LIAT’s most senior pilot gave 42 years of his life to the airline. Now his severance hangs in the balance


After giving 42 years of his life to LIAT, the company’s most senior pilot learned at the weekend that the airline is being collapsed, and he may have to walk empty-handed.

Captain Barnabas Esdale was among seven pilots sent home in late May.

“Seventy-six pilots were laid off on April 1st. Contrary to popular belief, we got nothing on April 1st. We were sent home, we have a particular clause in our contract that we think we should have been entitled to, we got nothing 76 pilots, April 1st, gone home, nothing  in their hand,” the head of LIAT’s pilots’ union Captain Patterson Thompson said.

“Another seven pilots went home between April 20 and 21, and then at the end of May, our most senior pilot, Captain Barnabas Esdale was sent home. He’s the most senior pilot. He’s given LIAT 42 years of his life, his whole adult life has been with LIAT and to hear and to see the public dismissal over the weekend, it’s pretty hard.”

Thompson said there is a lot of disappointment, a lot of worry about severance, and what are the next steps. 

“We’re not sure if there is a successor airline, we are hearing things behind the scenes and it’s pretty unsettling,” he said.

“We have a lot of pilots who are young, we have pilots who have one year left in their career and there are lots of emotions. There’s anger at the association.”

Thompson explained that there are nine pilots left with the airline and they have not been paid for two months. 

Pilots who were dismissed on April 1 are still owed some of their salary, he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the shareholder governments of the regional airline, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has sought to assure employees that payment of outstanding salaries and arrears “will be urgently addressed”.

The Antigua-based financially strapped airline owes its staff an estimated EC$94 million in severance and holiday payment, which it is unable to pay.


  1. Gaston Brown, Mia Mottley and Ralph Gonsalves are all disgusting. They are willing to find nearly $100 million to pay severance and all the other debt the airline has and at the same time hurt Caribbean people. They are willing to find this money to shaft people like Barney, but are not willing to find half the amount to restructure the airline. I wonder if they took the time to calculate the potential losses that such a move will bring about to their economies? Medical Benefits, Social Security, BOE, banks, insurance companies will all produce deficits that will make an injection into Liat look like chicken feed. I pray that people will show them all their disgust at the next elections they have.

    • Madam President, how come it’s only you saying something here? Where are all the other F/A’s to talk up? You guys need to register your disgust so those cowardly politicians can see. This is no way to treat people. Every liat worker should be reading these articles and posting how they feel. It can’t be that you are afraid of reprisal from HR because they have said already that you are being put out on the street with no money to survive. Get some courage people!!!

  2. I hope Liat workers don’t develop amnesia come the next election. Remember the hardships. Remember. I will certainly remember and reward them accordingly.

  3. Pay the gentlemen and ladies their monies you greedy nasty baboons! Y’all rather cut of your noses than to admit the management didn’t know what they were doing and seek help… Pay them all that is due to them and NOT a penny less…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here