Inter-Regional Trade Down 22 Per Cent – What Do You Expect When Inter-Regional Flights Are Slashed By 40 Per Cent?

barbados-liat-crashing.jpg

‘Our inter-regional trade is down 22 per cent. That’s a lot’

So disclosed Peter ODLE. Bajan hotelier and President of the Caribbean Hotel Association (CHA), at their annual conference in Miami yesterday (Tuesday 19th June 2007).

‘Already what has happened (with the impending merger of LIAT and Caribbean Star) is that (they) have reduced from 30 aircraft a week to approximately 14 aircraft. They have reduced the flight schedule by almost 40 per cent throughout the region’ said Odle.

After the Barbadian taxpayer has already ploughed over $40 million into LIAT according to the Prime Minister, the current high airfare levels are killing intra regional travel.

Mr Odle adds ‘Present airfares will keep Caribbean vacation travellers at home and will deter island hopping by foreign visitors who might have wanted to visit a neighbouring island or two during their holiday’.

Just how many more of the region’s tourism industry leaders have to voice their extreme concern before ‘our’ Tourism Minister is galvanised into action?

Based on average stay and spend, the Government of Barbados loses more than US$128 in VAT revenue alone for each Caribbean traveller that doesn’t grace our shores.

If ‘we’ (Barbados) are also down around 22 per cent in regional long stay visitor arrivals, it does not take a rocket scientist to calculate the overall national loss in tourism revenue to the country.

Add to this the reduced number of US visitors so far this year and ‘we’ have a problem!

Adrian Loveridge

See Regional trade falls after airline trouble Trinidad Express, Wednesday 20th June 2007.

Photo: LIAT does a “Bob Hoover” on short final for the last time

19 Comments

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

19 responses to “Inter-Regional Trade Down 22 Per Cent – What Do You Expect When Inter-Regional Flights Are Slashed By 40 Per Cent?

  1. Jerome Hinds

    With such a pathetic reality…..can Owen Arthur hail the CSM as Barbados’ ” finest hour ” ?

    A glorified hypocrite he is !

    Interesting that he can have the Nation news over the last 2 days highlight his views on the many
    ” challenges ” that the CSM has been faced with !

    So much for his heroics….as having lead responsibility for the implementation of the CSM.

  2. Jerome Hinds

    The plane in the picture…..looks like the one Owen Arthur and Noel Lynch are flying !

    CSM & LIAT…..both upside down !

    2 colossal hypocrites….those 2 men !

  3. Hants

    Peter Wick ham wrote in the Nation.
    ” I am sickened by the manner in which LIAT is now able to charge me whatsoever it chooses. I reached my personal limit last week when I was forced to pay US$535.50 to fly to St Kitts via Antigua for one day. This included a US$390 fare plus S$145.50 in taxes. I was especially concerned about this since I paid US$581.10 to fly to New York two weeks ago. ”

    A Toronto Travel agency is Advertising this fare in Canadian dollars. BARBADOS TO TORONTO
    Rates from $439.00 plus taxes of $185.00.

    Prehaps the LIAT PR person can explain why they must charge such high Fares.

  4. John

    …. the fares are going to be rationalised ….. Minister Lynch says so himself tonight on TV!!

    …. In fact, he says if that doesn’t work, they may even have to be subsidised!!!@@@@@???!!

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    Prime Minister’s Roosevelt Skerritt and Keith Mitchell, The Secretary General of the CTO, Vincent Vanderpool Wallace, St. Lucia Minister of Tourism, Allan Chastanet, current and former Presidents of the CHA, Peter Odle and Berthia Parle and CEO Alec Sanguetti, St. Vincent and The Grenadines Minister of Culture, Peter Wickham and the endless spokespeople for the regions many Hotel and Tourism Associations.

    YOU ALL HAVE IT WRONG (According to Mark Darby, CEO of LIAT (1974) Ltd.

    Barbados Advocate Thursday 21st June 2007

    ‘On average Liat’s fares have increased by US$10 since October 2006 across the network’

    Ladies and gentlemen, why are you moaning about an average ‘across the network increase of US$10’?

    Mr Darby went on to state ‘LIAT currently has a fleet of twelve aircraft. When the merger is complete, we will have 16-17 aircraft all together’.

    Hang on a minute, didn’t I hear the Chairman of LIAT boast on the Down to Brass Tacks Sunday programme that they employed 752 people (and remember only two are non-Caribbean nationals).

    62 employees per aircraft!

    Yet Dr. Holder is lecturing Travel Agents saying ‘It means that those who are stuck with the old ways of doing business are about to go out of business’

    Is this the pot calling the kettle black?

    But don’t worry, be happy.
    According to Minister of Tourism, Noel Lynch, Look out for cheaper airfares by August.
    ‘With the full rationalisation of LIAT and Caribbean Star, and increased co-operation between all regional carriers on course, he expected the cost of airline travel to fall by then’.

    He added ‘It (the Air Jamaica Barbados/Fort Lauderdale flights) start at US$378 as a leading (lead-in) price. They tell me now that you can’t even go to St. Lucia for US$378’.

    But Minister, LIAT fares have only gone up by an average of ‘US$10’, how can that be?

  6. Rumplestilskin

    Intra-island airfares are way too high. Too much operation cost servicing and ‘slush money’.

    An assessment needs to be done on forming an ‘independent pilots group’, with the Governments providing medium terms loans (5-8 years) in funding small aircraft, maybe even some Government grant s(instead of plowing monies into LIAT).

    The administration cost need reducing and by allowing a small pilots association to run the intraisland air, within specific parameters and with minimum flight commitments I would think that costs and efficiency can be improved.

    Allow the pilots to run their own business, with planes of their choice (within parameters).

    To ensure safety, minimum plane and plane inspection guidelines can be laid down.

    Is this not an option???

  7. Anonymous

    My next holiday is a leisurely cruise.

    Air Travel is for Business only.
    – get with the program.

    “Air Travel Holiday” is now an oxy-moronic term.
    Can’t STAND airports any more.
    Not to mention flying in cramped heated aluminium beer cans with no aircon.
    Wow – what a deal for all that airfare, PLUS $60 extra GAIA taxation.
    How could I resist? Easy!

    Air Travel sux.

  8. Mercy plea

    Lord Jesus we tired of the Lynch clown. I am calling on the short man to fire Lynch or I am withdrawing my taxes. Forgot I am a PAYE guy. Anyhow my point stands lets be done with this MM Lynch fool. Short man hit two whites and send home the Lynch moron.

  9. Wishing in Vain

    Really I do have a very hard time listening and believing anything that that idiot Lynch says he is the most compulsive liar on this earth, he lies when it is not even necessary to lie that gives you some idea as to the extent of his sickness.
    What in heavens name is going on with what was supposed to be a merger the the supposely great Owing Arthur was handling, it appears to have run into a major snag with Caribben Star now saying no merger for me you can buy me out, more money is going to be coming out of our taxpayers pockets to finance Owing hick up and blunder.
    After we have chided BWIA and the T and T gov’t has made sure we suffer with their routings of the new C A where they have made sure not to service B’dos at all in a vexed response to Owing et al grumblings.
    Then we have him taking charge of this LIAT / Caribbean Star merger (now moving to a buy out of Star) and cocking it up to the point things have fallen apart with Stanford and he has been told go fly a kite, he sets the Caribbean up for some of the most expensive air travel on record.
    The idiot Lynch splutters that airfares are coming down meanwhile Jean Holder is saying that these are the airfares they need to survive in the business, Lynch opens his mouth an nonsense rushes forth.
    In my humble opinion the fares are part of Owings grand plan to keep air travel to an essential act for people of the Caribbean and they will remain as they are for some while, as for Lynch when he can encourage Owing to reduce these ridicious airfares and the abnormally high airport tax that he put in place more than doubling the previous cost and now applicable to intransit passengers as well which is a criminal act.
    They are a bunch of criminals anyway so maybe we are asking too much of them to be honest with the public, we need sense being brought to proceedings not emotions and vindictive acts as we are seeing.

  10. M.M.Lynch

    It is my JOB to tell The People (on CBC-TV)
    what they want to hear

    My job pretty much parallels what you see on the door of any Bajan Police car.
    To serve protect AND RE-ASSURE.

    un believable!

    ..that part of the Barbados Police motto is
    to say tut tut there there..everything’s gonna be allright,baby.

    wow what a job, huh?
    placating nervous old ladies.

    Well, that TOO is my Job,
    to reassure and to tell the folks voting me BACK into power,
    that everything’s gonna be alright.

    And I get paid well for it, too!
    ……………………..

    Poor Owen: long overdue for a heart attack.
    Doan worry,bro…it wun’t be long,now.

  11. Peltdown Man

    One way to reduce costs and staffing numbers, with all the attendant problems, is to outsource on competitive bids. On another thread some time ago, Adrian Loveridge asked how companies like Easyjet can offer such low fares. There are lots of reasons, but outsourcing things like maintenance and ground handling are some of them. Even then, LIAT operates aircraft in a very “hostile” environment. Sea air, Sahara dust, and very frequent take-offs and landings. These put extra strain on undercarriages, engines and airframe. Then there is fuel – somehow we are able to live with our own increases in fuel bills, but not able to tolerate it when LIAT suffers from the same increases. We have all been living in a “fools paradise” for too long with intra-regional air travel. One way or another, it has been subsidized for 30 years at least. If Caribbean governments really want to assist, then they should reduce the ridiculous level of taxes that are attached to these air fares. Compared with transatlantic fares, intra-regional fares are relatively low, so that the same amount of tax added to the long haul fare takes a much lower proportion of what the passenger has to pay. There is no doubt that costs can be saved on staffing, but be prepared to put up with even more “couldn’t care less” service. As for St Lucia inviting American Eagle to operate the Barbados St Lucia run, isn’t that going to have the same effect on LIAT that giving route taxis the most profitable routes has had on the Transport Board? Both LIAT and the Transport Board have the same problems – they are supposed to be providing all things to everybody, but nobody wants to pay for them to do it, least of all the passengers.

  12. Peltdown Man

    Rumplestiltskin
    How many small pilots are there? Isn’t that discriminating against large pilots?

    Really, though, what you are proposing is ZR airlines. Won’t be long before they’re armed with wing-mounted guns and shooting each other down for a fare.

  13. Rumplestilskin

    Peltdown Man: The thought re ZR Airlines really did cross my mind when writing, that us what parameters and rules are for. But they don’t work on the ground either, huh?

    Shooting each other down? LOL!

    At least then we’d have an unoffical airforce.

  14. Anon

    How ironic, Minister Lynch saying that fares will come down in a couple of weeks then you turn some pages in the newspaper and there is Dr Holder saying that we are paying what is the “right” price to keep the airline going. Who’s right? Or does Min. Lynch have a plan to add some more taxes to the overtaxed population to pay for bad management and an airline that should be shut down and replaced (to much baggage)!

    Liat has been going through this great big overhaul and still there have not been that many changes in management or how the airline is staffed or works.

    I agree with Adrian, Dr. Holder is living in the past and can’t control the beast, I don’t think he has a grip of the aviation industry.

  15. Another View

    Imagine that! they now want to offer Liat protection and not let any competition in (American Airlines) so that we poor people got to keep on paying rediculous prices.

    I say bring back Caribbean Star and American Airlines and any others and let them all have a go at it with Liat. Don’t give Liat any more funding / protectionism and let good old economics take care of the rest.

    Open skies.

    Even if some smaller islands dont get as much service as they do now there are smaller airlines ready to take over moving passengeres. Right now Barbados is going to be funding Liat for those small islands to get service and to help Antiguans keep jobs.

    Like we can afford that!!!

    Open the skies and let all hell break loose until the dust settles. The travellers will be a lot better offf and strong serious airlines stronger and better will emerge.

    Come on PM, lets see some of your brain power put to use with your economics background as you are letting us all down now.

  16. Rumplestilskin

    Anon ”Liat has been going through this great big overhaul and still there have not been that many changes in management or how the airline is staffed or works”

    Ah! Managment? Staffing? THAT is the problem.

    An intra-island airline should have three things only:

    – practicality, safety and cheap fares.

    Thus, NO or very little skeleton management crew.

    Apart from the elderly or incapacitated…carry wunna own bags!

    Pilots, cheap but reliable (read beatupable) and low maintenance (not at the expense of safety) small aircraft (there MUST be some).

    Only skeleton booking and handling crew. As Peltdown man says, outsource maintenance, with inspector checks to ensure no cut corners in THAT area.

    And no lotta bags you know, weight is fuel, you pay extra for dem two suitcases fulla stuff froM T&T.

    Don’t worry, we will at least have a pretty attendant to tell wunna politely ‘put de bags where dey belong, nuh!’

    THAT is how to run a regional airline.

    -practical, safe, effective. Money spent only on pilots, plane, fuel. No fancy CEO or nuttin so.

    Done!

  17. Peltdown Man

    Rumple’s not far off the mark, but I suspect that LIAT’s real problems begin and end in operating their main base in Antigua. The place is a disaster, and productivity in their engineering department is non-existent – in fact, take that as all departments. Move the base to Barbados. I know that we’re not the greatest when it comes to productivity, but the route network would, I feel, work better from here, with a satellite hub in Antigua to serve the Leewards. The problem would be the $60 departure tax, though. Way too high for regional passengers to pay.

  18. Another View

    Our PM can’t move Liat from Antigua, the island would collapse! It would be a big blow for Antigua! and you know our PM is all for the CSME etc. We got to keep each other going, I mean, he is trying to be the next PM of the region, that would not look good for him to get votes from that island.

    So we bajans will have to continue with our high airfares, high taxes etc to keep the airline going for the Antiguans to be happy.

  19. Adrian Loveridge

    Well you heard it on the news (StarCom 7.30am today).
    Mark Darby, CEO of LIAT stating that airfares CANNOT come down without (further)Government subsidies!

    What the heck has the taxpayer been doing for years?

    $40 million (check if thats BDS$ or US$) from the Barbadian taxpaper alone according to the Prime Minister.

    Never mind the 62 employees per aircraft.

    My thoughts are not a cent more, Mr Darby, until we see a credible business plan.

    Its almost back to a monopoly and we all know from bitter previous experience what that means.

    High airfares.
    Take it or leave it service.
    Delays.

    Its over to you Minister Lynch, before you allow Intra Caribbean tourism to become an extinct species!