ST. JOHN’S, Antigua– The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, Monday confirmed that it had cancelled several flights between St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica as a result of “high seasonal winds” in those two countries.
The cash-strapped airline also apologised to passengers, who were also experiencing delays in retrieving their baggage.
Acting Chief Executive Officer Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones said the company’s aircraft have tailwind limitation set by the manufacturers during the certification process and therefore are not permitted to takeoff or land when the prevailing winds are beyond these limits.
She said the departure out of E. T. Joshua Airport in St. Vincent and the night landings into Melville Hall airport in Dominica were affected by tailwinds and the decision to cancel flights had been taken in the interest of the safety of passengers.
“While we will continue to do our best to provide our customers with a smooth travel experience, we must operate within the limitations set by the aircraft manufacturer and occasionally we will have no alternative but to cancel flights due to the high winds.
“At this time of the year the wind conditions in St. Vincent restrict the take-off weight of the aircraft and when this occurs, the company is obliged to restrict the number of bags that can be taken on the aircraft,” she added.
Last month, the airline promised, which came under heavy public criticism over its summer schedule, promising the travelling public that it would do everything possible to ensure that their journeys were not interrupted during the busy Christmas Season.
The financially strapped airline had blamed the re-fleeting exercise for the August fiasco and that the fleet modernization efforts were continuing with five new ATR aircraft being added so far and two more due to arrive in January 2014.