Regional Airfares Are Probably The Highest They Have Ever Been – Noel Lynch… Where Are You?

‘Government intends to do all it can to keep airfares affordable for Caribbean people traveling throughout the region’

That assurance was given by Minister of Tourism Noel Lynch during an interview which was carried in the Daily Nation on 5th February 2007 under an article headlined ‘Air Vow’ by Julia Rawlins-Bentham.

The Minister ‘warned that if airlines only flew to destinations that were considered economical, the movement of travellers in the region could be significantly retarded’.

He went on ‘we’re going to rationalise a low expense so that we can keep the rates manageable and affordable for Caribbean people to travel regionally’.

‘The region would either have to accept rates based on the true economic cost, or affordable rates with the cost of airline operations being subsidised. What that form of subsidisation can be is the same way we do things like marketing support… with everybody else like British Airways or Delta, but be very clear that if people went on strictly economic terms, there are a lot of people in the region who would not (be able to fly)’, Lynch said.

So three months later, where are we?

Intra regional airfares are probably the highest they have ever been in our history.

Virtually every national Tourist Board and Hotel and Tourism Association in the region has spoken out about the escalating airfares.

And only this week the head of the 32 country member Caribbean Tourism Organisation, Vincent Vanderpol-Wallace, described the record high costs of travelling short distances by air as the ‘silent killer’ to regional tourism.

So, what is Minister Lynch, as one of three key figures representing the taxpayers of Barbados, Antigua and St. Vincent and their interests in LIAT, going to do about the situation?

And equally important, when is the Minister going to demonstrate that his bold words are more than rhetoric, before we start to see the closure or yet more hotels in Barbados and across the region?

Last year, the Caribbean was Barbados’s third most important market, bringing us a higher number of long stay visitors than Canada.

We are in severe danger of losing a substantial portion of this market which has been the only significant market that has repeatedly above inflation growth.

Adrian Loveridge
23 May 2007

17 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

17 responses to “Regional Airfares Are Probably The Highest They Have Ever Been – Noel Lynch… Where Are You?

  1. Pingback: singlepilot.net » Regional Airfares Are Probably The Highest They Have Ever Been - Noel Lynch… Where Are You?

  2. J. Payne

    LOL Is Lynch hiding these days??? Did he get on one of those government charters and flee Barbados???? Too much pressure Mr Lynch we ent see you anymore….

  3. justice

    He is still enjoying his “finest hour”.

  4. Lost and Found

    I hear he likes to read. Anyone check down by the library in town. After hours.

  5. Wishing in Vain

    Lost and found that is not reading!!!!! that is needing!!!his must read under the street lamp?????

  6. Adrian Loveridge rightly points out the absurdity of air fares between Caribbean islands being so high at this crucial time.

    It is absurd that just at the time when our islands are trying seriously to get together, air fares have jumped beyond the purse of the common traveller.

    If there were ever a justification for Governmental subsidies for inter-island airfares it is now when they are desperately trying to convince their peoples of the rosy future for CSME.

    Exorbitant airfares will not only kill the low-end tourist industry as Caribbeans will not be able to afford a holiday with their children. It will also inhibit businessmen from making day visits for promotional business meetings.

    It makes no sense for Min. Lynch to defend the local airline’s high fares. One suspects that the only reason LIAT has not operated profitably in the past is simply INEFFICIENCY and corruption.
    Let other airlines provide competition.

    And why does Government adamantly block the attempts for inter-island vessels to ply between our islands as they have in the past? Is it to prevent competition with the featherbedded LIAT?

    If they are serious about promoting CSME’s aims, they should be actively seeking sea going transport, for passengers and the goods we will be selling each other. Our Bananaless Republic is still in the schooner age when it somes to Caribbean trade.

  7. Fly? - NotAgain!

    Let me illustrate how much these raised airfares are affecting people in these islands.
    I know a doctor/surgeon married couple who live in Grenada.
    This couple would (in the past) fly up to Barbados about once a month, for the weekend
    to see family, have a little fun and return home. Pleasant enough.

    Not now, though! It’s simply not worth the hassle(air travel!) – nor the expense !
    In fact just this morning the Doctor in the couple quoted that very reason(expensive!!)
    as the main reason she wasn’t coming up this weekend now ahead.

    Ladies and Gentlemen: this is a Doctor and Surgeon couple, with established practices!
    Such professionals don’t suffer for income,
    but they also know what’s a ripoff and how to prioritise!

    Such is the state of regional airfares.
    People are actively making the decision NOT to travel.
    Where are the inter-island hydrofoil ferries??

  8. J. Payne

    The government’s in the Caribbean should place airfares under the jurisdiction of the Fair Trading Commission.

  9. To LIAT

    They could keep dey Honey, I gine keep my money, and die wid my dignity.

  10. ??

    J. Payne, there is a reglatory body for airfares already.
    As usual on this topic I fully support Adrian Loveridges position. Something must be done NOW to save the summer traffic from Trinidad and other regional destinations.

  11. Anonymous

    I know a business man and at least two of his associates who used to travel often between Barbados, SVG and Trinidad and so far for the year they have not travelled ….they say they waiting for the fares to come down.

    I heard a travel agent saying last night onTV8 that bajan have to do a Paradigm shift and accept the higher prices….he must think we foolish!!!
    I say boycott the airlines..and wait for the boat

  12. ANon

    The sad thing is that our great economist the PM, will not let the market work as it should and allow for inefficient business (LIAT) to go out of business and let market forces take care of the rest (have competition, creating efficiency, new products etc). Instead, we have a bunch of Government’s backing inefficiency and pushing competition out. What more could we expect! I think the PM and Mr. Mascoll need to go back and do economics 101 again. They should have closed LIAT, let Caribbean Star continue and encourage a new airline (new being key, not rehashed LIAT) into the marketplace asap to counter Caribbean Star.

  13. Bush Tea

    When will you people wake up to reality? The reason that it cost so much to travel via LIAT is that salaries in this region are too high, productivity is too low, everyone wants their pound of flesh, and governments want their full tax income to spend on World Cup and Fly-overs so that we can all become world class.

    So you all want LIAT to subsidize this? They tried that for the last decade and only went broke.
    What cheap fares what?!

    Obviously if competition is brought on board we will see a temporary fall in rates while they try to force each other out of business. In the end, who do you think will pay?
    Either one or the other will win out (or they will MERGE) and then they will recoup all the losses they suffered while “competing”(i.e. what is happening now with LIAT.)

    This is only the beginning. There are no other long-term options. Either the prices will rise out of reach- or wages will fall below accustomed levels. (Due to devaluation)
    How long do you think that the new Neal and Massey /BS&T combination will continue to pay wages at current rates while enduring the levels of productivity traditional for the BS&T group? until they go broke too?

    Watch food prices.

  14. Godzilla

    News flash folks, tourism is a sunset industry, and just one among thousands worldwide. There isn’t a whole lot we can do to turn that around unless the boffins in the lab coats miraculously discover a replacement for the lifeblood of modern economies, oil. Although there are alternatives being proposed none of them so far come close to matching the energy density and versatility of oil and the high rate of energy returned on energy invested to produce oil.

    Best advice at this point, learn how to grow your own food.

    Here’s a snip from an article on peak oil and the impact on aviation posted at airliners.net

    Although debated and denied frequently, a massive shortfall in oil production is coming faster than many are willing to admit. Drs. Alex Kuhlman assesses the situation and its effect on the airline industry, and reminds us to start thinking about tomorrow.

    In the last few months, there has been increased media coverage about record high oil prices and future global oil production. Inevitable tightening of supply is destabilizing oil markets, which now exhibit extreme price responses to the smallest of disturbances. Interestingly, very few people know that world oil production is nearing its all-time peak, and today’s $60 barrel may seem like a bargain a few years from now. Production in more than 54 of the 65 most important oil-producing countries has already gone into decline, with the Middle East predicted to follow soon. The implications of having less oil tomorrow than we have today are far reaching with a global crisis certain to follow. Energy-intensive industries like commercial aviation will suffer first, followed by other industries, national economies, and the global economy. Ultimately, oil shortages will severely limit the world’s ability to sustain its population as food production relies heavily on fossil fuels. This is not a conspiracy theory or bible prophecy. Rather, it is the scientific conclusion of the most widely respected and conservative geologists, physicists, and economists.

    http://www.airliners.net/articles/read.main?id=81

    See also the educational on line videos at http://www.peakaware.com

  15. The thing

    No way Godzilla, ain’t going to let you pull that propoganda off! That is many years in the future and presently inapplicable.

  16. Obzerver

    The thing,

    That is NOT propaganda! How I wish it were!
    we are already seeing the first inklings of this problem, and of the human overpopulation problem everyone prefers to ignore!
    In short…your future is grim…everyone’s future is grim, so try en ‘band up yuh belly’! (gird thy loins)

    and like the guy above that last comment said, how long do you think Neil&Massey are going to tolerate BS&T-style inefficiencies, before jacking up food prices sky-er-high-er than theyare already?????

  17. yatinkinkiteasy

    Its like “Global Warming”…back in the 70`s, the top scientists of the day were warning about the alarming trend of “Global Cooling”…
    Just for a balanced view of this, look at a documentary called.”Domesday called off”..(posted on U Tube)…also “The GreatGlobal Warming Swindle”…
    Remember how for years the experts made us eat margarine because it was better for you than butter? Now its the other way around….same thing with global warming….
    Yes we should reduce our dependence on oil, but man is not responsible for global warming…Its an act of God.