Category Archives: Aviation

Will the demise of LIAT Airlines bring down CARICOM too? Do you remember “one from ten is zero”?

Liat Airline

Our old friend Jim Lynch has been following the news that Barbados wants to pull out of LIAT Airlines and establish a national carrier. You can follow the story at CRANe – The Caribbean Regional Aviation Network.

That got us thinking… you remember the old CARICOM cry “one from ten is zero”?

LIAT isn’t CARICOM, but it is perhaps the most visible expression of Barbados’ commitment to the organization.

If LIAT falls, does it harm CARICOM?

Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, March 28 2015 – Caribbean News Service (CNS) has obtained a document titled “Proposal for the Establishment of a Barbados Air Carrier.”

The document, allegedly authored at the senior management level of LIAT, points to Barbados, LIAT’s majority shareholder, planning to quit airline

The document proposes that a Barbados air carrier be established with its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and Route Licensing Authorisation. The new company would effectively replace the majority of existing LIAT services throughout the region and would seek to develop new markets.

An approach, methodology and structure for the establishment of the new Barbados air carrier were detailed in the document.

It said a traditional approach to fleet planning in a startup airline with a projected requirement of 10 aircraft would be to launch initially with two to three aircraft and a limited route network and build thereafter incrementally over a period of 18 months to the final fleet number. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has funded, via shareholder governments, LIAT’s wholly owned ATR -42 aircraft.

The plan calls for the title of those aircraft to be passed on to the Barbados Government either through shareholder agreement or through CDB taking charge of the aircraft and reassigning them.

… finish reading CNS article Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

10 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, CARICOM

How many tourists use Air Miles to travel to Barbados? We should know!

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Way back in 2001 we registered a business name and established a website domain under the trading title of MILESCloser.

 The idea then, which still has not changed, was to target the hundreds of millions of frequent flyer members who largely use their accumulated miles on vacation or holiday travel.

One of the impediments to growing the United States market especially, has been the reality that because we are a little further away from key source market cities. Inevitably airfares are often more expensive, resulting in the overall cost of the ‘vacation’ making it more difficult when competing with other destinations.

This is especially true with non-gateway departure points. A good example is Minneapolis-St. Paul to Barbados where the current cheapest bookable fare online in October or early November is US$761 economy return. For the same dates the miles required are just 25,000 and US$60.60 in taxes.

So by getting rid of the perceived ‘high’ airfare, we then only have to compete on accommodation options.

Gone are the days when you only earned miles by flying. In fact it is now almost the entire opposite. Most miles are gained by non-airline purchases.

The first major airline loyalty programme, American AAdvantage now boasts over 1,000 partners who offer miles simply by selecting a method of payment.

Among these are financial institutions who offer huge mileage incentives to sign-up with particular brand name credit cards, which in many cases grant sufficient miles on application for the first flight, without any or a very limited level of purchasing.

By selectively using a miles earning credit card to pay every day bills, it is surprising just how quickly the numbers mount. Personally I have not bought an airline ticket for myself for some time, but have currently amassed nearly 600,000 miles.  Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves lied about Argyle International Airport

Argyle International Airport 10April2011

When you lie to the Business Investors you ‘Own the lies’ when it all goes wrong

by Peter Binose

When Ralph Gonsalves announced the finish and operational dates for the Argyle International Airport, we must ask ourselves if he knew each of those dates was unachievable. I like many others believe he did know that the completion dates he gave us were not just unachievable, he knew that such statements were downright lies.

When you tell lies sooner or later your very own lies will come back and bite you in the arse, as the old folk would say.

Saying the airport would definitely be up and running by 2011 may very well have caused all sorts of business people who were ardent followers of Gonsalves, to invest money in their business’s to take advantage of the upswing in trade that the same Gonsalves claimed would follow the airport opening.

He also told the people that he would build a city on the Arnos Vale site when the air traffic was transferred to Argyle. He said the new city would be linked to the old city of Kingstown by a four lane tunnel under the hill, it doesn’t matter that approaching the tunnel from either end it would only be one lane. The whole matter was embroidered to wind the business people into spending money.

Hotels in Villa who are ULP supporters have invested fortunes in upgrading their family owned hotels in anticipation of the Gonsalves forecast of a huge surge in stop over’s and business in general.

People like Ken Boyer borrowed money from banks to build his supermarket and Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, why? because as a cousin to Gonsalves he believed that Gonsalves would finish the airport by 2011 and the new city would be finished five years after that in 2016. Ken was a little silly because he should have known better than most of Gonsalves ability to make things up, to embroider the truth and make it into blatant lies.

The Harlequin Buccament Bay Project based all its plans on the airport opening in 2011, they have also been shafted and they must be seriously in danger of folding because the airport is the key to much of their projected business. They were made promises and are now suffering from lies. Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Venezuela Declares Right to fly Warplanes over sovereign Caribbean Islands

Venezuela Air Force Sukhoi

by Peter Binose

In a speech on national television, Venezuela’s president Maduro reports that the air defense areas of the country have been expanded beyond the Windward Islands all the way up to St Maarten. President Nicolas Maduro, said that his country has the right to defend itself in the skies above the Dutch Antilles.

Venezuela is already a bully of the seas claiming areas that it does not own, now it appears they are trying to bully the airspace.

We have to remember how PM Ralph Gonsalves supported Venezuela’s sea grab of Bird Island. Just what kind of betrayal was that?

The yellow area shows the Venezuelan Economic space, with the effect of Aves Island/Rock.

The yellow area shows the Venezuelan Economic space, with the effect of Aves Island/Rock.

Under the International Law Of The Sea Aves Island is classified as a rock which does not get the 200mile economic zone, however Venezuela hasn’t signed the UNLOS treaty. This rock effectively removes a significantly removes most of the OECS’ economic zone.

… from Notes from the Margin article How Venezuela Controls the Caribbean Sea

“St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said the OECS had accepted Venezuela’s sovereignty over Bird Island and that he would not allow anyone to dictate whether or not he should put pressure on the Government of Venezuela in relation to the issue”. Speaking at a press conference at the Caricom secretariat, Gonsalves said, “Nobody is going to tell me which questions are important.”

When public support for this type of Venezuelan communist regime wanes at home they try and turn public attention from local matters to the international theatre.   Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Aviation, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Venezuela

WestJet’s Valentine’s Day proposals a huge hit. Kudos to Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Kudos to the recently revitalised national marketing organisation renamed the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., for facilitating the production of a series of videos where the airline WestJet partners with the chain store Michael Hill Jewellery and a number of Barbadian tourism interests to highlight two couples who become engaged on our island.

At the time of submitting this column already well over 1 million people had watched the three videos and this number will rise substantially over the next few days. Add the media coverage by print, television, radio and other shared social media and realistically millions of people will be exposed to Barbados as a desirable destination. Timing of course, can be everything, and the fact that WestJet posted the videos just before Valentine’s Day can be no coincidence.

To reinforce the positive effect the airline rolled out a supportive seat sale to Barbados which required booking by 14th February, but for travel up to 24 June 2015.

When preparing for the filming, a few cleverly conceived twists were applied and to quote WestJet’s Manager of Communitity Investment, Sponsorship and Experiential Marketing (what an incredible job title), Corey Evans, revealed that ‘girls thought they were auditioning to appear on a new WestJet commercial that we were shooting in Barbados, and had no idea what was going to happen’.   Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

A river runs through it… Argyle Airport runway, that is!

Argyle Airport Problems

Yambou River and mud in the middle of Argyle Airport runway

submitted by the SVG Green Party

If anyone tells you that aircraft will land at Argyle in 2015, then that person is lying to you. The middle of the Argyle airport runway is a river and a muddy wasteland. The Argyle airport will take at least four more years, and even then, it will not be a functioning airport.

Since 2006, we have been bombarded with ULP regime nonsense about how the Argyle airport will boost the economy, but the reality is Argyle has been a curse to our country. Throughout SVG, towns, villages and communities have been starved of jobs and money, all for the sake of building Argyle airport for tourists.

From Fancy to Fitzhughes, Union Island and beyond, the needs of Vincentians have been ignored. Hospitals have fallen to ruin, the economy is virtually dead and the country is littered with tombs that once used to be flourishing businesses. The consequence has been high unemployment, high crime, destitution and poverty.
Vincentians have been made to suffer under the economic delusion that tourism and the Argyle Airport will bring prosperity. Well, they will not.

Having an airport does not guarantee prosperity. Barbados has had an international airport since 1938 and tourism for over 60 years, yet Barbados laid-off 3,000 government workers in 2013 and rolled out yet another national poverty alleviation programme a few years previous.

We have been lied to time and again, being told that Argyle airport will be finished in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. One need only look at the muddy mess at Argyle to know that it will not be finished in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 or 2019.

The Yambou River is yet to be culverted; there is a mountain of mud in the middle of the runway area; the northern end of the runway is just mud and is being washed away by the sea; and, the cliff at Peruvian Vale village impedes final approach to the runway and will need to be knocked down and cleared away.  Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Corruption, Politics & Corruption, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Falling fuel prices no guarantee of increased tourism – Barbados must work smart and hard in a tough market

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Most of us, of course, warmly welcome the current fall in fuel prices which probably in the hospitality sector be demonstrated by the greatest savings in electricity prices, especially those properties who have extensive air conditioning units.

But almost needlessly to say, that Government will collect a lower level of taxes and VAT, so it’s a two edged sword.

I also wonder how long it will take our limited number of distribution companies to pass on the benefit of reduced delivery costs as a result of cheaper petrol and diesel prices. Assuming of course, they will pass on the benefits at all.

Experts in the aviation industry do not expect any dramatic reduction in airfares and again it may work initially against the consumer’s interest while used aircraft values rise as fuel falls, slowing down the delivery of newer most fuel-efficient aircraft in some cases.

Across our major tourism markets the halving of oil prices will hopefully give people more disposable income, perhaps most notably in the United Kingdom, where we have witnessed a recent significant fall in the value of Sterling against the US Dollar.

The Key to Success for Barbados tourism

Judging by the unprecedented level of email holiday bargains on offer in the UK I have tracked, there is absolutely no room for complacency this year and particularly in the more challenging softer summer months. Key to the success of this will be to portray the destination as offering real value-for-money. And I do not mean attempting to achieve the almost impossible objective by making everything cheaper, but ensuring that every product offering is as good as we can get it and going that extra mile to make visitors feel rightly special.  Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Energy