Daily Archives: July 20, 2013

LIAT Airlines reality: Empty seats across all routes

Liat Airline

Packaged flights and hotel accommodations might yield increased business!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

It’s always very difficult to write about LIAT with absolute authority, because despite the Barbadian taxpayer being the single largest shareholder in the airline, the public for years has been denied sight of any business plan or annual audited accounts.

During the recent spat with a clearly dissatisfied customer and the involvement of Sir Richard Branson and the worldwide attention this generated, LIAT fought back by posting two videos on their website which have been subsequently removed. Perhaps on reflection, it was thought that it was more productive to address the issues, ie: the complaints, rather than battle with someone that has indefatigably demonstrated they are a master of media exploitation.

What really surprised me in one of the videos were the numbers quoted by the Director – Commercial and Customer Experience – who stated that the airline operated ‘approximately 100 flights each day’ and carried around ‘3,000 passengers daily’.

According to Planespotters, LIAT currently has a fleet of 14 active passenger aircraft with various seating capacities from 37 to 68, but collectively totalling 685.  So what immediately stands out is, if the overall numbers are correct, then the average sector flight carries only 30 passengers.

That equates to what could be up to 19 empty seats on each flight overall, across the fleet.

Therefore, it is logical to conclude that unless LIAT entices considerably more passengers in the immediate future, and/or changes to potentially higher capacity point-to-point routes, that number of empty seats will rise. This will happen at least until all of the ATR72-600, 68 seater and the smaller ATR42-600’s with 48 seats are fully integrated into service and the Dash 8’s are retired.

LIAT’s chairman recently commented that there must be more tour operator involvement to ‘package’ flights and accommodation. Even though this has happened in the past with trans-Caribbean travel organisations like Going Places, I fully support his call. Continue reading

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