Friday, January 19, 2018

Birds hit CAL plane: passengers stranded

Passengers travelling from Tobago to Trinidad were left stranded yesterday after birds colliding with planes (known as a bird strike) caused flights to be delayed.

Yesterday, Caribbean Airlines sent out  a news release confirming a bird strike occurred on one of its aircraft, BW1503, which operated from Tobago to Trinidad.

The airline said the delay in service was further compounded by yesterday’s weather conditions.

CAL said the problem was rectified by the company’s engineers and that the airline would utilise a Boeing 737 jet service to accommodate all displaced passengers by 11.30 a.m.

However, the Express understands that up until late yesterday evening passengers remained stranded on the airbridge.

Just yesterday, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary Orville London called for urgent attention to be paid to travel between Trinidad and Tobago.

Speaking on I95.5fm, he noted in some instances THA officials on the island were unable to conduct business as they could not obtain airline or ferry tickets to Trinidad.

“Hochoy Charles (former THA chief secretary) was supposed to be here today. He went to the airport to get a flight to come to Trinidad and they (CAL) told him the first available flight was on the afternoon of Sunday, 24th August,” London said.

“I had a meeting with the Minister of Planning on Monday. My administrator and the senior officer could not come to Trinidad for the meeting because the office of the Chief Secretary  could not get two tickets for them to come—that is where it has reached,” he added.

London said while he is not blaming CAL for the problem, he is standing by his position that there must be two separate airlines to service the Trinidad/Tobago route.

He said: “I am convinced that unless we have a mindset that the airbridge between Tobago and Trinidad or between Crown Point and Piarco has to be treated in the same way as the roadway between Port of Spain and San Fernando ... it is a highway. ...

“Unless we treat it as a highway and therefore have a situation where the kind of operation allows the decision-makers to make the decisions based on achievement of objective, rather than achievement of profits, we are not going to achieve the objectives,” he said.