Category Archives: Aviation

Are LIAT’s major shareholders deliberately destroying the airline in order to re-create it without debt?

liat-airlines-disasterby Passin Thru

Sometimes our assumptions about a situation or problem blind us to simple answers that are right in front of us.

Could it be that the apparent increasing incompetence by senior LIAT management and a rapidly deteriorating cash flow are actually part of a plan to push the airline over a financial cliff as soon as possible, so that it can be reformed without debt and with limited political fallout?

LIAT’s biggest asset is its routes. Nothing else really matters. The aircraft are leased, and LIAT’s facilities are also mostly rented. The airline owns little of any real value that couldn’t be bought at fire-sale prices after a bankruptcy.

So let’s here from those who know about airlines and LIAT in particular… Is it possible that LIAT’s shareholders are deliberately destroying the airline?

8 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation

Jim Lynch: Open Letter To The Majority Shareholders Of LIAT

LIAT Airlines Crash

“LIAT’s total passenger load (= income, revenue) in the last year was half what it was the year before – yet the expenses remain the same or even greater, considering the constant arrival/delivery of new airplanes.”

by James Lynch, former LIAT pilot

by James Lynch, former LIAT Captain

Since before 2012 I have repeatedly heard of calls by the current majority shareholders of LIAT, through Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent, to take up more shares or to simply contribute towards the airline’s losses.

Gentlemen, I can reveal to the Press that you know my own name well by now, it has been before you literally hundreds of times both privately through letters, emails, faxes, text messages, and recently in public in the Press.

For almost a decade I have been trying to communicate with you mostly for just one reason, and that is to take the politics and non-competence in aviation out of eastern Caribbean aviation, whether that is at the Civil Aviation Department (or Civil Aviation Authority) level or at the airline level (meaning LIAT).

Example:

Barbados is ICAO Category Two for very simple reasons – incompetence, lack of proper regulations and lack of oversight. With a little more interest, Barbados could be Category One, but for the last decade nobody has been interested.

Last time the FAA visited to conduct an evaluation, when they left they told the Civil Aviation people it was so bad that they ought not to bother to call for the next evaluation for at least another ten years.

But for some five decades LIAT has been abused as much as your own taxpayers for no good reason. Board after Board, management after management continue to be politically appointed buffoons – whether they are your “friends” or not – who know little or nothing about aviation (which is NOT the same as tourism) and continue to lose money and market share to the point where the airline is now on the brink of the precipice.

And you need not respond that this is not the case, because if all were well you would not be out in public demanding that other governments join you in throwing money at the existing form of LIAT to keep it alive.

Since at least 2012 Dr. Kenny Anthony has told you, in public, that his country’s taxpayers would not be supporting LIAT’s excesses, and that if you wanted St. Lucia at the airline’s table you had to make major changes in its oversight (Board) and management.

Nothing has changed, yet now here you are again making the same demands. And in the process you are also trying to rope a brand new Prime Minister into the fold before he can catch his breath after the election. Shame!  Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Transportation

Loveridge: New JetBlue Barbados flight brings opportunity and hope

jetblue barbados

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

The double positive whammy for our tourism sector last week was the number of English cricket supporters who came for the Kensington staging of the test series and the announcement by JetBlue that it was introducing a once weekly, Saturday seasonal flight non-stop from Boston.

From the first flight commencing on 7th November it could easily add another near 4,000 American arrival numbers until the service initially halts on 30th April next year.

It also gives us another incredible gateway from a market that many know could witness significant increases over the next few years. While the 48 square miles that make up the actual city of Boston only boasts a population of around 646,000 inhabitants, within the area known as Greater Boston live some 4.5 million people, making it the country’s tenth largest metropolitan density.

At first, concern may be expressed about a single flight per week, but you should remember the Americans generally have shorter holidays and many of those are crammed between two weekends, so a Saturday departure is perfect. Often overlooked are also the physiological flight times, departing Boston at 7.45am with a scheduled arrival time of 1.30pm, allowing most visitors time to journey from the airport to accommodation, check-in, unpack and possibly sea bathe before dark.  Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

LIAT: There’s only two basic choices…

LIAT late

by Iain Edghill

As I see it, there are only 2 choices facing LIAT and its government shareholders. Either it has to be deemed an “essential service” and continue to be subsidized despite the operational inefficiencies inherent in its structure; or, it has to be fully privatized, de-politicized, and forced to be self-sustaining.

Both options are problematic. In these tough economic times, when governments are cash-strapped and are trying to figure out how to stretch their dwindling resources, many constituencies will argue that subsidizing a national airline should be very low on the priority list. Conversely, there are those who will argue, not without just cause, that LIAT is crucial to inter-island communications and commerce.

Has any study ever been done as to exactly how much LIAT contributes to the GDP of CARICOM? That is crucial to the discussion here. What would the economic impact be, in $$ terms, if LIAT were to disappear? Once that figure is empirically established, that could be used as the baseline for government subsidies, a quid-pro-quo, so to speak.

Perhaps the solution is a form of public-private sector partnership, with CARICOM governments providing a baseline subsidy, and the private-sector, with aviation professionals providing the operational expertise in running the airline, as Mr. Lynch correctly suggests, being the other half of the operational and financial equation.

One thing is for sure with regard to LIAT: the status-quo is both financially and operationally unfeasible.

4 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, CARICOM

Welcome to Barbados! Oh… you wanted to be in Rochester, New York?

jetblue barbados

“When she got off in Barbados, she thought that she was in Rochester,”

“And she was like, what happened to Rochester? This looks a lot different.”

And you thought your day was interesting?

2 Comments

Filed under Aviation, Barbados

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

12 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