“To put this into perspective, LIAT operated around 1,600 flights, so the pilots’ sickness caused the cancellation of 11 per cent, causing around 6,500 passengers’ flights to be cancelled,” the document stated. “In addition, these cancellations caused significant delays and disruptions to over 15,000 passengers.”
According to LIAT, the average number of flight cancellations for most airlines is around one per cent.
Over 1,000 passengers had to stay overnight in hotels because of the cancellations this month, after approximately 200 pilots called in sick.
“This equates to around 14 per cent sickness with the industry average being between three and five per cent,” the LIAT document stated.
It also revealed the number of sick days reported by cabin crew stood at 83 so far this November: “This equates to around 11 per cent sickness, with the industry average being four per cent.”
In total, LIAT estimates that these disruptions caused by crew sickness cost over EC$1 million (US$370,370) in the past few weeks.
Captain Carl Burke, who heads the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA), has denied that the pilots reporting sick was a result of some form of industrial action. He said LIAT’s recently publicized sick leave policy has forced more pilots to obtain certified sick leave for their illnesses.