In a statement released on Thursday, Caribbean Airlines (CAL) CEO Garvin Medera apologized for the travel disruption caused by a pilots' sickout over the weekend.
He acknowledged the experience was "terrible" for passengers and described the situation as "a terrible experience" for the company. The sickout resulted in the cancellation of 60 flights and affected 5,000 passengers.
Medera stated that the company was taking steps to ensure that a similar situation would not happen again, including increased monitoring and penalties for pilots who call in sick without a legitimate reason.
He also thanked the customers and employees who supported the company during the crisis.
Garvin Medera, the CEO of Caribbean Airlines (CAL), said that the sickout by pilots had cost the airline an estimated $15 million.
This included the costs of accommodating affected passengers, chartering flights, and purchasing ferry tickets for domestic passengers. In addition, the airline had to wet-lease six aircraft at a cost of US$350,000 per flight.
Medera stated that the disruption was unexpected and occurred just as the airline was in the midst of wage negotiations with the TT Airline Pilots Association (TTALPA).
While declining to provide further information on the airline's wage negotiations with the TTALPA, Medera noted that the company's financial performance has improved significantly since 2019, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
He emphasized that the company will compensate all eligible passengers for their inconvenience and will establish a portal on its website to facilitate reimbursement claims.
He advised passengers to use this option, as CAL does not have the contact information for many passengers who purchased their tickets through travel agents.
He also reassured passengers that those who chose to take a ferry between Trinidad and Tobago would receive a credit for future air travel.