the way others must follow…it seems only by stricking we accomplish things

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