LIAT, Caribbean Premier League in Row Over Service

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By the Caribbean Journal staff

After the founder of the Caribbean Premier League said regional carrier LIAT cost the league “millions of dollars,” LIAT is now firing back.

CPL Founder Ajmal Khan told the Barbados Sun that LIAT’s service was a “travesty,” and that LIAT-related travel woes had cost millions to the upstart league, due in part to delays.

In a statement released on Wednesday, LIAT said it felt “compelled” to respond, claiming that it had only been contacted by CPL about the logistics of transporting teams “a mere five days before the official start of the tournament.”

“During that meeting, the CPL representatives indicated that they were seeking guarantees from LIAT for timely transportation of players, crew and baggage,” LIAT said. “As this request came at the 11th hour and at a time when we were experiencing several challenges with delays and cancellations, LIAT made it clear to the CPL representatives that while it would do its best to transport the teams and crews on time, no guarantees could be offered since many of the challenges that were being experienced were beyond the airline’s control.”

The company said that the only option would have been to charter several aircraft, and at the time LIAT was “unable to offer these services as all aircraft were currently being utilized.”

Questions over the regional carrier’s level of service have been in the news quite a bit of late, ranging from a complaint letter that went viral worldwide after being tweeted by Sir Richard Branson to calls by a Dominican hotelier for upheaval of senior management.

LIAT said that “not a single cricketer was left behind” during the league, “and not one bag lost.”

“It is grossly unfair that neither the CPL official nor the Barbados Nation reporter has specified how ‘LIAT cost tournament organizers millions of dollars in additional expenses,'” the carrier said. “LIAT looks forward to the CPL becoming a permanent fixture on the West Indies cricket scene, and would be privileged to be part of a transportation solution.  However, it is nave and unreasonable to expect the airline to take on the full responsibility, given such late notice, even under the best of circumstances.”

The carrier said it was “willing to work” with the CPL, and that the success of future events would necessitate that “LIAT is included in all transportation plans at an early stage.”

 

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