Tag Archives: Aviation

S. Brian Samuel: Taxing Caribbean aviation to death

RedJet_Barbados

Case in point: RedJet

If Caribbean people can’t travel, they can’t do business, can’t have holidays, can’t spend money – can’t spread wealth. Aviation, or the lack thereof, is holding the Caribbean back.

And what is the result of governments owning airlines? They protect their own. Therefore, we have almost zero competition on intra-Caribbean air routes; between LIAT and CAL/AJ, they’ve got it all sewn up: you go here; me there. And never the twain shall compete.

Case in point: RedJet. What a fiasco – or travesty, more like it. Here was a bold new entrant to the Caribbean aviation scene, the region’s first genuine low-cost carrier. A project developed by a bona fide Caribbean investor; putting (lots of) his own money where his mouth was. How long did RedJet last – six months? And why did it meet such a sad and untimely demise? Of course, no real reasons are given by the perpetrators; one can only surmise…

… from an excellent article by S. Brian Samuel: Crashlanding in Toxic Taxation

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Tomas Chlumecky: LIAT should tell the truth

Editor’s Note: This article was written prior to the recent announcement that David Evans had been hired as LIAT’s new CEO. Will the change at the top make a difference? The rot goes deep, as this article by Tomas Chlumecky shows…

LIAT late

As LIAT continues to drain tax payers money, is it not time for the tax payers to ask for action and accountability from their politicians?

As an Airline Consultant, I thought I have seen it all, but LIAT is a very special case indeed. Experience shows that companies in decline MUST replace some of the people responsible for the decline, these people lead the company to its current position and are incapable of the mind set needed to make fundamental changes to the strategy they so blindly believed in that created the crisis in the first place. They may not see it, but they block any real changes because they are bent on defending the dying cause, therefore they need to go!

When will the Board realize that the Chairman of LIAT, Dr. Jean Holder and once again Acting-CEO and CFO Mrs. Julie Reifer-Jones are failed leaders that have led LIAT to where it is today? Any reasonable Board by now would have requested their resignation.

Recently LIAT blames the “summer meltdown” on its inability to sell its DHC-8 aircraft because they do not have the records for the aircraft up to date! One year after ordering the ATR’s and knowing full well they needed to sell them with records up to date, just the fact the records are not up to date is NOT acceptable. If they flew with records not up to date the then ECCCA needs to step in investigate. Just horrible management.

Next, the people of the EC are being told the new ATR’s are more economical and that is why LIAT went out to buy and lease 12 ATR’s. This is non-sense. The 8 ATR-72’s will cost about $US1.4 million lease payments per month! The 4 ATR-42’s being purchased cost $US 74 million at list price, so what LIAT did was substantially increase it lease obligations and debt at a time it has little money, pays salaries late and cannot even keep its maintenance records up to date. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

LIAT Statement On Barbados Free Press Blog Post

DHC-8-300 Dash 8 LIAT V2-LGI

LIAT Statement On Barbados Free Press Blog Post

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, Jan 21 2014 – LIAT (1974) Ltd. has taken note of the post, dated 17th January 2014, in the Barbados Free Press online blog of an Article entitled “Report of Conflict of Interest: Saint Vincent PM Ralph Gonsalves said to own 2 LIAT aircraft”.

The anonymous author concludes that “The conflict of interest arises because SVG is one of the major shareholders in LIAT. Government funds are involved and Prime Minister Gonsalves is heavily involved in decision making about the airline”.

The two aircraft mentioned in the article are owned by a publicly listed US based Leasing Company trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). LIAT has always had arms length negotiations with this Lessor and its relationship with this Lessor is firmly set on a commercial basis. LIAT has no Aircraft Leases with Prime Minister Gonsalves or any shareholder of the Company and categorically denies the suggestion that the Prime Minister has anything to do with the leasing of aircraft to LIAT. LIAT views conflict of interest very seriously and abides by principles of good corporate governance.   Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

Model airplanes master builder discovered!

Battle of Britain Bf109E

The Art! The Art!

Okay, okay, so I’ve gone overboard on the title, but the fellow who runs the Amateur Airplanes blog does some fine fine work.

Look at that battle weary Bf109 Emile above and the detail on the F100 Super Sabre cockpit below.

You know I love airplanes – big, small, real, homebuilts, warbirds and models – so when I stumbled onto Amateur Airplanes I lost a half an hour just flipping through the projects and comments. There’s no word on who this chap is, but you can see the dedication and talent – and he has over 1,500 followers.

I don’t see a DC-3 like the old one I learned to taxi with at Druxford, but this modeller could duplicate every ding and oil streak. All I’d need would be the smell of air petrol, oil and metal – and to hear the tinks as the big old P&Ws cooled. The only additions I’d like to see on his blog would be a search function in the menu, and perhaps a tag list of aircraft types and model kits.

If you enjoy airplanes, you’ll enjoy a tour of Amateur Airplanes.

10/10

Robert

F100 Super Sabre Cockpit

click photos for larger

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Island Life, Military

An open letter about LIAT to Prime Ministers Stuart, Spencer and Gonsalves

It’s often cheaper to charter an executive aircraft than to fly LIAT!

To:
Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados
Dr. Hon. Baldwin Spencer, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda
Dr. Hon. Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent & Grenadines

Gentlemen:

by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

Because of my Petition (about LIAT on change.org), I have been contacted by several prominent people, some of them hoteliers in the smaller islands, who are now ACTIVELY seeking alternatives to LIAT’s services for the foreseeable future in protection of their businesses.

It is my considered opinion – supported by many others, including those with similar decades of aviation experience in the region – that unless the owners/shareholders of LIAT make SWEEPING and DETERMINED changes in the way LIAT is run then the travellers of the region WILL find alternate ways of getting where they are going.

The recent month-long “meltdown” LIAT has undergone (which is in part still going on, by the way) has amply demonstrated to those who were inconvenienced that, in the long run, it is actually cheaper to charter an aircraft for a group of five or six people and know for sure that – upon arrival from the other continents – a means of travel will unquestionably be there, and that their baggage will accompany them, than to be stranded in an unfamiliar place for three days (or longer) without baggage, without connections, and without a reliable way to get where they want to go.

I would like to see LIAT continue to serve the eastern Caribbean and the reliable, and be the trusted carrier it can be, but decades of lack of serious political interest in the health of LIAT has now resulted in avery real possibility of its demise.

Years ago LIAT’s conversion from Avro to Dash-8 held no horrors. Yet this fleet conversion from Dash-8 to ATR has been horribly mismanaged and that the CEO is out of his depth. It is also publicly apparent that the Chairman and Board approves of the way CEO Captain Brunton has mismanaged the entire situation.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Insanity? Raw piloting talent? Pure flight?

DC3 Dakota Barbados

I once did a downwind low and over pass in a DC-3 at Duxford and at the end of the runway pulled up into a hammerhead, did the deed, dropped the gear and greased it for the second finest landing I’ve ever done.

I am nothing. I am not worthy to polish this man’s shoes.

You want to talk pure flying? You want to talk what it is to be a pilot who feels the wind and judges his path by trained instinct and minute feelings unknown to the ordinary ground-bound human?

This man is insane – but he is the best pure pilot I’ve ever seen….

Robert

Dak photo courtesy of Dan Gryder

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Filed under Aviation

Aviation expert: Loveridge wrong about LIAT’s aircraft choice. ATR is the answer for the Caribbean.

ATR-600-Caribbean

“The ATR is an airplane that is built for fuel economy. Given that fuel is one of the 3 largest portions of an airlines annual operating budget this is a big deal.”

by PltFlyng

After reading BFP’s “What’s with LIAT’s choice for new aircraft?”, I have to conclude that Adrian Loveridge might be a tourism expert – but he is no aviation expert and that is certain. Let me give you some enlightenment on the aircraft choice here in question.

For one the Caribbean market is a small and fragmented. Experience has shown that the 50 seat size is about the largest size of aircraft that is sustainable on inter-regional routes. Even so there are many routes which will struggle to fill 50 seats. This is why for years LIAT continued to operate 3 Dash 8-100s. With 37 seats they could provide route frequency on certain lower density routes and still maintain high load factors. Any time you are flying around with empty seats its bad for business and flying around below your breakeven load factor just means that segment is losing money and being subsidised by other routes.

Herein lies the inherent problem with the Q400. It is a 70 seat aircraft.

Additionally it is also a turbo-prop designed as a light jet replacement what that means is that yes, while it is fast it achieves this speed by giving up fuel efficiency.  The break even for an industry standard Q400 on the high density low cost Indian and European markets is approximately 57 – 60% It is estimated that in the higher cost operating environment in the Caribbean the breakeven load factor for the Q400 would be in the range of 66 – 70% which means you would need to fill 45 – 47 seats approximately on average just to break even. This would prove difficult in the current travel climate in the Caribbean.

The other problem with the Q400 is airfield limitations. Some airfields in the LIAT network would require the aircraft to be weight limited for departure due to the field length or the proximity of terrain and obstacles or tailwinds. St. Vincent is not the only consideration. This means possibly cutting some services (Nevis for example) and that you would be limited as to how many passengers and bags you can carry out of some places.

For this trade off what does the Q400 bring to the table? Effectively nothing.     Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados