[Caribbean Airlines]More travel woes for domestic passengers

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[Caribbean Airlines]More travel woes for domestic passengers

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Dec 29, 2017

http://www4.guardian.co.tt/news/2017-12 ... passengers

[Caribbean Airlines] More travel woes for domestic passengers
Derek Achong
Friday, December 29, 2017

Scores of people travelling on the domestic airbridge have been faced with lengthy delays over the past two days due to ongoing issues with its ATR aircraft. The T&T Guardian understands that the cancellation of flights began around midday on Wednesday with some passengers, with confirmed flights, having to wait until after midnight before the airline provided a jet to clear up the backlog.

In a press release issued yesterday, CAL stated that it would also be consolidating flights yesterday due to “aircraft constraints” in its ATR fleet. “These consolidated services are being operated by the airline’s Boeing 737 jet fleet and, customers holding confirmed tickets for the flights that have been consolidated, have been advised,” the release said.

Caribbean Airlines (CAL) says the presence of its 737 fleet to support the domestic airbridge, now means there is increased capacity of 660 above what was scheduled for yesterday. The airline said while the number of seats scheduled on the airbridge for December 28 total 2,448, the airline increased capacity to 3,108 to minimise inconvenience to its customers.

The 737 fleet is being used to support its domestic operations as required, and the ATR fleet is expected to be fully restored and in service within 24 hours, the airline said. However, when Guardian Media (GML) visited the Piarco International Airport yesterday, dozens of affected passengers claimed that they only found out about to the decision taken by CAL after arriving at the airport.

Some of the passengers said they were forced to sleep in the airport since Wednesday night after missing their flights that night.

Tobago House of Assembly (THA) minority leader Watson Duke was among the passengers who were affected yesterday and joined with them for an impromptu protest over the issue. “A newborn baby slept on the floor with his mother and an 85-year-old woman just collapsed. This is unacceptable,” Duke said.

Duke and the protesting passengers also claimed they were forced to pay a $50 fee to change their tickets if were unwilling to travel on yesterday’s consolidated service. The fee was introduced by CAL earlier this month as it claimed that it would improve inefficiency caused by passengers missing their confirmed flights. “This was not our fault and we still have to pay the $50. This is unacceptable and must be fixed,” an irate female passenger said.

A passenger from the United States who spent the Christmas long weekend in Tobago had to wait almost four hours on Wednesday night. She was surprised over the long wait because of the short duration of the flight. “It was a really long wait but we really didn’t mind because we had such a good time on our visit to the island,” she said.

The issue of inter-island transport dominated news headlines throughout the year as issues with the procurement of passenger and cargo ferries.

In August, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley appointed businessman Christian Mouttet to investigate the Port Authority of T&T (PATT) procurement of a short lease of two vessels—the Ocean Flower 2 and Cabo Star—from Canadian firm Bridgemans Services Group LP.

The contract for the Ocean Flower 2 was cancelled as it failed to arrive in T&T by the contractual deadline. A Cabinet sub-committee has since been appointed find a long-term solution.

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