LIAT Chief Makes A Valid Point: Adrian Loveridge

liat-barbados-landing.jpg

LIAT chief: Blame heavy taxes

In a Nation news story today (Tuesday 12th February) under this heading, the Chief Executive Officer of LIAT is blaming regional Governments, including the three principal shareholder’s for the high intra Caribbean airfares. (Nation News link here)

Mr Darby has in my humble opinion a valid point.

Departure taxes, handling fees and other user fees have climbed to an all time high.

But let us examine an example of these fares.

Booking a month ahead and looking at the cheapest option on LIAT’s website for return flights from Barbados to St. Lucia, the fare is US$240.24.

Of this, the outward taxes and add-ons are US$55.87 and on the return leg, US$57.37.

So a total of US$113.27 or 47% of the overall airfare is made up of taxes and additional charges.

What Mr Darby fails to mention is that of the US$113.27 in add-ons, some US$28 is made up of LIAT’s own fuel and insurance surcharge.

There is no doubt that the new Minister and Tourism and all the associated agencies involved will currently be grappling with ways to redress the decline in intra regional travel.

Already many tourism industry leaders have spoken out passionately about the overall effect the decline in intra Caribbean travel is having on tourism revenue earnings and hotel occupancy especially in the critical eight long summer months.

No-one yet appears to have calculated this total loss in tourism income to each Caribbean nation, both in terms of lost Government taxes and private sector revenue against the monies generated through increased airport fees.

Clearly, if airfares are perceived as being too high as to deter people from travelling within the region, then Government’s must balance this against revenue that would have been generated by additional visitor arrivals.

Adrian Loveridge
12 February 2008

27 Comments

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

27 responses to “LIAT Chief Makes A Valid Point: Adrian Loveridge

  1. Tony Hall

    We all know that the rising energy costs are affecting air fares but the Caribbean governments are going to have to bite the dust and reduce those
    high taxes. A way must be found otherwise intra-tourism will be irrepairably damaged.

  2. Rumboy

    LIAT still will have to get their act together. It is a joke and an insult coupled with embarresment to all especially when one has to travel with an overseas rep to the islands. The unending delays, cancellation of flights at the last moment, misplaced baggage…never ending. Perhaps it should be scrapped and a franchise awarded to an international carrier.

  3. Rock

    I hear what Mr. Darby is saying and I agree to a point but let’s put this in perspective. One of the reasons why travellers are so ticked off with LIAT is a combination of two factors. Firstly and most importantly the service has become pathetic. As a customer of Late If A’ tAll, I have been seated in the departure area wondering when the flight will be called hours after it was supposed to depart. Or, being told over the PA system that the flight is leaving in 30 minutes………every 30 minutes for 3 hours, only to hear “final boarding call” and having to sprint 2 furlongs with about 30 other people to the gate, hoping it was not overbooked. And on top of that many times neither the pilot nor the attendant even apologize any more.
    Now, couple that frustration with the fact that you are paying what some people earn monthly to travel 45 minutes away. Ridiculous!!!!!
    I for one (and I am sure many others) would not mind the price as much if the service was reliable and the personnel more customer service oriented.
    Caribbean businesses can use LIAT as a model of “what not to do”. If there was continuous serious competition in this area, LIAT would be forced to shape up or fly out……if a’ tall.

  4. Bimbro

    I don’t live in Bim and so anything, which I say should be viewed in that context, but is this such a common occurence in Bim that it does n’t even merit mention in the national press or either of the blogs?

    Is it less important than Liat!! Is it another Jamaican, import????

    http://bajanreporter.blogspot.com/2008/02/carjacking-in-barbados-west-coast-roads.html

  5. Private Pirates

    well Darby got a point and it can be used as a valid point, but LIAT’s service is what is killing it.

    Example, I was going to Dominica on Feb 2, 2008. LIAT was suppose to leave at 1:45pm. It didnt get going until 3:20 pm. After boarding the flight, The Pilot announced that he is tired apoloising for LIAT’s shabby service. He further went on to say that the reason the flight was delayed was because they had to wait for an “EMAIL” from Antigua.

    Now that was the shocker, one single EMAIL had a plane grounded for so long, how hard is it and how long does it take to send an email?

    The Pilot also urge passengers to asked their respective Governmnets to look into the Administration of LIAT.

    A few months ago I also got chance to speak to another pilot while in Martinique, he was Antiguan born and believes that if LIAT main office was in Barbados service would be better. Antigua have over 400 persons on LIAT’s payroll up there, most of them ain’t doing NOTHING daily.

  6. Technician

    Bimbro:

    You were going soooo well ……..but you just had to say it didn’t you?………Jamaican import!!

    Guess you wouldn’t be yourself if you hadn’t.

  7. Technician

    Bimbro asks:

    …….but is this such a common occurence in Bim that it does n’t even merit mention in the national press or either of the blogs?
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    There……question asked and and answered.

    Just in case you missed it……..NO….it is not a common occurrence!

  8. Peltdown Man

    The problem with LIAT can be summed-up in three words. Antigua, Antigua, ANTIGUA!! From their engineering set-up to their “customer service” personnel, they are a disaster, and have been for 30 years. I honestly think sometimes that they deliberately try to see just how bad they can be.

  9. leave island any time

    i refuse to spend my money to go to other caribbean countries when airfares are so high and the service is pathetic from delayed flights, overbooked flights, flights leaving earlier than scheduled because they are full, baggage coming on a different flight a few hours later than the flight i was on, baggage lost. i decided a while ago that it was a better option to spend similar amounts of money to go elsewhere. i prefer to support my caribbean brothers but not when i am so inconvenienced.

  10. Bimbro

    Just in case you missed it……..NO….it is not a common occurrence!

    ************************************

    Oh, I see, so you’re waiting until it IS a common occurence!! Extremely, intelligent of you!!!!

    Anyhow, here’s a nicer story about your Jamaican friends!!!!

    Jamaican inspires British view of west indians!!!!

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/article794871.ece

  11. Bimbro

    I, may have just saved your life!!!! But, why would I expect a word of gratitude from you?!!!!

  12. Bimbro

    Did I mention the ‘J’, word?!!!!

    Opps, sorry!!!! Forgot, they’re sacrosanct to Barbadians!!!!

    Lordddddddddddddddddddddddddddd!!!! 🙂

  13. “Will Adrian Loveridge please make up his mind!”

    First it was the incompetence of the share holder governments in general and Noel Lynch in particular, then it was the overpaid superfluous employees, and now it’s the onerous taxes imposed by tax and spend governments. Which one is it? Truth be told, if regional hoteliers want to stimulate “intra Caribbean travel”, they should try reducing the exorbitant rates they charge to stay in a glorified bed and breakfast, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. What these people really want is for the tax payers to continue to subsidize their private fiefdoms.

    ****************

    BFP says,

    A few points…

    1/ Adrian Loveridge might want to reply to this himself, but in all his articles at BFP and BU he never exclusively blamed the poor performance of our industry on such narrow criteria as you falsely state… although the actions of the previous BLP government and Minister Lynch loomed large and still loom large as we examine the sorry state of tourism today. It will take years or even a decade to right the wrongs perpetrated in many sectors by the last government. We will never “catch up” to where we could have been.

    2/ Insofar as Adrian Loveridge being the recipient of some sort of subsidization from the previous government, we can only laugh. The government specifically excluded Loveridge’s Peach and Quiet Hotel and many other small hotels from its corrupt machinations. It actually established and heavily subsidized an entire chain of hotels in competition with Loveridge and the others… the GEMS fiasco! We are still waiting for the promises made by our corrupt former Prime Minister Owen Arthur when he said that the financial situation and government subsidies concerning Hotels and Resorts would be revealed. (Ya, right!)

    So not only was Loveridge not the recipient of subsidies – he was actually the victim of a government plan to establish nearby government hotels to take away his business.

    What happened?

    The government GEMS hotels failed spectacularly – while Loveridge’s Peach & Quiet Hotel was voted #1 in the entire Caribbean for best value by TripAdvisor.com

  14. Adrian Loveridge

    DeGap..

    You are so far out of touch with reality.

    Room for two persons (24 hours) – US$89
    plus 7.5% tax =Total US$95.68

    Departure taxes and other fees to leave Barbados
    US$59.92 per person (total for two persons) = US$119.84

    ‘exorbitant rates’

    You have to be joking!

  15. Bajanboy

    Degap:

    It is clear from the sharp fall off in intra regional travel over the past 12 months that the increased cost of intra-regional travel is to blame. Governments tax everthing into oblivion. Government should be forthcoming about how much money the airport service fee is raising, and whether this could be lowered. The airport should not be there to raise money for the consolidated fund.

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    BFP…

    THANK YOU.

    We (the revenue generating taxpayers) have yet to learn of the overall cost to us of the GEMS fiasco.

    My guess is that it exceeds $200 million and imagine if the private sector had use of that monies to market, renovate and re-position our small hotel sector.

    Just an increase of US$10 per room per night and 10% in overall annual occupancy would generate 37% more in revenue per year for each of our 110 plus small hotels.

    No other major Caribbean destination has lost 27 hotels over the last 14 years.
    Can any reasonable person call this good tourism planning and mangement by the previous policymakers.

  17. Rumboy

    Bajanboy –

    You are correct. The fall out of interregional travel is due solely to the extremely high cots of travel and nothing else.

  18. “The looking glass”

    Do “intra regional” travelers pitch tents on Brandons? After a thousand letters (yes I counted them) to every newspaper in the region with a thousand different reasons why LIAT was to blame for the decline of “intra regional” travel, Mr. Loveridge still has not acknowledged the fact that the price of an airline ticket is only one half of the coin. The other half is the cost of a hotel room. If hoteliers reduced their rates for “intra regional” travelers, “intra regional” travel would be that more attractive and affordable to the average WI. To blame LIAT’s management, shareholders, employees, or Noel Lynch was disingenuous. Private concerns must sink or swim in the free market without subsidies from taxpayers.

    ***********

    BFP Says,

    Degap should stop with the lies and attempts to discredit Mr. Loveridge. A quick search shows that Mr. Loveridge wrote about the dangers of the high cost of taxes on airtravel as far back as November 29, 2006 when the BLP government attempted to jerk up the airport exit tax 140%.

    Check it out for yourself at the November 10, 2006 Adrian Loveridge article Barbados Tourism Killer: Airport Departure Tax To Double and our November 29, 2006 BFP article Barbados Airport Exit Tax: Has Partial Sense Prevailed?

    Hey Degap…. by any chance are you really Noel Lynch? 😉

  19. “More facts; less fiction”

    The record speaks for itself, so there is no need for spin. For reasons known only to them, the Anti-LIAT brigade has embarked on a coordinated campaign of misinformation. The unsuspecting public has been inundated with one bogus letter or post after another and each time the reason or culprit for the evil empire that is LIAT changes. The BTA continues to whine about LIAT’s prices, while their prices remain unchanged without one incentive or bread crumb from BTA to stimulate interest in “intra regional travel”. Those are the facts…

  20. J.Holder

    You know it’s funny how I just happened to stumble upon this article. My family and I are travelling to Trinidad in May and wanted to fly over to Bim.

    I priced out the fare from POS to BGI and was astonished at the cost. I would like to find a Caribbean airline that would not end up costing me X-amount of dollars just to go “a few feet” (so to speak).

    What can drive these fares down?

    A new competitor?

  21. Jinx

    How about lack of competition. I knew when the ‘merging’ of LIAT star of the caribbean happened that prices would go nowhere but up. Even in Europe more than 50% of the price you pay is taxes, I have no idea what for.

  22. independent dem

    hi all

    remember the case againt GAIA Inc. for “illegally” raising the departure tax…. well the intention was for the government to raise revenue…

    have the minutes (baord) which say so…..
    case will resume soon… since the judge is soon back from maternity leave

    u no who

  23. Pingback: LIAT, Political Football Par Excellence! «

  24. Private Pirates

    FAST ferry coming
    The travelling public of St. Vincent and the Grenadines may very well be breathing a sigh of relief with the news that a ‘fast ferry service’ is coming, with April 2008 set as the month of inauguration.
    According to Dwight Parson, PRO of the Ferry Service Company, the company has invested in three fast boats – ‘Star Dancer 1’, ‘Star Dancer 2’ and ‘Fast Cat’, to connect St. Vincent, Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau and Union island with St. Lucia, Martinique, Barbados and Trinidad.

    ‘Star Dancer 1’ and ‘Star Dance 2’, will depart Union Island, the base of operations, at 6:30 each day, and travel between Union Island, Canouan, Mayreau and St. Vincent. Customers will be allowed personal effects and light cargo.
    The largest boat, the Fast Cat’ which has 4 engines and packs some 800 horse power, will travel between Union Island, St. Vincent, St.Lucia, Barbados, Martinique and Trinidad. The ferry is equipped with satellite communication offering internet service to its customers, so persons can take their laptop on board.
    The Ferry Company is owned by former hotelier Freddie Neart, who once operated the Big Sands Hotel, Union island.

  25. Jerome Hinds

    Private Pirates if your info. above is accurate then it is welcome news !

    Many persons are of the view that a dedicated intra regional sea transport system augurs well for movement of goods….in keeping with the CSME mandate.

    What may be a challenge, apart from the traditional hurricane season, is the fact that the cost of fuel is continually spiralling upwards…..therefore the authorities will have to adopt innovative approaches to combat such rising costs.

    A welcome initiative nevertheless.

  26. Private Pirates

    well we will wait and see. Persons like me can’t depend on LIAT shabby service. Last week I had to go to St. Vincent to attend some meetings, it was easier for me to charter Grenadines Airways, which took 16 of us there at the cost of $5120 (approx $320per person) taxes included. LIAT was charging us $6800 (approx $425 per person).
    So April 2008 is the D-Month, if it seriously works out and the Government of Barbados allows the service to operate from here as well, some of our travel woes will be answered.

    (You all rememeber the days of the Windward 1 & 2)

  27. Vincentian Import

    I am breathless with anticipation at the forthcoming ferry service. I had read your blogs with interest and an amazed at the lack of “vote with your feet” attempts at putting Liat firmly in its place! The service is over-priced and appalling. There isn’t an airline in the world that would stay in business for a second if it operated the way that Liat seems to think that it should. The mere lack of competition is stiffling the development of air travel in the Region. The Caribbean tourist industry is worth millions of pounds and if the smaller islands wish to enjoy the fortunes of the likes of Barbados and St Lucia, then it will have to ensure that the “Liat experience” doesn’t make the first trip of the new tourist, the last trip!!

    I have made at leat 6 trips to St Vincent from Europe in the last 2 years and arrived exhausted and quite fed up having to spend as long in Barbados and I have flying across the Atlantic. I will gladly be dragging my luggage across the island to catch my ferry to St Vincent.

    Vincentian Import