Home > Former captain says LIAT pilots are well paid
ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, September 17, 2010 – A former acting flight operations manager with regional carrier LIAT, Patrick Ryan, said the airline’s pilots are well paid, when compared with others in the region.
Ryan, who appeared on a local radio programme this week, was commenting on the arbitration ruling on a new LIAT/LIALPA (Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association) Collective Agreement.
“The pilots are paid well. When I was acting operations manager in the late 90s, when I hired a co-pilot I paid him more than double what American Eagle paid at that time,” Ryan told the host of the Observer AM programme.
“…an American Eagle pilot also had to pay for his own training. I notice the pilots didn’t refer to American Eagle here as a competitor within the region as (an airline) they (the arbitrators) should compare costs with.”
Calling on both sides to “sit down and somehow get this thing over with”, Ryan said the pilots have been awarded a good deal.
“I feel it’s a win, win situation, it’s not that bad a contract. The increases given were, to me, reasonable increases under the circumstances,” he said.
“The pilots asked for a lot, a real lot and were given a reasonable increase. From what they (the arbitrators) see in these difficult economic times, the increase was reasonable. The pilots did well, they have a good increase.”
The arbitration panel was set up following an agreement brokered by the Prime Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines in July 2009 in an effort to settle long-standing industrial relations issues between the Company and the pilots.
Three-man arbitration panel, headed by retired Barbadian jurist Sir Leroy Inniss QC, handed down its ruling on July 05, 2010.
In a September 8 press release LIAT’s management announced that it was moving to put in place measures for implementation of the new Collective Agreement. LIAT’s Acting Chief Executive Officer Brian Challenger noted that the company had been in communication with LIALPA with regard to the possible signing of the new Collective Agreement and it was hoped that planned discussions with LIALPA would enable an early identification of a date to sign the agreement.
Ryan explained that either party could enforce the arbitration award and if the pilots were serious about signing the document there was nothing to stop them.
“…the pilots could go to the court and enforce this thing through the courts and have the court sign off on it, they don’t have to wait on LIAT,” he said.
“I would say, give me the document, put the company on the spot or file an injunction in the Industrial Court forcing it in their hands,” he added.
The retired pilot urged the parties to settle the issues behind closed doors as “no company can operate when you have everything washed out in the public and every little difficulty seems to blow up in the press”.
LIAT is one of the leading Caribbean airlines. It is owned by regional shareholders, with the major shareholders being the Governments of Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. More information about LIAT may be found at www.liat.com .
Desmond Brown, Corporate Communications Manager, LIAT (1974) Limited, Head Office, Sealey Building, Sir George Walter Highway, Antigua. Telephone: +268 480 5600, fax: +268 480 5638 and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.