American Airlines keeps Pres. Ali waiting for hours on flight

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—apologises to tardiness, appoints new Regional Manager to oversee Guyana

—promises shake-up of local team

American Airlines has apologised to the Government for keeping President Irfaan Ali waiting for some four hours on its flight 1512 from Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) to Miami International Airport on Sunday.

Ali and a Guyana delegation were enoroute to Dubia to attend the Caribbean Investment Forum (CIF2022), hosted by the Caribbean Export Development Agency, in association with the Caribbean Association of Investment Promotion Agencies (CAIPA) in Dubai.

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In a letter addressed to Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill, the airline stated: “as you are aware, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, and other very important dignitaries were passengers on this flight. Unfortunately, this flight incurred a delay of four hours and thirteen minutes due to a mechanical failure. The number one engine failed to start and remained unresponsive after the application of two air start units. The captain in command of the flight made an announcement from the cockpit to all passengers on-board the aircraft at approximately 07:45. The captain then proceeded to communicate directly with the President, where he offered an apology. The President requested to be deplaned at 08:22 and this request was facilitated as quickly as possible.” The airline stated.

The letter continued, “The American Airlines General Manager at CJIA, Ms. Sacha Persaud, and the team of lead agents provided updates on the progress of the repairs to several airport executive management and liaisons and officials traveling with the President. To minimise the delay, our local team at CJIA was in close contact with our operations centre in Fort Worth, Texas. They discussed several options to find an alternate aircraft to complete the flight while continuing to troubleshoot the mechanical issue on the ground. One viable option was given at 1012 to utilise the aircraft from the inbound New York-JFK flight. Ms. Persaud communicated this option to airport management.”
“There was also a discussion about ferrying an aircraft from Miami in order to
complete the flight should the on-ground troubleshooting not succeed, or if the JFK aircraft would not be able to complete the mission. At 10:58 we were able to successfully start the engine and the President and his delegation were informed. He requested to board last and this was facilitated. All customers were provided with frequent updates, alternative booking options, and a customer service agent for queries. Our customer relations teams in Fort Worth and Phoenix were involved, and our automated customer recovery tools were activated. Although we made arrangements on behalf of the President and his delegation, we failed to ensure this was communicated planeside on arrival in Miami.”

“Our actions did not support an expedited departure from the Miami International Airport, nor did we convey directly to His Excellency that all arrangements were in place. We own this failure and have taken immediate actions to ensure it does not happen in the future. We have installed a new Regional Manager with oversight for Guyana and there will be changes within our local team,” the airline stated. “We have implemented a direct line of communication to headquarters, all hubs, and our operations centre which will ensure that the failures of February 27 are not repeated. Our government affairs manager and local management will provide the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the respective protocol offices with frequent updates should there be a flight delay or any issues in the future. American Airlines is proud to serve Guyana and we are committed to offering the best product and service possible, especially when welcoming someone such as His Excellency on-board our aircraft. We did not live up to that commitment and wholeheartedly regret and apologize for the inconvenience caused. We remain available to you.”



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