Big Airline Merger On The Way? Air Jamaica, Caribbean, Caribbean Star, Liat

CARICOM Meeting Today Will Consider The Obvious – Even If They Use Other Words

As any good paperback novel detective would say, “There are no coincidences” – so when the BBC News comes out with a big article on the necessity for a single airline to serve the Caribbean, and then we read in the Jamaica Observer that Prime Minister Arthur and his CARICOM peers are talking today about the “harmonisation of regional air transportation” – you know that something is afoot.

I guess that one Caribbean airline makes sense from both a financial and a “Unite CARICOM” perspective, but why do I automatically reach to check that my wallet is still in my pocket every time the words “airline” and “government” are mentioned in the same sentence?

Oh well!

Here’s the start of the first article from BBC (Thanks to BFP sweetheart “K” for the tip)

barbados-airline.jpg

Caribbean airlines hit turbulence

As cricket-lovers prepare to converge on the Caribbean for the start of the sport’s World Cup in March, airlines in the region are undergoing their biggest shake-up in years.

After 66 years in service, the old state-owned national airline of Trinidad and Tobago – BWIA West Indies Airways – shut down at the end of 2006, having run up a deficit of $50m for the year.

It has been replaced by Caribbean Airlines – a slimmed-down company employing about a third of the old staff…

… (big snip)…

… “The absence of an agreed policy has made a complete mess of regional air transportation,” says Sir Ronald Sanders, a Guyanese-born former diplomat turned business consultant who writes a regular column published on the BBC’s Caribbean service website.

“Neither tourism to the region nor Caribbean travellers within the region can feel secure… In the name of national pride or national control, the gains that could result from regional co-operation go by the wayside.”

So with all this in mind, how are the Caribbean’s revamped airlines measuring up to the challenge of the Cricket World Cup?

Well, some countries are already voicing concern that ticket sales for the initial matches have been poor.

Only one-third of tickets available for Group C matches in St Lucia have been sold, for example, although the semi-final to be played there on 25 April has sold out.

However, many travellers trying to book flights to the Caribbean during the tournament are finding that few seats are on offer – so cricket fans making a last-minute decision to follow their team risk being unable to get there in the first place.

The Cricket World Cup may prove to be an impressive sporting showcase. But as an advertisement for Caribbean infrastructure, it could end up being an embarrassment.

… read the entire BBC article (link here)

CARICOM Leaders Meeting In Jamaica – Airlines On The Agenda

Here is the article from the Jamaica Observer…

Regional Air Transportation High On CARICOM’s Agenda Today

A FRESH effort is to be made at this week’s Inter-Sessional Meeting of Caribbean Community Heads of Government to move in the direction of harmonisation of regional air transportation.

It is a priority agenda issue for the three-day meeting of Caricom leaders that gets under way this morning in Kingstown, with at least three Heads of Government expected to be absent -Haiti’s Rene Preval; Belize’s Said Musa and The Bahamas’ Perry Christie.

The meeting, hosted by Vincentian Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, current Caricom chairman, will also be focused on advancing arrangements for the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME); creation of a Caribbean Development Fund and establishment of a new governance mechanism in the form of a Caricom Commission with executive authority.

A major feature of the new initiative on harmonisation of regional air transportation – that could also extend to Air Jamaica – is the consideration of a viable commercial alliance between Trinidad and Tobago’s new Caribbean Airline and the recently merged entity Liat, Star of the Caribbean…

… continue reading this article at The Jamaica Observer (link here)

9 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, CARICOM, Traveling and Tourism

9 responses to “Big Airline Merger On The Way? Air Jamaica, Caribbean, Caribbean Star, Liat

  1. Pingback: singlepilot.net » Big Airline Merger On The Way? Air Jamaica, Caribbean, Caribbean Star, Liat

  2. Gone!

    I liked the bit with reaching to check for yer wallet
    every time you hear “airline” and “Government” mentioned in the same sentence!

  3. Bajan George

    Off-topic ………..BFP knows for a fact that meal and liquor service doesn’t necessarily suffer while your favourite aircraft is inverted. Maybe we should just all close our window shades, we’ll never know the difference: Bob Hoover pouring his tea while flying a loop (okay, it was a one-g loop, not a competition loop), and Tex’s 707 doing a barrel roll over Puget Sound, Washington, illustrate the point.

  4. BFP

    Got that right, Bajan George!

    A shame what those two goofy FAA inspectors did to Bob Hoover. Took years away from him for no reason than jealousy.

    Gotta watch those government people all the time!

    Robert

  5. BFP Robert, Is that you flying that plane? Hope not.

  6. Rumplestilskin

    Great, we’ll have an airline that represents being ‘Better to Walk If Able, that Leaves the Island Any Time’.

    Double whammy.

  7. J. Payne

    Why-why-why-why would this soo called leaders wait until the biggest event in the Caribbean to start playing around with the structures of the Caribbean Airlines????? I never— understood that logic……. All they’re going to do is run passengers, because I wouldn’t book my flight on any airline right now that doesn’t know what it is doing for the next 3-6 monts and have that set in stone since last November….

    P.s. kudos to the picture of the upside down Caribbean Airlines photo… lol

  8. J. Payne

    This idea is 60 years too late. Its amazing BWIA goes down because of money problems and the rest aren’t far off. Now if you zip back to the 1950’s just around the time of the West Indies Federation. According to a Barbadian author Trevor A. Charmichael, Q.C in his book “Passport to the Heart – Reflections on Canada Caribbean Relations”( ISBN 978-637-028-1 by Ian Randle Publishers of Jamaica)

    Back then the airline Air Canada (which at the time was more closely affilated with the Canadian Government made a very powerful offer to the Caribbean heads of government.) BWIA was in a financial pinch at the time.

    The deal was this. Air Canada was to acquire Air Jamaica, BWIA, and LIAT. They would become full subsidiaries of Air Canada. The Caribbean heads of Government instead would have their financial stakes in A.J., BWEE, and LIAT converted to Air Canada and the 4 units would more then likely operate as a Pan-Americas airline.

    The deal seemed sound. According to page 45 the financial overview of BWIA was supposed to be this.

    “Bearing in mind that there were certain financial implications to Canada. these would have to be considered by the Government of Canada and can be summarized as follows, expressed in Trinidad and Tobago dollars:

    (1) Financial assistance required by BWIA:
    Capital loan repayment – Jun 30, 1967 $2.5 million

    Capital loan repayment – Dec 31, 1967 $2.5 million

    Working capital – 1967 $10.0 million
    —————
    $15.0 million

    Allowance for income deficits – 1968/69 $8.0 million
    —————
    $23.0 million

    3 additional Jets – 1967/68/69 $32.3 million
    BWIA stock purchase $ .7 million
    —————-
    $56.0 million

    (2) The introduction of 3 more jets would ingvolve training and associated introductory costs estimated at $2-2.5 million.

    (3) The anticipated traffic grow of 15-20% per annum would require about 1 additional aircraft per year; that is, $11 million.

    (4) Intrest earning on loans to BWIA may be subject to a Trinidad and Tobago withholding tax.

    (5) Rather than make a commitment for all the above amounts, it might be possible to extend to BWIA sufficient financial assistance to meet only immediate needs ($5-15 million) in order to obtain very much needed time for the intra-Caribbean and international agreements required for the implementation of the contemplated cooperative operation.

    (6) To ensure the proper employment of the Canadian Government’s financial assistance suggested above, the monies advanced should be directed specifically to existing creditors.

    [. . .]

    That would have been a powerful airline. Instead of BWIA etc flying long haul to the US and UK etc. What probably would have happened is Air Canada probably would have served all the markets in the US/Canada and then meetup with a LIAT/BWIA/Air Jamaica hub somewhere in the Caribbean where it would provide local inter-regional Caribbean travel. The leaders of the time dropped the ball and now they have no deal with anyone as US/European airlines seize all of the most profitable routes in the Caribbean today and force the local companies out of busines..

    J. Payne

  9. Jupiter

    BFP

    Just heard that Allan Stanford is going to lend Liat $55 million dollars for the merger of Caribbean star (Standford airline) and Liat.

    T he outrageous news – while Antigua and St Vincent only guarantees the loan to the tune of $5 million dollars each,THE GREAT SHORT BLACK HOPE – Owen $ Arthur – using Barbadians hard earned money backs the loan to the tune of $55 million dollars.

    And you say he is the better leader?

    Yeah Right.