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LIAT fires Captain Michael Blackburn

LIAT fires Captain Michael Blackburn

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Captain Michael Blackburn, chairman of the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association (LIALPA), has been fired by LIAT.{{more}}

A statement from the company yesterday said that the management of LIAT wishes to confirm “the termination of the Company’s employment relationship with Captain Michael Blackburn, with effect from Monday, December 5, 2011.”

The statement from LIAT said “no further public statements will be issued at this time”.

Meanwhile, on November 28, 2011, the Antigua Observer reported that according to a CANA news report, Blackburn had been under scrutiny by LIAT for an alleged safety violation at the George F Charles airport in St. Lucia.

However, according to the Antigua Observer, when contacted, Blackburn said he is unaware of the incident.

“I don’t know anything about that at all,” Blackburn said. “I understand there was something referred to what we call a mandatory occurrence report. I really don’t know the details; I have never seen it, so I don’t know what the allegations are and from my perspective and certainly the co-pilot that was with me, I don’t know of any occurrence along that nature at all.”

The LIALPA chairman was also quick to defend his record as a pilot.

“You just can’t disobey air traffic controllers. That is a serious problem. I have never done that,” Blackburn said. “I have been flying for 20 to 30 years. I have 20,000 hours of flying experience so I need something clear, so that I know who I am going to sue. I need to be very clear of who is making the allegations.”

He continued, “I need to see the report as to what constitutes the breach. You just can’t say you disobey air traffic control instructions unless you tell me what the instruction I disobeyed is. If anybody makes any allegation against me that they can’t prove, I am going to sue them and I don’t make idle threats,” Blackburn said.

When contacted by the Antigua Observer on Sunday, November 27, LIAT’s spokesman Desmond Brown said that he could not comment on an on-going safety investigation.

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