Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines Flights Today: Hundreds Of Empty Seats!

‘The Problem with the empty hotel rooms currently being experienced in Barbados and the wider region can only be blamed on the organisers of Cricket World Cup (CWC)’

Barbados Minister of Tourism, Noel Lynch

The response of Minister Lynch at a political meeting held at the Garrison Secondary School was in reply to the growing tourism industry voices expressing concern over the hundreds and possibly thousands of empty hotel rooms leading up to the hosting of the super eights and cricket final in April.

Compounding the concerns has been the Barbadian Government’s decision to borrow US$15 million from a commercial bank to charter the cruise ship Carnival Destiny, despite the Minister’s assurances that the ship has been ‘80% sold’.

And according to one leading hotel supplier, part of the deal with Carnival Corporation was to be allowed to import all the consumables to cater for the onboard cricket fans, free of any taxes or duties in 25 containers.

Land based hoteliers currently have to pay taxes and duties for around 70 to 80% of all the items they use, as Barbados produces less than 26% of its food requirements.

Also contributing to the reduced number of anticipated visitors is the late implementation of a Caricom Visa requiring some nationals to pay US$100 per visa plus processing and courier costs of up to another US$100.

While explaining the rational for the visa, Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister and Caricom Security Committee chairperson Mia Mottley stated that she convened an emergency meeting of the ten Ministers of Tourism in Georgetown, Guyana last November to discuss the visa implications ‘and only two turned up’.

While Minister Noel Lynch has refuted any blame or responsibility for for the ‘well below normal occupancy levels’, St. Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, a seasoned industry professional, has admitted it is a ‘small disaster’.

Having just returned this afternoon from meeting a group at Grantley Adams International airport, Flight VS29 Virgin from Gatwick – 200 plus empty seats. Flight AA1089 American Airlines from Miami, over two thirds empty.

Here we are at our so called peak season, and you can see the consequences of the wrong decisions.

Adrian Loveridge

20 March 2007


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

52 responses to “Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines Flights Today: Hundreds Of Empty Seats!

  1. J. Payne

    As far as I know the CWC organisation for the Caribbean was based in Jamaica?

  2. BigGuts

    Go Figure

  3. Pingback: » Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines Flights Today: Hundreds Of Empty Seats!

  4. DFX

    Oh dear! ROGLMAO

    Now we play pass the blame. Overpriced visas, too much hype, overpriced tickets, the list goes on… and it all fuh a cup

  5. chivas

    lynch would not know or admit truth if it slapped him across the face in pinfold street, blame shifting by lynch as typical as it is pathetic.

  6. honour

    honorable men would have resigned

    Oh sorry—what was I thinking?

  7. Just a second. The Hon Minister for Tourism says that the responsibility for empty hotels is CWC’s? He has been taking credit for what a huge success it was going to be, and now turns around and denies any involvement?

    Am I missing something? What is the relationship between CWC and the ministers of tourism throughout the Caribbean? Surely they worked together? Or is he passing the buck to Mia who was in charge of security? Rat leaving a sinking ship?

  8. Bajanboy

    Can’t wait to see how the government covers up or explains away this mess.

  9. Chase

    Trust me Bajan Boy…they will pass the buck so fast it will make us giddy.

  10. No-name

    I am calling for Noel Lynch to do the decent thing and resign. He is a total waste of time. He has been responsible for millions of dollars in wastage including GEMS and now CWC. Just a couple weeks ago he was singing the praises of CWC. Let’s all ask him to resign. And while we are at it ask Owen to do the same for not disclosing the $750,000, and Mia for biting!
    These are serious matters that in other jurisdictions would have resulting in the immediate resignation of Ministers.

  11. Justasking

    I keep seeing mention of the $750,000.00 and Owen but little detail. What is it all about?

  12. Patrick Porter

    I saw the writing on the wall last year in the winter. When I visited from Canada the flight was half empty and it was a Saturday flight. Remember telling the wife, never seen this before on a Saturday flight
    Last year Air Canada had 2 flights a day this year they have one flight a day and two on weekends, so the occupancy in the island has to be affected

  13. ??

    Adrian where do you get these enpty seat figures from. VA and AA . While I am sure there may be a decline in arrivals ( BHTA confirmed this at their meeting) I really question your numerous statistics which frankly seem to only sensationalise.

  14. Patrick Porter


    When I worked in the hotel industry in Barbados I used to call the airlines and find out what their pax status was on various flights and they would tell me. If you have a contact at the airline it is easy to find out flight occupancy as the staff will tell you. So it is not Adrians imagination.

  15. ??

    Having worked in the Airline industry I know it does not work that way now. I still wonder on Adrians Stats…. Real or imaginary

  16. Adrian Loveridge


    As I stated, I personally met both flights yesterday and how do I know, I ask.

    Virgin, both the flight crew and the actual passengers confirmed the empty 200 seats.

    American, Retired Lt. Commander US Navy, also out guest confirmed the two thirds empty.

    Absolutely no reason to post imaginary numbers.

    The losses at GEMS, low hotel occupancy, Carnival Destiny subsidy, etc., are not imaginary either?

  17. Andrew Brathwaite

    In 2004 I was present at a meeting at Sherbourne Conference Centre where the Minister was also present. There were about 70 persons in the room. In response to a comment that Barbados had to carefully manage its repeat guests who may stay away during CWC. The Minister of Tourism prononced in his usual manner that a call to British Airways and Virgin Atlantic by anyone in the room would reveal fully sold flights (not just booked flights) for the months of March and April 2007.
    At this same meeting, the Minister allowed all to know that the BLP government would not be allowing cruise ship opeators to come into Barbads and sail away with the profits from CWC. These prfits he said rghtfully belong to those who have invested heavily in the local tourism indstry over many years.
    I thought then that the Minister’s comments were pure politial rhetoric. More and more these days, I am being persuaded by the Minister himself that he is just an incompetant “BLOVIATOR” to borrow a term from Bill O’riley.

    The BLP government has dropped the ball big on CWC. For 3 years Owen Arthur, Noel Lynch and the bunch of them were asleep while, Messers Alleyne, Rouse and deCaries committed and spend the tax dollars of Barbadians to the tune of $300 Million
    It was only after the award of matches that government started pay attention to this $300M liability. By then it was too late. Government had already agreed via its written gurantee provided to CWC and the ICC to foot the bill for the extravagence promised in the Bid book.
    This Minister has no shame. When they are able to inflate the numbers, “he is the man”, when the bottom falls out, “it wasnt’ me”
    Shame on you Noel Lynch.

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Minister Lynch has agreed to appear on a special Down to Brass Tacks programme being aired this Sunday March 25th.

    Sadly, at this stage he has refused (despite an invitation) to allow me to appear on the panel to question the very many concerns some of us in the tourism industry have.

    Hopefully, he will change his mind by the weekend.

    BFP readers that have questions can address them to:


  19. Waiting

    loveridge you know barney lynch
    is a coward.
    he hides behind his pimps
    when things get nasty but
    slightest thing he thinks make him look good
    he is on telly faster than you can say cwc arrivals not looking good.

  20. Patrick Porter


    Don’t hold your wind

  21. De Orginal

    I can see Lynch is having a foot in mouth special maybe its his time to step down.

  22. No - Name

    I spoke to a friend of mind from NY who came down on the same AA flight and he said confimed what you said……he said it was 1/3 full.

  23. Jerome Hinds

    Adrian, I can understand Lynch behaving so, but does he own/have shares in VOB that he can determine who they invite to the VOB STUDIO…..?????

    Ooopss…….Funny enough I almost FORGOT to mention VOB has been promised a TV license by this BLP goverment for over a decade……!!!

    We should RECOGNISE that David Ellis wants some lights , camera action…… JUST like his colleagues Denis Johnson & Pearson Bowen had/having now….!!!

    David Ellis need to SHOW his mettle and have Mr. Adrian Loveridge in STUDIO also…..!!!

    Or is it BALANCE reporting is no longer David Ellis RALLYING cry….???

  24. Justasking

    This question is addressed to David Ellis .
    Is it true that Mr. Lynch will not participate if Mr. Loveridge is on the panel? Why would you allow him to dictate who you can and cannot invite to be a panelist?

    At the very least, at the beginning in your opening comments you should state that one of the conditions set down by Mr. Lynch for his participation was that Mr. Loveridge not be allowed on the panel.

    Of course he cannot stop Mr. Loveridge from calling in and if you and your station had any self respect you woul make sure that you contacted Mr. Loverdige and had him on the line ready to ask his questions.

  25. True Native


    I have asked the same question about the $750,000 cheque, but up to now no one has come forward with details.

  26. Patrick Porter

    You think Musle Mary want to face Adrian and have the truth come out. No way, he is going to hide and if Adrian goes on watch for him to be sick or very busy

  27. Justasking

    Like I said all David Ellis has to do is have Mr. Loveridge on the line or call him when it is time for the listeners to take part. It is not equivalent to being on the panel but Loveridge can still pose questions and be involved in the discussion. Nothing that Mr. Lynch can do to stop that.

  28. Owen received a cheque in the sum of $50,000 from RBTT Bank on March 07, 2003. Mariano Browne, the PMs good friend was the CEO of the bank at the time. The cheque was issued to Owen himself and was supposed to be for the BLP campaign fund. I am not sure if it reached there, but it was deposited to Owen’s account at FCIB on March 20.

    Remember that at that time RBTT was owned by CLICO and then called CCB. Owen wants to curse David tHompson about his connections with Leroy Parris but is happy to get a cheque from Mr. Parris bank then. What a hypocrite Owen is.

  29. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were paid via cheque to the St. Peter Development Council and other entities to finance the BLP campaigns. Despite all his public utterances, Owen is very much in the pockets of big, dirty businesses here and abroad.

    We need also to be privy to the details of the PM’s divorce from Beverly Arthur. What was the settlement? Is he paying her alimony and how much? Who financed the construction of the mansion in Gibbes, St. Peter for her? Was it the same company that did teh GEMS hotels renovations? Who Okayed payment of $11,000 from the St. Peter Devolopment Council to cover part of the debt of Julie Price (PM’s wife) brother. He owed plenty of potential home owners as a failed builder. It gets dirtier by the minute?

  30. I am getting real pissed with the double standards in Barbados. What kind of society am I raising my 3 daughters in? The PM breeds every woman he lies with except his former wife; then he introduces us to the kids one by one and we see nothing wrong with that behaviour as a society! It is deporable. He has no moral right to lead a nation.

    Then you have Rev. Atherley who likes to sprew his bull about the church and morality. Is it true that he *********************? Where is the morality here? BTW.. what ever became ofthe gun case with hsi son…. did he ever get a day. And how is it that Cynthia Forde son can be charged with a major crime and still gets a job in Immigration.

    Get rid of them fast.


    Edited out by George

    Peter Piper, … you want to say that about a person, you’d better have more than just asking a question.

    Somebody could say to you… “Peter Piper. Do you still beat your wife?”

    BFP george

  31. Who-dun-it

    I hearing Mariano Browne name often of late. Who is he? A poster said he is Owen friend and a banker…Hmmmmmmmmmm. He is Deputy Chairman at National Sports Council . Who put him there and why?

    Erskine King at NSC is Owen mimic man and foot soldier. Plot gets thicker. I hear Browne from Trinidad. Is that true? $750,000 is nice scratch grain. Owen whats going on? A Sherlock Holmes on this blog?

  32. 30,000 ft.

    Lotsa empty seats.
    Yet the BIG jets(4 engines?) still flying, spewing pollution in the upper atmosphere,
    when a smaller plane(less pollution) woulda have served adequately!

    Nice “thinking” on the parts of don’t-give-a-damn airlines, who think they own the skies!

    God and Nature ‘thank you’ for that,
    but lookout come Hurricane Season.
    Don’t complain and ask “But HOW did this happen?”, coz you know damned well how it happened – by burning fossil fuels and raising the CO2 level that everyone prefers to ignore.

    You keep ignoring it!

  33. Javon Griffith

    I can say this much. I work in the tourism industry, and up to last night I asked two guests at my workplace who had just arrived from the UK on Virgin if their flight was full and they said “jammed packed”.

    To Mr. Loveridge, it makes no sense to mention American Airlines in this matter. The lionshare of World Cup traffic should originate east of Barbados. India, Sri Lanka, England, Ireland, Scotland, South African, Pakistan etc all those visitors more often than not will arrive in the Caribbean via London. Aussies and New Zealanders have the option of London or Miami via Los Angeles. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter if AA’s flight was almost empty one day of the week.

    What is more, I just checked the flight maps for all of AA’s flights into Barbados from Miami for the next week and they are all more than 80% full. Tommorow’s flight 1089 has just one empty seat.

    J.A. Griffith

  34. OK BFP George. I got carried away cause I am so disapointed with the double standards and hyprocrisy in my otherwise beautiful island.

    There is too little debate in this island about policies and programs to move this island forward. For example: Thompson talked about a policy that allows for small indigenous businesses and citizens to get a minimum % of government contracts. Is this a laudable policy? Can it work? These are the issue sthat the BLP should discuss as well.

    Arthur just likes to be personal and dirty. Look at his feeble attempt to discredit Sleepy during his budget wrap up last. He constantly uses the office of PM to publicly use private information in attacking those who cannot defend themselves.

  35. Javon Griffith

    I am very distressed by these injudicious comments made by “Peter Piper” to taint the name of my great and noble PM, Hon. Owen Arthur. He remains the best PM to ever grace the floors of Parliament since the Late E.W. Barrow. He has done nothing but successfully lead the BLP in their quest to improve the quality of life for all the citizens of this island. It is rubbish and irrelevant who the PM sleeps with, when, whether they got pregnant etc. It’s all a load of uncalled for propaganda which seeks to sway the electorate away from the reality of what is going on in the island. The reality is that this country is in the best state it has ever been in and we only have our brilliant PM to thank for that.

    If you don’t like the PM, that is fine, but don’t add rubbish to your disapproval of him. Additionally, if you don’t like him, vote for David Thompson at the polls whenever they are called. Then come back here and cry out when your pay gets cut.

    It’s really remarkable though, a man says the country is in a financial crisis, yet, within 100 days of assuming the reigns of Government, he will give away $600 million lol. I know Barbadians aren’t that naïve.

  36. Adrian Loveridge

    Naughty, naughty Mr Griffith.
    How was it that I was able to book TWO seats on tomorrow’s AA1089 just moments ago.
    Perhaps a few other BFP readers would try and confirm this (

    And what do you mean ‘it doesnt really matter if the AA’s flight is almost empty one day a week’?

    I also mentioned that VS29 flights from GATWICK has 200 empty seats.

  37. Adrian Loveridge

    Oh! Mr Griffith…
    the things some people will say just to try and discredit others.

    Just managed to book another 4 seats for tomorrow AA1089 flight which according to you ‘just had one empty seat’.

  38. Michele


    Do you live in Barbados? You must be on some other rock, for it you take off your rose coloured glasses you would see what everyone else does.

    Owen don’t have a moral bone in his body, why shouldn’t people get personal he does,doesn’t he?

    Or do you have enough money to get the hell out when suffering starts in Barbados a trickel down effect form your PM and his crooks?

  39. Wishing in Vain

    If you were to try booking this flight you would see how many seats were unbooked when you go to seat selection on the AA website.

  40. John

    Anyone remember a guy called Lord Profumo, or Perfumo or what ever?

  41. John

    Here is an interesting article in the Telegraph on professional politicians and a comment on the same Lord Profumo.

  42. Adrian Loveridge

    Wishing in Vain…

    I took your advice and just checked AA1089 from now until 31st March.

    ‘they all all more than 80% full’ Mr Griffith?

    You can fool some of the people some of time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

    Down to Brass Tacks Sunday 25th March at 11am.

    Let’s see if we can get to the truth!

  43. Javon Griffith

    Mr. Loveridge

    I made that comment yesterday. The seats change each day based on reservations not paid for by 11:59pm each night so it is very possible for more seats to be open today. I just returned to Barbados on March 11th, on flight 651 from Miami and it was completely full.

    As I said, it fluctuates daily.

    Each 757 has 188 seats. These are the percentages.

    AA651 tonight, 5 empty seats. 2.6%
    AA1089 tommorow, 14 empty seats 7.4%
    AA651 tommorow night, 42 empty seats 22.3%

    What you need to recognise, is that those estimates are flawed. For all of my recent flights on AA, I looked at the maps up to the day of my departure, and they were incorrect. On my flight out, my entire row was empty, this was not the case, on the day, the flight was full.

    It’s a really complicated issue.

    What I would like to know, is the significance of whether AA’s flights from Miami or full or not. Barbados and Trinidad are the only two countries this side of the Caribbean that has two flights a day from Miami to Barbados, that alone should be a blessing. It really cuts down on tranfer times at (MIA). Jamaica has more because of their proximity to (MIA). Other islands can’t boast of the same. In fact, the only islands in the Caribbean that has more airlift by American than us is Aruba and Jamaica.

    Additionally, with the case of Virgin, they have nine weekly flights into this island, way more than any other island in the Caribbean. That is significant. We can’t get annoyed whenever a half full flight comes in. It’s just one of those things that happens. Additionally, you cannot blame the Minister of Tourism or anyone else for empty seats onboard an aircraft. It’s just not fair.

  44. Javon Griffith


    The PM doesn’t air people’s dirty laundry in public. I distinctly remember August 2006, when the PM was married, the Hon. Member for St. John made disparaging comments in the paper about the PM not inviting cabinent members to his wedding etc. Who cares? That is the PM’s business who he invites to his wedding. Then we went on to talk about the PM’s children. Not once has my PM mentioned the family of the Hon. Member for St. John. NOT ONCE. Whenever my PM, attacks the Hon. Member for St. John it is always politically related, nothing about his family and you know it.

    You don’t know what the Hon. Member for St. John does is his free time, besides making love with Old Brigand.

  45. Eve

    I just returned to NY from Barbados on 3/22 via AA flight. The plane was a very large 767 with just 50 passengers!! Each person had a private row to themsleves and the cabin crew were shaking their heads!! Not sure why the beaches were vacant during “peak” spring break season. Of course, I enjoyed the peace and quiet, but I did notice things just weren’t quite the same as during my many previous trips to my favorite place.

  46. Adrian Loveridge

    Mr Griffith, you make a categorical statement that one seat ONLY on AA1089 was available tomorrow and that THIS flight (not JFK or any other flights) was 80% full for the next week.

    BOTH were incorrect.

    You FORGOT to mention that flight loadings COULD and MAY vary, so if you are talking about being fair, perhaps you could start by applying that principal to your comments.

    You may also wish to read Eve’s comments stating there were only 50 passengers on the BGI/JFK flight.

    Perhaps those numbers changed during after take-off?
    The Minister of Tourism shapes policy and ensures it is implemented to the betterment of the industry and the country.

    If he gets it wrong so often, who should I blame?

  47. Chase

    Boy I hope Adrian nail Lynch just like he nailed Javon Griffith. I got my beers in the cooler already.

  48. Javon Griffith

    Mr. Loveridge, you cannot lay blame for an airline’s empty seats at Minister Lynch and you know it. You’re looking for someone to blame. A flight from Barbados to New York had 50 passengers, so what? What is the big deal? Go and find out how many it came in with. You’re making a fuss over nothing. Some flights will be full, some will be empty. That’s the way it goes.

    Don’t you think other mature tourism destinations in the Caribbean experience the same thing?

    On another note, why don’t you go and tell the Hon. Member for St. John to make you his Minister of Tourism, just like that geriatric in St. Lucia that made Allen Chastenet his Minister of Tourism?

  49. Wishing in Vain

    Griffith you are out of place and making yourself a complete a_s on the subject when you lie and then try to coverup your lies everyone sees your error these flights have not been full for ages and will continue to be so for some while later because people are avoiding travel to Barbados at this time due the confusion with CWC.
    I had an overseas supplier call me on Wednesday saying that he was trying to get to Barbados but on inquiring he was told that all the hotels are full because of CWC this I told him was utter nonsense I have since booked him into a hotel with no problem with an arrival of next Tuesday

  50. Javon Griffith

    No one is yet to make the connection between CWC and American Airlines……why would you expect a host of Americans in for CWC? Shouldn’t it be people from the countries that the teams originate in?

  51. Jupiter

    I believe the minister agreed with a caller that the indians and pakistanis cricket fans donot live in the subcontinent but in North America and the U.K. – Hence the connection to american airlines and CWC.

  52. No - Name

    As I have said before Javon is a complete idiot…..
    He knows nothing….he speaks without thinking and for someone who defends muscles and says they work in the hotel sector you should never have to make the connection between AA and CWC.

    It is quite obvious that people like Javon are distracters. Don’t let us waste time with them.