Tag Archives: American Airlines

American Airlines and US Airways members a vast, untapped market of over-worked folks who need a Barbados holiday!

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All work and no pay!

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

A recent survey released through the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) and conducted by Oxford Economics concluded that last year, American workers walked away from US$52.4 billion in unused vacation time, forfeiting a total of 169 million paid days off.

The amount of vacation time American’s take as a nation is currently at a 40-year low. USTA stated as recently as 2000, the average US worker took roughly 20 vacation days a year. By last year, that had fallen to 16 days adding ‘for most workers wages and income have stagnated since the recession’, which perhaps gives an insight why.

In a related TIME article, the findings of another survey, conducted by Harris Interactive for the job and salary site Glassdoor, says ‘we’ (Americans) only take about half the time off we’re entitled to, and 15 per cent of workers who get a vacation don’t take any of it.

But should we deduce that economics is the sole reason? Again quoting Glassdoor, absolutely not!

Questioning people who take vacations only to work through them (which about six in ten workers do), a third of respondents said they do so because nobody else can do their job and about 20 per cent said they do so in the hopes of getting promotion.

Does this belief have any credibility?   Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Bargain airfares offer hope for Barbados Tourism – but only if we act!

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“If anyone realistically thinks… that lower prices do not drive additional business, then think again.”

Atlanta to Barbados – Return from US$227!!!

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

I subscribe to a website called airfarewatchdog.com which for those of you are unfamiliar with, monitors airfares across the world.

When Delta Airlines resumed their flights from Atlanta to Barbados, I placed an alert which several times daily, automatically scans all available options on that route whether direct flights or through connecting cities. Last week a series of alerts advised that for certain days and months, subject to advance booking, return air fares were available as low as US$227 with the amalgamated American Airlines and US Air.

Delta flights are of course direct and non-stop twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays, while flying with the other carriers would involve a change in Charlotte or Miami, obviously resulting in a longer overall travel time.

But look at the fare, and if anyone realistically thinks for at least part of our target markets, that lower prices do not drive additional business, then think again.

I also monitor the very popular Trip Advisor Barbados Forum site and could not help notice that a lady had also spotted the bargain fares and had no hesitation in booking her family of five to Barbados, due to the lower cost travel opportunity.

How can we as a tourism driven country better take full advantage of these chances, especially as they cost us absolutely nothing in terms of marketing dollars?

Maybe by following other examples, both in terms of the tourism industry, but also other sectors, by including a ‘last minute’ portal on the national website with links. It could even be branded as a distinctive by separate product with catchy name like ‘spontaneous’.  Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Sad days for Barbados Tourism: Double standards by government, American Airlines cuts direct New York – Barbados flight.

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It’s official… American Airlines will no longer operate a direct flight from New York to Barbados.

Management and Accountability absent in Government handouts to tourism businesses

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

From a tourism perspective it was quite a revelation to read through the five newspaper pages of ‘indebted’ individuals and entities listed by National Insurance Board recently – especially when you realise that many of them either in the past and/or currently benefited from substantial taxpayer subsidies, grants or soft loans.

It seems almost incredible that, at least in some cases, limited if any due diligence has been practised between the various Government agencies involved before the monies were advanced.

Take the (TIRF) Tourism Industry Relief Fund as an example. I understand that this was purely intended to assist qualifying tourism businesses to maintain employment. I never saw it as a source of ‘free’ funds to assist in the avoidance of statutory obligations. Yet, well over a Million Dollars in TIRF monies was paid over to one named hotel alone.

Others were allowed to access preferential interest rates through the Enterprise Growth Fund, and perhaps most alarming of all, several are currently benefiting from taxpayer-subsidised Barbados Tourism Authority promotions like the Barbados Island Inclusive promotion.

For the many enterprises like ours, who have frequently struggled to pay our bills on time, it makes a mockery of those trying to do the right thing.

Almost anyone in business could contest that at some stage they have experienced some financial problems or challenges, and this is clearly understandable. But, as the Barbados Social Security clearly states the list applies to those ‘who have not made satisfactory arrangements to liquidate the outstanding debt (or) have not adhered to arrangements made’.

Again, if this disparity is allowed to continue ‘we’ are just allowing the goalposts to be modified one more time and disadvantaging others who are fighting to keep trading legitimately.

It also calls into question why is there not more communication between the various Government agencies in terms of compliance. Why is it possible to access public funds without an NIS clearance certificate, while it is a prerequisite for a licence to operate a hotel or restaurant?

Goodbye American Airlines NYC direct flight

It’s official: according to their website from 15th January 2014, American Airlines will no longer operate a direct flight from New York to Barbados. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

September promises to be a brutal month – but it need not be so!

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We have to do more than hope

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Once leaving August behind, we enter what is traditionally the most challenging periods in tourism terms.

Historically, the month that experiences the least number of arrivals of the year is September.

September 2012 recorded just 27,230 long stay visitor arrivals, the lowest number in any month for the past ten years.  A decline of 6.6 per cent over the same period in 2011.

Given our already dramatically reduced airlift, with an average of just 907 passengers per day, it will result in flying hundreds of empty airline seats daily, or in fact thousands by month end. Once the plane has taken off, clearly these seats cannot be sold twice the next day.

From an accommodation perspective, even if all these 27,230 persons stayed in a licensed hotel and the average stay was 7 nights with two per room, that still only fills less than 2,000 rooms – against a total that is often quoted of between 5,000 and 6,000. This of course, does not take into account all the apartments, villas. condominiums and any unregistered accommodation providers.

It also helps explain why several hotels and restaurants decide to close during September for annual holidays, refurbishment or simply to curtail operational costs.

September, perhaps, would have been the most logical month to roll-out the proposed APD Voucher, but this could have only possibly influenced one main market – the United Kingdom. As I have to submit this column a few days before publication, perhaps details of the voucher conditions will be announced in the interim.

So should the industry simply lay down and accept the current trend of falling visitor numbers?

Under the current fiscal challenges, we cannot afford to, so it becomes an imperative to look for other creative ways to achieve a positive difference. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

American Airlines employee Victor Bourne sentenced to life in prison. Barbadian crime mastermind gets his due…

Smuggled drugs to Barbados – 19 Airline Employees convicted!

Earlier today, former American Airlines baggage handler Victor Bourne, a Barbadian national, was sentenced to life in prison for his leadership of an international drug trafficking organization called the “Bourne Organization” by law enforcement, that smuggled cocaine from the Caribbean into the United States. Bourne was convicted of narcotics trafficking offenses and money laundering following a month-long trial in October 2011.

In total, the investigation that culminated in Bourne’s conviction and sentence has resulted in 20 convictions, including the conviction of 19 airline employees, the seizure of 13 kilograms of cocaine and 2,900 pounds of marijuana, and the forfeiture of US$6.9 million.

Cocaine hidden in aircraft parts and compartments

The evidence at trial proved that, between 2000 and 2009, the Bourne Organization utilized corrupt employees of commercial airlines, including American Airlines, working at domestic and international ports of entry to smuggle illegal narcotics into the United States and throughout the Caribbean. Bourne paid dispatching crew chiefs at American Airlines to assign crews of baggage handlers, who, in turn, were paid tens of thousands of dollars by the Bourne Organization to retrieve the cocaine from the flights upon arrival. The cocaine smuggled aboard American Airlines flights into JFK Airport was hidden behind panels in the front and rear cargo holds, the ceiling and wing assembly, and in the aircraft’s avionics and other vital equipment compartments.

After removing the cocaine from these locations, the corrupt baggage handlers hid the drugs inside their coats and airline equipment bags to avoid detection by law enforcement and safely transport the drugs to Bourne. The government proved at trial that, in this manner, the Bourne Organization was responsible for the importation into the United States of over 150 kilograms of cocaine. At the time of his arrest in 2009, Bourne was preparing to transport even larger quantities of cocaine in cargo containers from the Carribean to the United States.

An American Airlines employee at JFK Airport who was not involved in drug trafficking testified that Bourne accused him of stealing two kilograms of cocaine. This witness testified that Bourne threatened to “kill me, my family, my kids” if the drugs were not returned. Shortly thereafter, Bourne confronted the same employee at the airport and pushed him off of a truck, causing a neck injury.

The evidence at trial also established that Bourne was responsible for the shipment of over 5,000 pounds of marijuana aboard cargo vessels, in part through a Brooklyn footwear company, to businesses in Barbados.

Bourne reaped millions of dollars in illegal cash proceeds from his illegal drug trafficking, and laundered his drug proceeds through businesses and real estate ventures in Brooklyn and Barbados.

Further Reading…

Breaking News: Barbadian Victor Bourne, mother Maria Alleyne Bourne, charged in massive cocaine smuggling via American Airlines

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law

Barbados should partner with American Airlines AAdvantage miles

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

Tourism MATTERS: We’re missing a huge opportunity

Imagine having a virtually captive audience, motivated by all the right reasons and that is larger than your main source tourism market, the United Kingdom.

That’s perhaps how we should be viewing the world’s first and probably the most successful loyalty programme, American Airlines AAdvantage. Last year their 66 million members redeemed more than 165 billion miles to claim nearly 7.2 million awards for flights, upgrades and other rewards.

Why do I consider it such an important tool to drive higher arrival numbers? Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados Tourism

Breaking News: Barbadian Victor Bourne, mother Maria Alleyne Bourne, charged in massive cocaine smuggling via American Airlines

Other Barbadians involved “Arrests not over”

– US Indictments in massive money laundering and drug smuggling through Barbados.

US$300+ million dollar profits being seized by US Government

– “Bourne Organization” kingpin Victor D’Acosta Bourne used violence, threats against witnesses, airport workers, debtors, dealers

– American Airlines personnel involved in smuggling tons of drugs over a 10 year period. Ships also used.

– Drugs came from Caribbean where “Bourne Organization” members placed drugs on American Airlines flights “throughout the Caribbean” including Barbados.

Brooklyn and Barbados businesses used as cover for smuggling, distribution, money laundering.

Drugs are big business and that reality is no different in Barbados – which now finds itself the focus of worldwide attention in the fight against organized crime.

With only three persons charged, but allegations of a multi-country conspiracy heavily based in Brooklyn and Barbados, there have to be some other very worried folks in Barbados right now. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars, tons of drugs and violence by a criminal organization that has tentacles “throughout the Caribbean”, according to the US Attorney’s office.

Is this related to the Suleman Esuf case? Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, FBI, Police