ST JOHN’S, Antigua — LIAT’s management has assured its customers that it is doing all within its power to ensure the flight schedule is maintained with little or no disruption.
LIAT’s acting CEO, Julie Reifer-Jones, maintains that the company has sufficient crew to operate the current schedule. The company currently employs 104 pilots and 76 cabin crew to fly a schedule which is based on a reduced fleet of nine ATRs. The airline’s pilots fly an average of 42 hours over a period of 28 days, well within regulatory requirements and they are guaranteed payment for a minimum of 55 flight hours.
Commercial airlines operate on the basis that all employees, including its flight crew, will come to work. The industry daily average for crew sickness for an airline is between three and five percent. LIAT’s crew sickness levels for 2016, equates to 13 percent, a pattern that has been in existence for some time. These sickness levels are unsustainable for a commercial airline.
So far this year, LIAT has cancelled 261 flights and delayed a further 564 due to crew sickness. The average number of sick days, per member of crew, is around 21 days.
“The majority of LIAT’s crew are hard working and dedicated individuals and we would never want any of them to operate whilst being unwell. LIAT’s management pledges to continue to work with the crew to ensure that we deliver a reliable and consistent product to our passengers. LIAT wishes to thank all of its customers for their continued support and understanding,” the airline said in a press statement.