Tourism Matters: New flights to Barbados from RedJet, WestJet, JetBlue, GOL/Varig and American give hope for 2011

Let’s target some new markets and work hard in the New Year

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

Fair competition is a wonderful thing and personally I don’t think it’s anything to fear. Hopefully soon the necessary operating licences will be granted and the prospects of seeing some reduction in the cost of intra Caribbean travel will become a reality.

And how exciting to see the international aviation registration of 8P emblazoned on a Barbados based aircraft and the generation of new on-island employment in this sector.

Even before REDJet takes commercially to the air, the limited competitors have already been galvanised into action. The Trinidadian carrier, Caribbean Airlines, taking half page newspaper ‘ads’ pointing out a choice of seat classes, complimentary drinks, meal or snack, in-flight entertainment and the fact that you can earn miles, amongst other possible differences or benefits. Ultimately, the consumer will have a choice, as to whether they prefer more affordable travel or the once almost standard perks.

There is no doubt that high airfares (and taxes), have had a detrimental effect on our regional visitor arrival numbers.

The introduction of WestJet and JetBlue has driven increased travel out of North America, without seemingly damaging the long established legacy carriers. In fact American Airlines have just added a new Dallas/Fort Worth non-stop service.

Travelers, especially during the current challenging economic times are becoming more price conscious. One example recently when some guests who live in Ontario, but crossed the border to fly with JetBlue out of Buffalo, because the airfare was considerable lower than either WestJet or Air Canada from Toronto.

There were at the time, some critics concerning the GOL/Varig flight from Sao Paulo, but in my humble opinion, it was the very best option available in every respect, choice of city, airline and type of aircraft. We need to explore the potential of new markets and anyone thinking that you can achieve this with full flights from inception, does not belong in the real world.

I still feel the ultimate success of the Brazilian flight will depend on a holistic approach, where we identify niche markets, involve our island neighbours and very importantly, cultivate trade linkages.

If I have one objective observation, it is a disappointment that we have not seen any trade delegations. While Barbados must be viewed as a tiny market, I am sure there are opportunities, especially in the agro processing area. A significant contribution from air freight charges could play a very important part in both the long term sustainability of this flight and increase in frequency.

Now, if I had a 2011 ‘wish list’ for new flight routes, it would look like this: 1) Ottawa; 2) Winnipeg; 3) Halifax; 4) Berlin; 5) Moscow; 6) Zurich; 7) Panama; 8) Costa Rica

Two of these may look a little out-of-reach, but in Great Circle distances Berlin is only nine hours away and Moscow less than twelve. All three Canadian cities could be seasonal and operated either by WestJet or AirCanada.

To end the column let me pay a tribute to all those involved in tourism who will sacrifice quality time with their families to ensure that our cherished visitors enjoy the best Christmas ever.

20 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

20 responses to “Tourism Matters: New flights to Barbados from RedJet, WestJet, JetBlue, GOL/Varig and American give hope for 2011

  1. Well as the man said lets all work to make this happen , as we all know the economy needs it to happen and we can all do our bit it is in the well being of all the country .

  2. Responder

    Trust me Kyle, we more than need it. I have it up to here with LIAT, and the other airlines are almost as worst when it comes to Caribbean airfare prices. Can’t remember the last time i took a trip to the islands, can’t afford to. But apart from that , we need to energize inter-regional trade once again and these airlines will bring much needed competition in the industry.

  3. SMALL FROG in a big pond

    Of course you know the reason the ferry has not started to run is because the BIG FROGS IN THE SMALL PONDS didn’t/don’t want competition for LIAT. “Island attitudes” right along…. keep the money coming into my pocket oh ye tadpoles – and I’ll see you don’t get any contests…

  4. Responder

    I would truly like to know who these BIG FROGS propping up LIAT at this stage. cut your losses BIG FROGS, cut your losses.

  5. SMALL FROG in a big pond

    The PM of St. Vincent is one….

  6. Responder

    St. Vincent PM, like he is really a big frog for truth. Tell me some more, Small Frog. We need to expose them and let them know it is time for change. Lower airfares, here we come.

  7. BGI

    Low airfares, my royal Red one. O ye of little understanding, did you forget Carib Express so soon? How they were the great white Speedwing hope, to bring affordable jet travel to the unwashed masses of islanders, and drive that pesky LIAT out of business? Don’t you remember Caribbean Star, which was to do the exact same, guided on to victory by Sir Stan himself (another great white hope), except that it would pull it off right in LIAT’s back door?

    And here we have another great WHITE hope, just in the form of a family… and you expect it to be different? How, exactly? Because they own the aircraft?

    Remember little froggie Bruce (Canadian by name) of Trans Island Air? He owned the aircraft too, just that when his flyboys were giving him trouble, he flew the planes to Antigua one clear morning, then handed everyone their pink slips. His planes, his game. 50 people out of work because he had a bad day. Nuts.

  8. Responder

    What are you saying BGI, that LIAT has been in recent memory the saviour to us all? You remember the strikes, layoffs, etc. Well there you have it. Rather than be screwed by foreigners, get screwed by your own.

  9. Responder

    Let me apologize for the above statement about being screwed by foreigners and by our own. I have retracted this statement.

  10. BGI

    LIAT strike action is a little different.

    The topic (as I understood it) was about the hope for 2011 for improvements in the sector, not only because of the introduction of RedJet and (supposedly) low fares, but also the hope of Adrian Loveridge seeing additional airlift opportunities. All I was saying is that we shouldn’t hold our breath over the new guy, because we have a history of taking one from the outsiders. Now, Responder, your statement is also true.

    If there is a market out there, it certainly is not in the air transportation of humans between points A and B. Maybe as posted somewhere else, a business can be set up to run a fast inter-island hydrofoil ferry between the islands (Grenada to Dominica, but leave out B’dos – we’re too far out). Look at what L’Express des îles out of Martinique offers. Those guys at BEDY got it wrong, they chose the wrong type of vessel which couldn’t do ocean trips.

    No banana boat for me, friend.

  11. Responder

    Thanks for the clarification BGI. I am angry that a plane ticket to New York could cost as much or as much as a plane ticket to Puerto Rico or even Trinidad. LIAT needs to get its act together, not just for fun and entertainment, but for what I imagined and hope is real prosperity for the region. Caribbean trade would take off.

  12. Responder

    And of course, a ferry service would be fantastic. Not a banana boat though.

  13. Hi guys there is nothing wrong with hydrofoil its was first used to get from England to France in the sixties and 70 , if you dont want to used the to island let us on this link as Barbadians form a coop and purchase one and use it for island tours ,ask yourself how many Barbadians has seen Barbados from the sea or are we going to wait for some foreigner to take up this money maker i use the word foreigner because even if you were born on the rock an invested In Barbados you are treated as one , so what i am saying those of you with money lets make the change from with in as far as i can see that is the only way change can happen .

  14. nice article thanks!!

  15. As a trained air transport professional, I welcome the entry of a true low cost carrier to the Caribbean market. High airfares have been restricting the development of the region. Businesses find it difficult to trade with other territories, events managers cannot attract patrons from neighbouring territories and the leisure tourism sector (with the exception of Barbados) find it difficult to benefit from intra regional tourism.

    This is definitely going to be a boost especially for the small businesses of the Caribbean region.

  16. Adrian Loveridge

    Mario,

    Hear! Hear!

    We have to start to take control over our own destiny.
    Thousands of pounds (or kilos) of rotten fruit in certain Caribbean countries, while we are importing canned alternatives from Thailand, just because we do not have an affordable freight system within the region or processing facilities.
    Lets make 2011 the year of change.
    Lower airfares WILL help this happen!

  17. mario1seasuntours

    Thank you, Adrian. When is Red Jet set to take to the skies?

    I also agree with your thinking on the non-traditional non- English speaking markets. We have to think outside of the box if regional tourism is going to grow and remain competitive.

  18. Adrian Loveridge

    Mario,

    I think they are just waiting on being granted operating licences
    from Government.

  19. @ Adrian: ok, thank you.

  20. chris mchale

    I heard a story that REDJET have been asked ( as part of their accreditation procedure ) to confirm to the Civil Aviation Authority that they, REDJET and their are proficient in the English language. If this is only an idle rumour; GOOD. If it is true then WE KNOW that our Government DOES NOT WANT A LOW COST CARRIER!!!!….we desperately need a carrier to provide competetion to LIAT……Leave Island Any Time; Luggage In Another Terminal . Chris McHale