LIAT planes grounded as pilots call in sick
ST JOHN’S, Antigua, Tuesday December 6, 2011 - Thousands of regional travelers could be left stranded due to an apparent sick-out by pilots at regional carrier LIAT.
The action comes a day after the management sacked Captain Michael Blackburn, the head of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA).
LIAT has confirmed that pilots who were scheduled to work this morning have called in sick, a move that has implications for its entire network.
Passengers throughout the Caribbean have been asked to call toll free numbers for flight information.
“As a result of this action by the pilots, passengers are advised that there are likely to be cancellations or rescheduling of flights today,” the airline said in a short statement.
“LIAT will provide further updates throughout the day.”
The Antigua-based airline has not given the reason for Blackburn’s dismissal; however, reports were that this may be linked to comments he made on a local radio station relating to the flight operations department.
Blackburn has declined to comment on his firing. He said he has sought legal advice on the matter.
Chairman of the LIAT Regional Grouping of Trade Unions, Senator Chester Humphrey said members were “deeply disturbed by this development” and the sacked pilot would “receive empathy and solidarity from all trade unions within the LIAT system.”