1985: Leeward Islands Air Transport – LIAT – Hawker Siddeley HS 748
(The HS748 was a fine aircraft: Reliable, forgiving with excellent control at touchdown…
It also served in a time when the pilot in command was GOD. If the PIC said an aircraft was not fit to fly, then by god it would not fly.
How things have changed with LIAT. Passengers beware!
BFP editor Robert)
by Peter Binose
The LIAT incident that happened November 2nd 2013, an affair that has eventually resulted in the airline receiving a penalty from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority, is undisclosed in fear of public backlash.
Two pilots were suspended by LIAT following the grounding of an aircraft for technical repairs.
Saturday November 2, 2013, Captain Cave, who was scheduled to fly a LIAT aircraft, was not satisfied that the appropriate test procedure was used before bringing the aircraft back into passenger operation. Captain Cave also reported discrepancies with the official paperwork.
Because of his refusal to fly the plane LIAT suspended him, disregarding his protests about safety.
Monday 4th November Cave had brought the matter to Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association [LIALPA] and Captain Burke the LIAT Pilots Association President while acting in his capacity as Union Representative tried to intervene on Cave’s behalf with Director of Flight Operations Captain George Arthurton at a meeting on this day. Captain Burke was then also placed on suspension.
The suspending of the two pilots Captain Cave and Captain Burke brought about a general industrial dispute by all the LIAT pilots and crews.
Absolute turmoil followed with flights cancelled and passengers stranded.
Wednesday the 6th of November: LIAT Management then had a pilots meeting during that day. A meeting took place with [Acting] CEO Ms. Julie Reifer-Jones [Vincentian], to discuss what had led to the affair. Management withdrew the suspensions of the two pilots. November 6th 2013 Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said the time has come to make the regional airline, LIAT, an essential service as the airline deals with a strike by its pilots that have led to several cancellations and flight delays.
Skerret was just reiterating what the other pair of LIAT share holder had previously said in June 2013, when Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer and St. Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves said in a statement by then LIAT’s chief executive officer, Ian Brunton, that the aviation industry should be classified as an essential service, with legislated restricted rights to strike.
November 7th 2013, PM Gonsalves said he was still of the opinion that Liat should be declared an essential service, having said the same in June 2013, adding that the shareholder governments had already agreed to go that route. He said he raised the matter at the Caricom level and member states now have to decide on whether to accept his proposals.
What we should all keep in mind as the travelling public is the fact that a pilot has to have the responsibility in the care and safety of his passengers and the aircraft, in that order. LIAT management disallowed the pilots their constitutional right to oppose company orders on the ground of safety, victimization followed coming from that refusal, and all other forms of suppression that followed must become a disgraceful act by LIAT‘s management.
Perhaps its time for them all to go, from bottom to top.
As a Vincentian I would like to know who is the Vincentian acting CEO Julie Reifer-Jones, who appointed her and who is she related to?
If you remember when asked to invest in LIAT, Anthony and Mitchel demanded better management in LIAT before pumping their tax payers hard earned money into a company so terribly run. Those brave pilots had no other option but to exercise their legal right and withdraw or disrupt their labour. As passengers we should be thankful for the way they acted on our behalf.
How can a bunch of left wing twerps make such stupid statements, very Marxist at that? If we took notice of them, can you imagine, pilots would be expected to fly aircraft with one wing missing or no wheels. The pilots must be fully in control of making decisions on the travelling public’s behalf if an aircraft should fly or not.
I do not believe these controlling prime ministers are very prime, they are not very prom prom. What on earth do they know about running an airline? And, from what I can see even running their own respective countries. Between crap management and crap directors what chance has LIAT got? Well, what chance have they got? They were all mugs enough to go along with buying a fleet of new aircraft on the advice of Brunton, aircraft that much of the time will be unable to fly because of wind conditions. As for flying to the new airport being built in Saint Vincent, because of wind conditions there, perhaps less than half the time will they be able to land and take off.
The amount of times I have had to advise our collection of Caribbean oldies not to engage their mouths until their brains are in gear. Their very silly comments about LIAT being classified as an essential service has come back to bite them in the bum.
To cap it all and prove the pilots were right and the management and all the socialist political “know all know nothing pratts”, they were all in the wrong. LIAT, has received a penalty from the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) in connection with this incident that occurred on Nov. 2, 2013.
Now boys, pay up and look big – the cat’s out of the bag. In fact, put your hands in your pockets and pay it yourselves, for being such silly boys.