PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Tuesday said that its domestic and international flights were operating as scheduled, less than 48 hours after it was forced to cancel more than 60 flights due to a sick out by pilots on Sunday.
In a brief statement, CAL said that the “regular operation is working in parallel with recovery flights, some operated by charters on behalf of the airline to accommodate any remaining displaced passengers”.
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“The company continues to contact affected customers by phone. E-mails and SMS notifications with updated information are also being sent to passengers,” the statement noted.
On Monday, the Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago granted an ex-parte injunction to the airline against the Trinidad and Tobago Airlines Pilots Association (TTALPA), preventing its president, executive members as well as their servants or agents from “taking or continuing to take and/or participating howsoever in industrial action within the meaning of the Industrial Relations Act…including calling in sick en masse”.
The Court has also ordered that TTALPA direct “forthwith” to instruct or direct CAL workers who are its members to “immediately report for duty as rostered and as they are required to do in the normal course of their employment”.
Meanwhile, chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, (THA), Farley Augustine, said that the performance of the air bridge between Trinidad and Tobago being operated by CAL is worse than during the pre-COVID-19 period.
Commenting on the industrial action by the pilots that led to thousands of passengers being stranded on the two islands, Augustine said that over the past year, the THA has been calling for the resumption of CAL’s usual flight count, but that nothing has been done.
“It is ridiculous that people will have to spend months trying to get a flight to Tobago and when they do there is inconsistency on the air and sea bridge. This is 2023 and the air and sea bridge now is more inconsistent than it was pre-COVID. That could never, ever be a hallmark of success,” Augustine said, adding that there is also a need to address the monopoly that exists on the air bridge by CAL.