REGIONAL carrier, LIAT, said it is running a reduced schedule due to unscheduled maintenance on two of its aircraft.
The cash-strapped airline’s statement on Thursday came after it published the cancellation of several flights the day before.
In a statement issued on Thursday, Chief Executive Officer, Julie Reifer-Jones, emphasised that the safety and comfort of passengers was top priority for the company.
She said the unscheduled maintenance would see the two aircraft out of service for several days. “Therefore, several adjustments had to be made to the flight schedule,” Reifer-Jones said.
The airline’s CEO stated that the company is working to return to its full flight schedule by next week. She also assured passengers that this would not affect their Easter travel plans, as the airline had already put in place adequate arrangements to ensure smooth trips for this peak travel period.
The airline said on Wednesday that it was cancelling flights LI 374 from Barbados to St Lucia; LI 375 from St Lucia to Barbados; LI 337 from Barbados to Grenada; LI 338 from Grenada to Barbados; LI 769 from Barbados to St Vincent, and LI 770 from St Vincent to Barbados.
“Affected passengers will be moved to other flights at no charge. Please contact our Reservations Call Centre or your travel agent for more information,” LIAT said in a statement which was posted on its website.
The decision to cut back the flights occurred on the same day when Prime Minister, Ralph Gonsalves, of St Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados’ Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, met to discuss the airline’s future.
Reports from Barbados are that a decision could be made on its future next week.
LIAT has been battling to stay afloat as its finances have been affecting the operations of the airline. Recently, the pilot’s association turned down an offer for salary cuts.
The airline has attempted to engage regional governments to put in place new arrangements, which will provide a basis for sharing the burden among all the countries currently benefitting from the airline’s services.
Earlier in March, LIAT’s CEO said that the airline “is in a challenging financial situation,” and that the airline has been flying through the region with support from its principal shareholders, those being the governments of Barbados, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Dominica.
Reifer-Jones noted, however, that the airline has also been operating to destinations where there has been no support from governments and authorities to ensure that critical connectivity remains.
She said all stakeholders, whether labour, suppliers or financiers, will be called upon to make adjustments aimed at achieving a viable airline operation.