Category Archives: Aviation

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

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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

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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

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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

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Scotland’s plan to scrap air passenger taxes changes everything!

Barbados glasgow prestwick airport

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Just weeks after writing in this column about the need to explore further smart partnerships, British Airways have announced they are working with two rail companies, Heathrow Express and First Great Western, to offer seamless connections for travellers living in the West of England and Wales on a single fly/rail ticket.

While the Heathrow arrangement will not directly benefit Barbados, the concept offers enormous potential with Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham and the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Frankly I am surprised that British Airways have pipped Virgin Atlantic to the post on this initiative, especially as Virgin Trains are significant rail operators in their own right.

From a recent media release ‘The combined booking takes away the stress and fear of missing a flight, if a train is delayed or a connection missed, by giving customers the peace of mind they’ll be on the next available flight – and even get overnight accommodation if the next service isn’t on the same day’.

It has become increasingly more important, if we are going to regain market share that we assess the whole holiday product components, rather than just focus on the ultimate destination itself. Both from a consumer cost basis, but also to ensure it the most overall pleasurable hassle free experience.

The Smith Commission recommendation takes Scotland a step closer to determining whether their airports will either eliminate the Advanced Passenger Duty (APD) altogether, or dramatically reduce it. There can be little doubt that the overwhelming conclusion amongst the business community is that elimination would substantially boost the Scottish economy and give Glasgow, Prestwick and Edinburgh airports a distinct cost advantage over airlines flying from those in England.  Continue reading

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Will falling oil prices result in lower airfares? Barbados hopes so!

Barbados Virgin 747-400

Twenty years of Advanced Passenger Duty

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It seems almost inconceivable to accept that the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty) was implemented in the United Kingdom, or others would say thrust upon the industry, some twenty years ago.

There has been a lot of recent misinformation spread in the media, so I think it is time to clarify just exactly what is happening. From 1st April 2015, the two higher mileage bands, C and D will be abolished and flights from the UK will then be included in band B at an APD rate of GB Pounds 71 per passenger for economy and GBPounds 142 for higher classes of travel.

Many are watching to see if the reduced aviation fuel costs with the continuing plummeting fall in oil prices, together with a slightly lower APD rate will be reflected in the cost of airfares from next April.

There are other glimmers of hope on the horizon including a strong lobby to have APD removed, or at least lowered on airline tickets for children. Personally I believe it would make a massive difference for families contemplating holidays in the Caribbean, especially during the softer summer months.

Scotland the Brave    Continue reading

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So many questions about LIAT Airlines – so few answers from LIAT or governments

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

As someone who has championed intra Caribbean travel for over 40 years and invested literally hundreds of thousands of Dollars of our own money promoting, what for Barbados is still just about our third largest source market, it gives me no pleasure in witnessing the dramatic decline in regional arrival numbers.

For the first eight months of this year our Caricom (including Trinidad and Tobago) stay over visitors are down by 6,686 persons.

There is probably very little I can add to the many industry professionals and travellers comments made about LIAT over the years, but initially thought that I had misheard one of our policymakers recently stating that, among the reasons why the numbers were down, was due to the airline operating smaller aircraft.

“A number of aircraft are still listed as ‘stored’. Did the destruction of engineering, maintenance and other critical records in the hangar fire prevent the saleable realisation of these assets?”

It sounded so wrong that I looked up a recognised aircraft fleet website and according to Planespotters LIAT currently operate 4 ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) 42-600’s, 4 ATR 72-600 planes and a yet to be confirmed number of Bombardier/de Havilland Dash 8 – 300 equipment.

I did ask LIAT’s Head of Corporate Communications for clarification, but in the week until this column was published, had not heard back. Continue reading

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