Three-day strike causes LIAT to lose millions

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LIAT 1974 Limited has quantified the value of the mass cancellation in bookings and the other expenses it incurred following a strike by its pilots as being in the region of EC $7 million.
The figure was quoted by the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Julie Reifer-Jones who spoke to OBSERVER media at length in an interview yesterday.
Reifer-Jones said that within a “very short period” there were thousands of cancellations in bookings.
“The challenge with cancellation is that when they are in that kind of volume – it’s dramatic and many of the cancellations were in our summer period which is our peak period,” she said.
Her outgoing Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Lloyd Carswell also spoke to OBSERVER media yesterday and said that for the period of June to September “about 9000 bookings [were] cancelled”. He admitted that LIAT was only able to so far make 1500 re-bookings.
Between June 7 and June 9 LIAT’s pilots were on strike protesting the status of negotiations on the implementation of a new, increased pay scale for pilots who now fly LIAT’s ATR-72 aircraft.
Late on June 9, the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIAPA) made a deal with LIAT bringing an end to three days of industrial action.
Carswell said that there were 1,100 passengers who were disrupted over the three days. He added, “People also rely on our flights to feed into connecting flights for other airlines. So, on top of that we had another 400 people who misconnected to flights elsewhere.”
The CCO said that LIAT has lost EC $1.3 million thus far for the period June. Reifer-Jones said the bookings that were lost for the summer cannot be recovered later in September and October
“The disruptions hurt everybody. The passengers, the employees and the company’s image. The three days had an immediate impact and a long-term impact for the summer period is in the region of EC $7 million,” the acting CEO said.
She argued that the greatest impact was the confidence that had been lost in the company and the brand.

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