(Observer)While dozens of flights have been cancelled by Caribbean Airlines Limited (CAL) across its network due to “cockpit crew constraints”, the airline’s flights to Antigua and Barbuda have so far remained unaffected.
Despite the disruptions faced by the airline, flights originating from CAL’s base in Trinidad and Tobago to the VC Bird International Airport have been proceeding as scheduled.
Euletta Francis, the Chief Executive Officer of the Antigua Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA), confirmed that they have not received any notice of changes to CAL’s flights for Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, beginning this week, CAL was expected to enhance its services to Antigua by introducing additional flights on Mondays and Wednesdays to supplement its existing Thursday and Sunday schedule.
Caribbean Airlines serves two domestic destinations and 22 international destinations in 18 countries, a number of which are experiencing cancellations due to pilots calling in sick.
Despite the airline’s proactive efforts to manage and update its operational schedules, cancellations and delays have persisted.
In a statement released on Monday, the airline acknowledged the ongoing disruptions and outlined its response to the situation.
“The airline is working on recovery flights for displaced passengers of cancelled services. However, due to the number of individuals impacted, this process is currently ongoing. Some international and domestic flights for August 21 are still impacted, and our dedicated Reservations Service Centre is actively working to contact all affected customers,” CAL stated.
The most significant wave of cancellations occurred on Sunday, August 20, when a reported 37 flights were grounded due to a surge in sick calls from pilots. These left thousands of passengers stranded, affecting a total of 13 international, 14 domestic, and 11 regional flights.
Domestic flights between Trinidad and Tobago have also been impacted. To mitigate the inconvenience faced by passengers, CAL has organised a ferry from Port of Spain to Scarborough to assist customers with their travel plans.
On Sunday, the Trinidad and Tobago Airline Pilots Association (TTALPA) said it was unaware of any strike action being taken by the pilots as a body. In response to the mass sick calls, on Monday morning the Industrial Court in Trinidad granted an emergency injunction against TTALPA members employed by Caribbean Airlines, prohibiting them from engaging in alleged protest actions. The injunction prevents the association from taking industrial action, including calling in “sick en masse”, and requires members to report for duty as scheduled.
According to CNC3 news, Industrial Court Judges Melvin Daniel, Albert Aberdeen, and Bindimattie Mahabir granted the injunction after an emergency hearing which began on Sunday night and ended early Monday morning. The case will be further deliberated by the Industrial Court on September 28, 2023.
In the midst of the disruptions, CAL is urging its passengers to update their contact information to receive automatic updates and notifications regarding their flights. The airline emphasised that affected passengers need not head to the airport until they receive information about their rescheduled flight date and time.