(Trinidadian Guardian) A Caribbean Airlines pilot would never have shouted at passengers. This was the response to a passenger in a letter to the editor of T&T Guardian published on Thursday, who claimed that the pilot of Flight BW501 to T&T from New York on December 20 had yelled at them. After passengers complained about delays, the pilot asked how they would like it if he took the plane up, then got tired and “crashed into the Atlantic.”
The flight had been scheduled to leave the previous day, December 19. In her letter, Laura-Mae Britton said passengers were asked to disembark and board the flight twice after promises that the problem would be fixed. She said the second time passengers boarded, they were told they were waiting because some passengers were missing. It was only after the pilot announced that the plane would not be able to fly that night, Britton said, that passengers had become irate.
“In response the pilot again came on the speakers, yelled at us and basically said that we were being petty and irate,” wrote Britton. She said he then went on a “miniature tirade” about being awake at 5 am and leaving his wife and children at home. But CAL communications manager Clint Williams said you would never have heard such a thing from a CAL pilot. In a telephone interview yesterday, Williams said the pilot of that flight was not a CAL employee.
“It was a pilot operating a flight from a lease company,” Williams said. He said CAL normally leased flights from the company, OMNI Air International, during busy periods, and they had a longstanding relationship. Williams said CAL had requested an in-depth report from OMNI Air International and would evaluate what it said. Until then, he said: “It would be improper to comment further.”
He said the airline was aware of the situation and had been alerted to the comment via social media. Williams said the airline knew the aircraft had a mechanical problem and an indicator meant the aircraft could not fly without being checked. “It turned into a creeping delay, where the crew expected that the problem would be fixed in a certain amount of time and it wasn’t. That resulted in the crew running out of flying hours.”
Williams said all aircrew flew under strict rules on how long they could man an aircraft. “There are mandatory rest periods and the crew’s hours would have run out.” He said the further delay in the flight was caused when the company tried to arrange an alternative aircraft and crew. “They eventually got three other aircraft and we got the passengers here.”