Category Archives: Barbados Transportation

Airline Partnership opportunities gained, lost and possible

caribbean-airlines-logo.jpg

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

With any number of uncertainties there can be very few other businesses like airlines which present a constant indeterminate challenge.

It only seems a twinkle ago since massive controversy hit the media over the sale of the valuable Heathrow slots by the now defunct BWIA for what many felt was an under-valued GB Pounds 5 million to British Airways in 2006.

In 2011 the current Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister, Kamela Persad-Bissessar commissioned a forensic management audit which concluded that a fair market value for the slots then ranged from GB Pounds 23 million to GB Pounds 44 million in a report dated 8th May 2012.

Then with a blaze of glory in 2012 it was announced the replacement Caribbean Airlines was going to return to London, but this time flying into Gatwick.

Last week according to AirwaysNews.com, Caribbean Airlines (CA) will return its Boeing 767 fleet to lessor ILFC (International Lease Finance Corporation) during the first quarter of 2016, axing the Gatwick route and these aircraft will join the Air Canada Rouge fleet soon after.

This year, the airline has already returned two Boeing 737-800 aircraft with two more that are set to go soon. This will reduce the fleet to twelve B737s while retaining all five ATR 72 equipment.

Since the re-birth of the carrier, it has been difficult to follow what if any substantial part they play in supplying airlift to Barbados, specifically for inbound tourism and I probably am not alone into thinking ‘we’ as a destination do not have the best of working relationships with them.

Can this be changed or improved on specific routes, perhaps with a Barbados/Fort Lauderdale service or would this further alienate the existing legacy and low cost airlines?  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Business

James Lynch – LIAT probably gone in less than two years

First, LIAT has ALWAYS been based (Head Office) in Antigua, has NEVER been based (Head Office) in Barbados – no matter what the politicians may tell you. There has been a PILOT BASE in Barbados for decades – a pilot and flight attendant domicile, if you will – but not the registered “home”. Never has been. Never.

Second, airplanes are not tied to concrete foundations by rebar or galvanised water pipes. They are scheduled and flown wherever they are needed, and if you will insist on moving LIAT lock, stock and barrel to Barbados then you also need to clearly understand that you – yes, you, the taxpayer, you personally – will pay Froon, Fumble, Dumble, whatever we may call him now, several HUNDRED MILLION dollars more for the necessary new offices, hangars, facilities, etc., AND lose access to US Territories – Barbados is Category Two, and LIAT (Barbados) Limited will approach the US government as an African-class airline with ZERO safety rating.

You will also not get that many high-paying jobs – all of those are technical, licensed, experienced professionals and permanent employees such as pilots, engineers and mechanics who will just be relocated from Antigua to Barbados – all at YOUR expense. I suggest you start putting the brain in gear before you mash the pedal and burn more than rubber.

Third, having seen LIAT from the inside, I can tell you that Holder & Co are not the only thoroughly incompetent, irresponsible, unaccountable “employees” of LIAT… the airline is riddled with political appointees and incompetents of all stripes from all of the shareholder countries. Virtually NOBODY at LIAT is at risk of losing their job for screwing up, no matter what they do (within reason, of course).  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation

DeBajan on the latest ZR crash

barbados-zr-van-bus.jpg

“You might think it unfathomable that the Ministry of Transport would license (for a fee) a random group of people intended to take care of the crucial mass transit sector without first ensuring the content, the level or the frequency of their training. Unfortunately this is the case in Barbados.”

More well worth reading at DeBajan Public Transport Matters

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Disaster

One student critical, twenty-two injured by reckless ZR driver

More young students critically injured by another ZR maniac driver.

More young students critically injured by another ZR maniac driver.

14 year old student Zakiyah DeFreitas lost her left hand and 21 others received lesser injuries when a ZR van overturned in The City yesterday. The van flipped near the entrance to the nursery Drive Terminal.

Twenty-two students in a ZR van? Of course it overturned at the slightest provocation. Top heavy, overloaded, too fast. Half the time driven by maniacs with dozens of convictions – or in the case of ZR driver Cyril O’Bryan Archer one hundred and ninety-eight driving convictions prior to being found guilty of dangerous driving in the death of bicyclist Errol Thornhill on route taxi AR42 in 2010.

Insurance? What’s that? Half the ZR vans don’t have insurance and the police don’t seem to care.

Yesterday’s incident is only the latest. More will follow next month. It’s been this way for a decade or more. TripAdvisor calls ZR Drivers “Hustling Pimps“.

Our leaders don’t care, and don’t do anything to stop the slaughter.

Photo courtesy of The Nation

 

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Crime & Law, Police

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?

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation

Barbados government should lower taxes on tourist rental cars

coconut car rentals barbados

“I am pleading with the Minister of Finance to reconsider lowering the rate of VAT on car rental for at least our overseas visitors. Car rental is a critical component part of our export tourism offerings.”

Hired cars unreasonably expensive in Barbados

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Whether travelling on business or pleasure, I usually hire a car, because for me it adds a huge extra dimension to the experience and dramatically increases the options available.

With an imminent budget on the horizon, I would implore the Minister of Finance to look again at our car rental sector, if we are going to maintain the recent increase in visitor arrival numbers.

Personally I do not think this segment of our tourism offerings gets the attention it deserves and that is probably partially due to the lack of knowledge and understanding of the enormous contribution it makes.

Just one of our larger vehicle rental operators has a fleet of almost 130 cars. If you average a rental period at 7 days, with a driver and at least one passenger, that amounts to over 13,000 persons each year. Of course the fleet size varies enormously, but from recently writing to over 30 Barbados based entities offering car rental, it gives you some idea of the importance in economic terms they play overall.

Rarely do I pay more than US$150 for a week’s rental in North America or GB Pounds 100 in the United Kingdom for a compact car, so for many of our visitors it can be quite a shock to pay what are considered ‘normal’ rates on Barbados. But it’s easy to see why, because of the taxes on purchasing cars here is staggeringly different to those where our major source markets emanate from.

Also surprising is the sad and difficult to understand logic behind the decision not to lower the rate of value-added-tax (VAT) on vehicle rental when the adjustments were recently made to hotels and some restaurants.

Perhaps it is because our tourism planners and policy makers do not fully understand the secondary benefits and economic importance that the flexibility of having a rental vehicle brings. It enables our visitors to sample more restaurants for lunch and dinner, patronise our attractions, activities, increases shopping options and generates fuel purchases among others. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Economy

New Moke in production – but will higher crime rates and Bajan gangs kill sales of open vehicles?

The Moke is in production again – this time in China – and the new version remains true to the concept launched by Austin way back in 1964. The car was originally a military version of the famous Austin Mini and was loved by tourists all over the world’s tropical zones. This time it will also have electric and auto-transmission versions.

Can the new Moke reclaim its glory days when happy tourists securely roamed Bajan roads in open vehicles with nary a thought of crime or robbery?

Or will the Boscobel Toll Gang and other Bajan criminal gangs kill sales?

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, Crime & Law, Police

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

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Transportation

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.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, CARICOM

Why buy auto insurance, if the police don’t enforce the law?

Barbados Road Accident

In 1995, Barbados had a total of 55,668 vehicles on the island, of which 42,821 were private cars. By 2005, only ten years later, the number of vehicles had doubled to 116,675 of which 94,496 were private as opposed to buses, taxis, zr’s etc.

How many vehicles do we have today in Barbados? We weren’t able to find any newer statistics than those above, but you can bet the number hasn’t gone down in the last ten years.

Now comes the shocker… about 20% of those vehicles are not insured. And that means that if you are involved in an accident, there’s a 20% chance that the other driver won’t have insurance to pay compensation for damages or injuries.

Former PM Owen $ Arthur was so fond of saying that Barbados is not an enforcement society, and he’s right.

But this lack of enforcement means that it is far easier in these difficult economic times to take a chance and drive without insurance.

Nation News: 20,000 vehicles without insurance

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Transportation, Police

Barbados In 2025: More Cars, More Roads – Or Light Rail Transit, Fewer Private Vehicles?

For all the money wasted by our glorious leaders in the past ten years, we could have had a light-rail solution half way around the island. Instead, we’ve had ten years of more roads, more buses, more cars every morning – all heading to the city. Most of the private vehicles have only the driver.

This article was as true as the day it was written almost six years ago, probably more true…

Barbados Free Press

Our Current Failed Vision Of Barbados Transportation, Society and Daily Life

barbados trafficIf you think our roads are crowded now, if you think that your time spent getting to and from work or school is unreasonable, if you think our quality of life and environment in Barbados is heading for the suckwell – just close your eyes and picture how Barbados will look after another ten or fifteen years of continuing to implement the same transportation “solution” of more cars, more roads, wider roads and ever more cars.

Is that where you want to see Barbados in the year 2025?

Unless we get some vision and leadership around this place, that is exactly where Barbados is headed.

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados History, Barbados Light Rail Transportation, Barbados Transportation, Puffing Billy Train