BARBADOS TODAY-By Jenique Belgrave
After weeks of severe disruptions, with delays and cancellations causing frustration and leaving several travellers stranded in airports, the founder of island-hopping interCaribbean Airways has landed here to tackle the issue personally, giving assurances that measures are being taken to rectify the problem.
In an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, Lyndon Gardiner, the founder and chairman of the Turks and Caicos Islands-based airline, expressed regret on behalf of his 32-year-old airline for the inconvenience caused to passengers and sought their patience as the company worked through its challenges. He announced the deployment of an additional aircraft to help bring flights back on schedule, stating: “I’m pleased to say that today, we will be very close to on schedule.”
The disruptions primarily stemmed from staffing issues, which Gardiner highlighted as one of the major challenges faced by the airline. Problems at regional airports have often resulted in delays for departing and arriving flights, leading to a cascade effect throughout the day, eventually leading to cancellations when flight crews timed out.
“Some of our biggest challenges down in the Eastern Caribbean, in fact, throughout our network, has been the staffing issues that have created delays and cancellations,” Gardiner stressed.
To tackle the issue head-on, the airline’s founder arrived in Barbados earlier in the week to meet with the ground handler responsible for staffing at the Grantley Adams International Airport. He outlined several steps that have already been taken to mitigate the disruptions and improve operations.
“I’m here to address those issues and decide what additional support we need to bring here. I recognized that we needed to bring some additional flight crew here, and we’ve already brought those people here,” Gardiner said. He added that further changes were being implemented to enable the arrival of an additional aeroplane in the short term, allowing them to handle delays more effectively and prevent cancellations.
Gardiner assured the public that all these measures would be in place by mid-August, and he expressed the airline’s commitment to improving its services. He extended an apology, stating: “We recognize that we have not done a good job in delivering the services to them, and I, as the highest officer of the company, extend our sincere apologies.”
He called for understanding and an opportunity to correct their mistakes, urging customers to have faith in InterCaribbean Airways to resolve the issues and ensure smoother travel in the future.
As part of its effort to improve customer experience, the airline is already overhauling its communication system, said Gardiner. He revealed that the carrier plans to implement a real-time information system that will keep passengers informed about their flights, including any potential delays or cancellations.
With these steps underway, the InterCaribbean Airways head said it aims to regain the trust of its passengers and restore its reputation as a reliable and efficient airline.
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