Bajan Helicopters Closes Doors – Now The Police & Barbados Government Will Have To Buy Their Own!

EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 11, 2010 BFP removed a paragraph from this reader-submitted article that made some statements about another helicopter company, Horizon Helicopters. The author of this article claimed “They’re no longer in operation, maybe survived 15 months…”

As it turns out, Horizon is in operation – so that part of this article was incorrect and it has been removed.

Original article as published April 11, 2009 but without the incorrect paragraph…

After almost twenty years of operation, Bajan Helicopters has had to close it’s doors.

Managing Director George Morris realised years ago that tourism alone would not be able to sustain the company, however he ploughed along trying to work with what he had.   He had sent serveral detailed proposals to both existing and past governments, highlighting the cruicial need for a national helicopter service.   I can’t remember the year, but he had even set up a meeting with a helicopter manufacturer, flown to Europe with government officials – what came of that???  Nothing!  Not even “We’ll get back to you”.

Last year he arranged for 2 reps from American Eurocopter to meet and present to a new Government – again, no interest.   Late late year, he realised that the company could no longer continue, so he wrote yet another proposal, this time it wasn’t about saving the company, it was about utilising the 1st class heliport/facility that he managed to build over the last 19 years.

Capt. Straughn was appointed to look into it, but that’s as far as it got!

By the way, the heliport is on government land – Min of Housing and Lands stated that the heliport was not the best economical use of the land.  So, they increased the rent from $2,000.00 to $12,000.00!!! (Even though most of the expensive equipment has been removed, it’s still an impressive facility – I encourage you to go and take pics)

For years, the government has been benefiting from free service from BH, from the Min of Fisheries to the RBPF…they’ve all had their turn.   For years BH were dragged through the coals by Department Civil Aviation, they adhered to all the demands (silly or otherwise) put upon them, so they could continue to provide a service to visitors and Bajan alike.

A year or so ago, the DCA grants another company (Horizon Helicopters) to operate in Barbados.

EDITOR’S NOTE: On May 11, 2010 BFP removed a paragraph from this reader-submitted article that made some statements about another helicopter company, Horizon Helicopters. The author of this article claimed “They’re no longer in operation, maybe survived 15 months…”

As it turns out, Horizon is in operation – so that part of this article was incorrect and it has been removed.

Presently Barbados (a well developed Nation), has no means of air rescue (and Bajan Helicopters achieved quite a few)  The BTA/photographers have no means of acquiring aerial photography, videos/promotional shoot, etc.   No more Bachelor type programs… much for progress!!!


Filed under Aviation, Barbados

56 responses to “Bajan Helicopters Closes Doors – Now The Police & Barbados Government Will Have To Buy Their Own!

  1. reality check

    slowly but surely the things that have made Barbados special from other islands are disappearing.

    How many millions have gone into saving Clico which has been seriously offside for a number of years?

    Its all about leadership and vision.

    There is none.

    Congratulations to George for all his hard, professional and dedicated work is spite of countless obstacles.

  2. Donald Duck, Esq

    How come we have not heard much from CLICO these days. The Barbados chief was objecting to some press comments on CLICO this week on CBC of which he is Chairman!!!

  3. 1234

    Businesses come and businesses go. That is just the way it is.

  4. Red Lake Lassie

    Businesses COME and then IF they are friends of Thompson they GO WITH MONEY.

    If not friends with Thompson, they just GO.

  5. cq8

    Remember when the government wouldn’t give Bajan Helicopters a Cricket World Cup contract? They awarded the contract to an outsider who then tried to hire Bajan Helicopters to fulfill the contract!

    George told them (govt & outsiders) to shove it where the sun don’t shine! 🙂

  6. Anonymous

    What is new?
    Leadership in Barbados does not like anything or anyone with initiative, or ideas or competence.
    This is a sad, sad story but not at all surprising.

  7. Hants

    George Morris sounds like a “go-getter”.

    He will survive this and probably come back with an even better helicopter business if he chooses.

    When the recovery is in full swing in 2012 and the Bajan economy is booming, good businessmen will take advantage of the “new prosperity”.

  8. Bajangal

    Amen Red Lake Lassie but sadly Thompson can’t take all the credit for that.

    You all need to understand that whether their name be Thompson, Arthur, Sandiford, Adams…………..they are all handpicked by the ones who are really in charge.

  9. Bajangal

    Tell me about it.

    My business was “forced” out of business for the same reasons.

  10. Bajangal

    With all due respect Hants, in my opinion,almost every time you make a comment you seem to be “softening” or “diluting” the message.

    Is it my imagination?

  11. Hants

    With all due respect Bajangal, in a capitalist society you are responsible for yourself.

    Lose a business start another or go and be an “employee”.

    George Morris was in business for 20 years.
    He will survive and prosper.

    This recession will end and entrepreneurs will prosper.

  12. Anonymous

    You have to understand that Government does not like competence even in Government Departments.

    In the early 90’s, I worked at the Polyclinic in Wildey. It was a wonderful experience. The Medical Records team were very competent and would have all the records picked out for the nex day, on the afternoon before.

    The van driver would park his car in District A police station, pick up the clinic keys and the clinic van by about 7.30 each morning. Several workers at the clinic and in the area of Waterford at its environs who worked at the clinic, and on or two from St James would some how assemble somewhere on his route from District A via Highway 3 via Hothersal Turning Round About and up the Highway to Wildey, such that by 8 a.m the entire staff used to be present.

    That clinic was able to open on time each day with a full compliment of staff, and when the doctors arrived the notes were waiting on thier desks.

    Guess what happened? Jack asses like “Gravy” Knight and the CMO started transferring the staff to all ends of the country from “Dan even unto Beersheba.”

    Dont say that a clinic cant be run efficientlty in Bim’ its not true, for I once saw it happen at Wildey Clinic.

  13. Sundowner

    I’m sad to hear this news.
    As to the comments on Clico , doesn’t anyone find the advertisment on Channel 8 insulting with the ‘gated’ community…………

  14. PiedPiper

    Bajangal, astute as always and no it’s not your imagination.

  15. Asiba-The Buffalo Soldier-'why should I wear a jacket and tie'

    I flew in the helicopter many times in a professional capacity. Only last week I was asking myself what was the status of Bajan Helicopters.

    I can tell anyone that a helicopter ride is one of the sweetest rides anywhere in the sky or on land.

    Sorry to see it go through de eddoes.

  16. Swanky Agent 007

    Asiba, shut up. You add nothing to any debate on BFP other than to stun us at the sheer miracle that you were able to become airborne.

    Bajangal, you are not imagining it. I think Hants is an old man approaching senility with a worldview tinted by rose coloured lenses, and a great many cataracts.

  17. What about when they offered $20 rides sponsored by Digicel during CWC 2007 and the queue ran around the block? They had to close the rides early because of demand

  18. bp

    Maybe George will go back to his old employer.

  19. Liquid Sunshine

    I think this is George Morris the son, not the father. George Morris Jr has always been self employed. I do believe the father retired years ago.

  20. Hants

    Hants may be getting old but I am still taking responsibility for my existence.

    No cataracts yet and my glasses are photo grey.

  21. Hants

    a worldview tinted by rose coloured lenses…..

    “Sources say that $150 million had been injected into the project by a Canadian company to help facilitate the project’s restart since it was halted on February 19.”

  22. Liquid Sunshine

    Just confirmed with my husband who’s a friend of the older Morris. It is the younger Morris that ran the company, the older one was the chairman but handed it over to him years ago.

  23. Asiba-The Buffalo Soldier-'why should I wear a jacket and tie'

    I believe I have freedom of expression

  24. queenam

    Why do you expect that just because a company opens business in Barbados, that the B’dos gov. should support it? if govt has to pump it up then it has no right operating.

    I think it is really pathetic the stupidity I read whenever some privately owned business in B’dos fails. For heaven’s sake look at something else to do and stop expecting tax payers monies to keep you afloat.

  25. Asiba – as much as I disagree with you many times, I accept you have right to dissent… Ah, but in Bim, you only have Free Speech so long you agree – please click on this link embedded in my name and you will see what a’holes much of the spoken word community is here…

  26. Bajeabroad

    Once again this closure and lack of government vision to see the importance of having a helicopter service on a tourism dependent island is absolutely incredible. We boast about 98% literacy and being a tourist island….let some west coast tourist go out to see and get into trouble and die because of our inability to react timely to the emergency. Then see how important it would have been to have that service. All our politicians do including this present lot of do nothingers!!! is pontificate, and spout hot regurgitate air to a hapless population…..Thanks gad i felt the damn rock… where nothing happens!!!

  27. IMHO – a small island developing state needs massive flows of Pub/Pvt Sector partnerships or one side or other will be too top heavy and unbalance either way that would adversely affect consumers, grow up!

  28. Asiba-The Buffalo Soldier-'why should I wear a jacket and tie'

    Hey Ian

    didn’t know that you disagreed with many times. I wonder on what issues—- maybe the FAT thing—hahaha

    I like it when people disagree with and challenge me, it helps me to grow and I am not small minded enough to cuss and dislike people who disagree with me. I think that to do so would be silly and immature.

    I have been trained to listen to and respect the other person’s viewpoint– Thanks to Errol Walton Barrow for the benefit of a University Education.

    I have had people come up to me and say all manner of things to me especially in relation to my songs that they probably thought would get me vex , only to be surprised and disarmed by my manner and my reaction. I entertain dissent. There is no growth without conflict.

    I know some people who have associated with me in various capacities who cannot tolerate dissent and who have victimized people as a result. BTW a lot of that goes on in this society and the attidude is sometimes demonstrated on these blogs..

  29. Asiba-The Buffalo Soldier-'why should I wear a jacket and tie'

    BTW -there is another FAT song coming

    so brace yourself

  30. Liquid Sunshine

    the story was more about government(s) not seeing the need and not wanting to pay for national helicopter service, but still ustilising a private one – free of cost. I don’t think it was soley about Bajan Helicopters receiveing financial help.
    From what I’ve heard, several governemnt departments have received quite a bit of free service over the years.

  31. Analyzer

    It’s very much a shame. Remember when a small island-hopper plane went down off the coast of Barbados, it was Bajan Helicopters that found it and reported the co-ordinates which resulted in lives being saved. George, I know the blood, sweat and tears you put into that company and I am sad to see that you have had to pull out.

  32. Anonymous

    This is the logic of this DLP government, instead of getting $2,000 a month for the land they increase the rent to the point that they drive the tennant out of business.

    So now thanks to this brilliant piece of “social engineering” Government does NOT get $12,0000.00, they do NOT get the $2,000 they were getting before. They do NOT get the tax revenue generated by the company paying income tax or VAT on its services. They do NOT get the income taxes paid by employees or the VAT on items bought by the employees or the company.

    This is a clear example of the type of thinking this Government has brought to the table. Putting people out of work and closing down Bajan businesses.

    Is this the change Bajans voted for?

  33. ??

    Bad as it is, ANYTHING is better than the last lot!!!

  34. Tell Me Why

    Why do you expect that just because a company opens business in Barbados, that the B’dos gov. should support it? if govt has to pump it up then it has no right operating.
    What say you about the $10 million for Clico? I did not hear you commenting on this issue or maybe you see nothing wrong with helping friends instead of businesses.

  35. yatinkiteasy

    Hi BFP…I think you got your facts wrong about the Competition that has replaced Bajan Helicopters…
    Horizon Helicopters is very much in business with two full time , highly qualified pilots. They operate from the front of the Concorde Hanger at the Airport, and provide excellent service for transfers, tours of the island, and aerial photography.
    Your negative and unfounded comments about their operation, and your seemingly intimate knowledge of Bajan Helicopters , including the rents paid, suggests someone with a close connection to Bajan Helicopters wrote this piece of garbage.

  36. Anonymous

    AT ?? is that the best you can do?

    by the way when are we going to see unemployment statistics??? Or is the government hoping no one will notice that they have stopped publishing them?

    Bajan Helicopters is just the latest in a a long list to fall victim to the policies of this government….

  37. There’s no business like show business
    Former pro wrestler and Governor of Minnesota Jessie Ventura said it best….

    There’s no difference between US politics and professional wrestling….

    Democrats vs. Republicans. Conservatives vs. Liberals. It’s all a big joke…..

    Anyone who has their hopes pinned on Obama is going to be in for a rude awakening….

    I would like to add an addendum to that:- ” BLP v DLP it’s all the same old, same old…

    The Politics of the “SAME OLD”…

  38. Bajan Tourism

    I work for the BTA and was told that Horizon was closed

  39. Bajan Tourist

    I had to check that I wasn’t getting the two companies mixed up – I called just called the Concorde Visitors Centre who informed me that Horizon Helicopters does not operate anymore. What a shame that we no longer have either operation…

  40. bajank

    FYI – nobody knows the ‘real’ story behind Bajan Helicopters and their demise and likely never will… by the way cq8 you are totally misinformed as are many other people who have commented on this!

  41. Sad To Say

    Sad to see it close, the silver lining is George will now have a chance to reunite with his lovely wife Barbara and his son that needs him more than ever at this stage of his development. The sad thruth is that in Barbados due to the economies of scale all businesses are vulnerable.

  42. Concerned Joe

    Man this place real nice……where is the leadership of David and the current crop of cronies….and for the record Mia and her cronies aint much better either!!…..what about the strategic development plan for the island leading to job creation….all I see is David flying all around talking about nothing….Ester, Haynesly and the rest all re-reading speeches….meanwhile no meaningful development taking place… talk talk…too nice here…what about serious development about alternative energy….after 30 years of studies…still not one windmill yet…waiting for oil to cross $100 again then pretend to talk about alternative energy…how about diversifying the economy….beyond furniture and sea island cotton….attracting industrial clusters…..I agree with Bajeabroad….bunch of do nothingers!!!

  43. yatinkiteasy

    TO :Bajan Tourism and Bajan Tourist…not true, Horizon Helicopters is still very much in operation…call them and book a flight if you doubt it! Only you know why you would spread lies about their closure.

  44. J

    “pontificate, and spout hot regurgitate air to a hapless population…..Thanks gad i felt the damn rock… where nothing happens!!!”

    Dear Bajeabroad:

    What did you intend to say?

  45. Bajan Tourist

    You need to relax….
    As I said, I called the Concorde place for clarification as I thought I was getting both co’s mixed up. They, not just me, said Horizon Helicopters is closed! Somebody is getting it wrong somewhere – if it’s me, then I’m not alone – so are the BTA and BHTA.
    Regardless, it’s sad to see either business that was/is a big part of our tourism product close.

  46. Sad To Say

    Brain power cannot be created from nothing. Did you expect Hainsley or even DJT to wake up one day annointed? None of the DLP politicians blazed a trail in their respective careers before becoming a minister of this or a minister of that. As a matter of fact they are just a bunch of average Joes and Janes who a trying to walk the walk and talk the talk and fool enough of us so they can return to the best life they will ever experience compliments of us the taxpayer. Unfortunately the Bs offerings are no more gifted interlectually. Same s@#$% on a different shift.

  47. Bajeabroad

    I intended to say

    “pontificate, and spout hot regurgitated air to a hapless population…..Thank God I left the damn rock…..a place where nothing happens”

    Kids don’t drink and type!

  48. I. G. Norance

    Why should a business that is economically viable be propped up by government? We are not talking of an industry but simply one business. If it enhances the tourism product so much why dont the large hotels pool and buy it?

    Goverment did not prop up Clico; the central bank made a loan as it does in any given week to any financial institution which requires it for liquidity purposes. It is a business norm. Please take some time to read, research or ask questions before spouting nonsense unless of course you have a political or personal bent.

  49. Analyzer

    We don’t know all the reasons. One thing I heard is that a long time ago when the previous party was in power Bajan Helicopters applied for a break on the duty for rescue equipment and they were turned down. I don’t know if that decision was over-turned. If you enhance a country’s security and rescue operations, surely some form of gratitude could be given, instead, the opposite is true. I would be frustrated too and say, I gone then.

  50. yatinkiteasy

    One of the main things that destroyed Bajan Helicopters was the fatal crash of one of their units several years ago..killing the pilot and several tourists from a cruise ship. Since then, the cruise ships cancelled all Helicopter Island Tours, which was a huge revenue earner . Land based Tourist tours and local business was never able to make up for the loss of the cruise ship business. And, if its true about the big increase in rental fees from the Government, its easy to understand why this turned out to be a non viable business. Pity..we should have a Helicopter service. Perhaps the Barbados Coast Guard should get one…God knows we pay enough taxes!

  51. Anonymous

    That crash was 17 years ago in 1992 I believe and they still seemed to be doing cruise ship business after that.
    As far as i am aware Bajan Helicopters was working with the Government on getting either a police or coast guard helicopter for 4 -5 years, but no one knows what ever came of it. Money I suppose.

  52. just saying

    greed and stupidity is a problem, when a little success comes along. Small Island nations should always remember where they came from and only then may they succeed.

  53. Chris Young

    My wife and I are coming to Barbados to celebrate our retirement. We came in 2008 and loved the people and place, hence our return trip. I had a trip with Bajan Helicopters. Freindly and highly efficient and a credit to Barbados., so persuaded my wife to join me for another trip! Well Barbados, you should be ashamed of yourselves driving out this tourist and local attraction.

  54. Flying fan

    To Mr. & Mrs. Chris Young

    Businesses come and go for many reasons. Horizon Helicopters is in business, is fully certified with modern new aircraft and would be happy to give you a flight.

    Read BFP article “Horizon Helicopters for an unforgettable Barbados adventure!”

  55. this was a sad sad day for barbados! george, gareth and the team were a delight, the bajan government should have listened. for someone to have been at the helm, doing all he could during the monserrat crisis, they seem to have forgotten that! george, u will be sorely missed!

  56. trevor yearwood

    Re Horizon Helicopters, I checked their website today and a notice says: “Horizon is closed to business and no longer offer Helicopter Tours!”. trevor