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LIAT pilots waiting to see how the airline deals with disruptive passenger

CNN —  December 30, 2016  

ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) said in a press statement on Thursday that it is waiting to be informed of the measures LIAT will take in dealing with a passenger who caused the disruption and cancellation of one of its flights on December 13, 2016.The passenger, who was on-board an aircraft in Barbados, destined for St Vincent, made a serious allegation that they had detected the smell of alcohol on one of the pilots.

lialpa.jpg

LIALPA said it is aware of the standing procedures the company has in dealing with disruptive passengers.

In the past, these measures have included legal action taken against the passenger(s) and/or the passenger(s) being blacklisted on all LIAT operated flights.

“We are confident that LIAT will deal with this situation no differently.

“We have noted LIAT’s press release where the company strongly refuted the allegations against the pilot, and also noted the pilot’s voluntary submission of independent medical testing showing negative results. We wish to thank the company for clearing the air and letting the public know that the pilot was completely innocent of the allegation.

“However, based on precedent, we are not satisfied with LIAT simply saying that no findings or action was taken by any airport or other authority on the passenger’s allegation. Therefore, we await the company informing us of the actions it will take against this disruptive passenger,” LIALPA continued.

LIALPA stated that it was never in doubt that the pilot was innocent of the allegation and it continues to stand unequivocally in support of our pilot.

“We will also do whatever is necessary to protect the pilot’s reputation and will explore all avenues in doing so.

“LIALPA regrets the disruption and subsequent cancellation of the flight. We want to reassure the travelling public that we are always committed and dedicated to serving you at the highest professional levels. Our social contract with the Caribbean people is unbreakable, and our commitment to transporting you at the highest levels of safety is and always will remain paramount,” the statement concluded.

See earlier report:

LIAT pilot at center of drunken allegation, cleared

by STAFF WRITER

JOHN’S, Antigua, Dec 19, CMC – The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, Monday said that a pilot accused by a passenger on board one its flights last week of smelling of alcohol, had been cleared of the allegation after he “voluntarily submitted to independent testing by medical professionals in Barbados”.

In a statement, the airline said that the incident had occurred on December 13, when the passenger on the flight to St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, “alleged (to have) detected the smell of alcohol on one of the operating pilots”.

“LIAT’s record of safety and training is of the highest standard and the company strongly refutes any such allegation made towards any of its pilots. The pilot voluntarily submitted to independent testing by medical professionals in Barbados shortly after the allegation and as expected, all results were negative.

“All required protocols were followed by our staff and certain passengers were required to submit formal reports to the relevant authorities. This resulted in further delay and the eventual cancellation of the flight.”

LIAT said that “no findings or action was taken by any airport or other authority on the passenger’s allegation.

“LIAT sincerely regrets the disruption of its flight and wishes to assure its passengers that the company, its staff and its crew will continue to operate and serve the travelling public,” the statement noted.

Several media outlets in the Caribbean had reported the incident last Tuesday with one passenger telling reporters “when we were already on the plane, a passenger made an accusation. She said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. The pilot had just passed in the aisle and she said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. And then, the other passengers were like, ‘Yes. We smell alcohol”

The traveller said other passengers then said that that they were not going to travel on a plane where the pilot might have been drinking.

“So she (the passenger) then asked for the pilot to take a breath test. He, of course, refused, and he said if we don’t feel safe travelling with him, he was going to cancel the flight. He, at that point, walked off the plane and went outside.

“The other pilot kept saying that the guy was not drinking alcohol for the day. The lady (passenger) then said she has kids and she has a husband and if he (the pilot) has not been drinking then prove it; let him take a breath test because she smelled alcohol on him when he passed in the aisle.”

The passengers were flown to St. Vincent on Wednesday after spending Tuesday night in Barbados.

Meanwhile, President of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots’ Association, Captain Carl Burke said the incident underscored “a total lack of respect for the crew, which was displayed by the passengers”.

Burke told the Observer newspaper that the passengers’ behaviour could be as a result of the recent treatment of pilots by management.

“I am not too sure if it’s because of allegations being made by management about pilots being irresponsible, being always sick, of trying to cause the company harm,” Burke said, adding “we heard allegations coming from a particular shareholder that during the carnival, pilots called sick and go out and enjoy themselves.”

According to Burke, LIAT pilots have a reputation for taking their jobs seriously.

“For years, we have seen that these pilots have taken their jobs very seriously, and I would be very curious if that happened to any of our members,” he said.

2 Responses to “LIAT pilots waiting to see how the airline deals with disruptive passenger”

  1. John says:

    They should take no action. While it is unfortunate that the pilot and passengers had to endure various inconveniences, no action should ever be taken that would cause a chilling effect on anyone who would report possible impairment. The next time there could be a drunk pilot indeed, such as in the case of the Canadian pilot in Ireland, but if people are afraid of reporting it due to possible legal action for doing so, the results of not reporting it could be tragic.

    In this situation, the system worked exactly the way it should have. An accusation was made, an investigation was carried out, the accused party was innocent, case closed. I understand his reputation was at risk, and he may have endured some anxiety and embarassment, but this is much more preferable than a drunk pilot crashing a plane.

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CNN —  December 30, 2016  

ST JOHN’S, Antigua — The Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA) said in a press statement on Thursday that it is waiting to be informed of the measures LIAT will take in dealing with a passenger who caused the disruption and cancellation of one of its flights on December 13, 2016.The passenger, who was on-board an aircraft in Barbados, destined for St Vincent, made a serious allegation that they had detected the smell of alcohol on one of the pilots.

lialpa.jpg

LIALPA said it is aware of the standing procedures the company has in dealing with disruptive passengers.

In the past, these measures have included legal action taken against the passenger(s) and/or the passenger(s) being blacklisted on all LIAT operated flights.

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“We are confident that LIAT will deal with this situation no differently.

“We have noted LIAT’s press release where the company strongly refuted the allegations against the pilot, and also noted the pilot’s voluntary submission of independent medical testing showing negative results. We wish to thank the company for clearing the air and letting the public know that the pilot was completely innocent of the allegation.

“However, based on precedent, we are not satisfied with LIAT simply saying that no findings or action was taken by any airport or other authority on the passenger’s allegation. Therefore, we await the company informing us of the actions it will take against this disruptive passenger,” LIALPA continued.

LIALPA stated that it was never in doubt that the pilot was innocent of the allegation and it continues to stand unequivocally in support of our pilot.

“We will also do whatever is necessary to protect the pilot’s reputation and will explore all avenues in doing so.

“LIALPA regrets the disruption and subsequent cancellation of the flight. We want to reassure the travelling public that we are always committed and dedicated to serving you at the highest professional levels. Our social contract with the Caribbean people is unbreakable, and our commitment to transporting you at the highest levels of safety is and always will remain paramount,” the statement concluded.

See earlier report:

LIAT pilot at center of drunken allegation, cleared

by STAFF WRITER

JOHN’S, Antigua, Dec 19, CMC – The Antigua-based regional airline, LIAT, Monday said that a pilot accused by a passenger on board one its flights last week of smelling of alcohol, had been cleared of the allegation after he “voluntarily submitted to independent testing by medical professionals in Barbados”.

In a statement, the airline said that the incident had occurred on December 13, when the passenger on the flight to St. Vincent and the Grenadines from Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, “alleged (to have) detected the smell of alcohol on one of the operating pilots”.

“LIAT’s record of safety and training is of the highest standard and the company strongly refutes any such allegation made towards any of its pilots. The pilot voluntarily submitted to independent testing by medical professionals in Barbados shortly after the allegation and as expected, all results were negative.

“All required protocols were followed by our staff and certain passengers were required to submit formal reports to the relevant authorities. This resulted in further delay and the eventual cancellation of the flight.”

LIAT said that “no findings or action was taken by any airport or other authority on the passenger’s allegation.

“LIAT sincerely regrets the disruption of its flight and wishes to assure its passengers that the company, its staff and its crew will continue to operate and serve the travelling public,” the statement noted.

Several media outlets in the Caribbean had reported the incident last Tuesday with one passenger telling reporters “when we were already on the plane, a passenger made an accusation. She said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. The pilot had just passed in the aisle and she said she smelled alcohol on the pilot. And then, the other passengers were like, ‘Yes. We smell alcohol”

The traveller said other passengers then said that that they were not going to travel on a plane where the pilot might have been drinking.

“So she (the passenger) then asked for the pilot to take a breath test. He, of course, refused, and he said if we don’t feel safe travelling with him, he was going to cancel the flight. He, at that point, walked off the plane and went outside.

“The other pilot kept saying that the guy was not drinking alcohol for the day. The lady (passenger) then said she has kids and she has a husband and if he (the pilot) has not been drinking then prove it; let him take a breath test because she smelled alcohol on him when he passed in the aisle.”

The passengers were flown to St. Vincent on Wednesday after spending Tuesday night in Barbados.

Meanwhile, President of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots’ Association, Captain Carl Burke said the incident underscored “a total lack of respect for the crew, which was displayed by the passengers”.

Burke told the Observer newspaper that the passengers’ behaviour could be as a result of the recent treatment of pilots by management.

“I am not too sure if it’s because of allegations being made by management about pilots being irresponsible, being always sick, of trying to cause the company harm,” Burke said, adding “we heard allegations coming from a particular shareholder that during the carnival, pilots called sick and go out and enjoy themselves.”

According to Burke, LIAT pilots have a reputation for taking their jobs seriously.

“For years, we have seen that these pilots have taken their jobs very seriously, and I would be very curious if that happened to any of our members,” he said.