September 6, 2011
LIAT chief says his company has no arrangement with REDJet

Chief Executive Officer of regional airline LIAT Brian Challenger says that his company has no arrangements with competitor REDjet regarding the movement of passengers.{{more}}

Challenger made the statement in a letter to Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and chairman of LIAT Ralph Gonsalves in response to an enquiry made by Gonsalves concerning passengers to St. Vincent left at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados for hours on Sunday, August 28, while passengers original ticketed on REDjet were transported to Georgetown, Guyana.

During a press conference held by Dr. Gonsalves at Cabinet Room on Monday, August 29, he indicated that he had been told of a situation where REDjet passengers, who had their flights cancelled, were flown to Guyana, while a mother and daughter travelling to St. Vincent on LIAT from Barbados, were kept in Barbados.

The Prime Minister said that it was his hope that the report that he received was incorrect, and sought to get some clarification from Challenger, who was out of office at the time.

“The people had to buy tickets; but what disturbed me is when this brother told me that this Vincentian lady and her daughter had to wait for their flight, which was supposed to take them to St. Vincent, was one of the planes which went to Guyana and they had to wait until they come back from Guyana in order to come to St. Vincent.”

“I could understand you want to take advantage of the business to Guyana, but those who have booked their passages on REDjet, seems to me that they should wait until you drop your passengers in St. Vincent and give them the ride to go to Guyana….”

Challenger, in his response dated August 30, 2011, indicated that changes in the flight scheduling due to crew shortage, may have been the reason for the delay, and not any arrangement with REDjet.

According to Challenger’s correspondence, there was a problem with availability of crew for the LI 333 flight which the LIAT passengers were to travel on, when the First Officer reported sick.

There had also been a delay affecting a scheduled LIAT Barbados to Georgetown flight.

“However, while there was some discussion on making some changes with both sets of crews to operate… the decision taken by Flight Operations was to operate the BGI-SVD flight. The Georgetown flight would not have been a REDjet flight, but would have included some displaced REDjet passengers.” the letter stated.

Challenger said that the Redjet passengers had been booking independently with LIAT, in many cases paying cash at the ticketing counter at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, and that no arrangements had been made between the two airlines. (JJ)