By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
DESPITE complaints from a traveller of an air traffic controller “work slow down” over the weekend there were no “significant” flight delays at the Lynden Pindling International Airport, a Nassau Airport Development Company official said yesterday.
The statement came after an irate foreign traveller emailed The Tribune and said his flight was delayed for “10 hours” due to alleged industrial action by the Bahamas Air Traffic Controllers Union (BATCU) over the weekend.
BATCU president Lashan Gray has denied the allegations, saying on Sunday that any delay was the result of “increased complexity and volume of traffic.”
When contacted yesterday, Jan Knowles, NAD’s vice president of marketing, said “to the best of their knowledge” there had been no recent concerns “airport-wise” from Bahamasair or other airlines.
She said: “From what we can see there’s not been any further delays, significant delays like what we had seen last week with the pilot situation.”
On Monday, Bahamasair pilots’ began a two-day sick out in response to the failed negotiations with government officials over their new contract and payment terms for increments.
Their actions left thousands of Christmas holiday travellers – local and foreign – grounded last week.
In response, Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis said on Sunday that last week’s “corporate sabotage” from the pilots should quicken the government’s efforts to privatize the cash-strapped airline.
Over the weekend, a foreign traveller in an email to The Tribune alleged that more than 300 passengers had been stranded at LPIA because of an “air traffic controller work slow down/strike.”
Then yesterday, the same traveller sent another email to The Tribune, this time claiming that he was “held” in LPIA for 10 hours before air traffic controllers began letting flights out.
He also claimed Southern Air, the airline on which he was travelling, allegedly “downsized the aircraft at the last minute,” resulting in four people, excluding himself, being left behind.
The traveller said the Civil Aviation Department needed to take responsibility to resolve the matter “ASAP.” He said last week’s trip would be his last to the Bahamas.
Additionally, Bahamian residents also complained on social media of being stranded at the LPIA for “five hours” as a result of the alleged industrial action.
In response to those claims, Mrs Gray on Sunday told The Tribune that the union was currently not engaged in any industrial action despite their “long outstanding industrial disputes” with the Department of Civil Aviation.
She said the flight delays were caused by “numerous factors”, including “really significant traffic volumes and misinformation.”
However, she said the union would continue to “ensure the safety of the flying public.”