Tag Archives: Aviation News

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

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

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?

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados

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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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Thomas Cook drops Manchester-Barbados route – while Barbados government markets to a low-income / high employment area of the UK

Thomas Cook airline

Sad news – maddening news

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It would appear we are losing the summer weekly Thomas Cook Manchester-Barbados flight from early May 2015. Perhaps there is sufficient surplus capacity on the Virgin Atlantic Monday flights, but Thomas Cook provided a lower cost option for many and while we are lacking in empirical evidence, my guess is that this flight was used by many people who have a second home on Barbados and/or who stay in our lower priced accommodation options.

While Virgin currently retains their larger once-a-week Boeing 747 on the Manchester service during the low season, it may not prove a challenge at all.

But if Virgin decides to change equipment to the smaller A330 as they did from Gatwick, clearly less capacity and more demand will lead to the inevitable higher air fares and deter the more budget conscious holidaymaker who largely keeps the industry afloat during the eight long summer months.

For travel in April 2015, a return flight from Manchester with Thomas Cook is presently available at GBPounds 376. With Virgin the cost is GBPounds 638 over a similar period. In fairness luggage and meals are ‘extras’ with Thomas Cook, but there is still a huge price differential – particularly if a family of four are considering travelling.

What is also a little puzzling was our tourism policymakers had already indicated that there was going to be a special effort in growing the markets out of the North of England and Scotland.

And especially after the July long Barbados Summerfastic tour by a beautiful liveried bus in partnership with Capital FM which visited several northern cities and Scotland.

I totally agree there is tremendous further potential, but you also have to look at the demographics which should take into account average disposal income and affordable access to the airport serving the destination.

Unemployment is at its highest in England’s North East and North West with average weekly earnings considerably lower than the south of the country. Clearly the cost is often the ultimate deciding factor.

And now I make no apologies in returning to a pet-peeve subject, websites which are not kept current…
Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Boycott LIAT for a day

Robert Pitcher Barbados LIAT

Fun N’ Sun publisher Robert Pitcher is calling upon Bajans and people throughout the Caribbean to boycott LIAT Airlines for a day in protest of the airline’s high fares and low-quality service.

That’s all well and good, but the real question is: Should Barbados and other governments be involved in the airline business at all – especially when LIAT hasn’t made a dollar profit since it was founded?

If there is one thing we’ve proved over the last 100 years, it is that governments cannot run businesses in a profitable manner. It is impossible.

What governments can do though, is to subsidise government businesses so that they squeeze out all privately-owned competition. Can we say “RedJET” ?

In our past, a case could be made for a government subsidised national or Caribbean airline to bring tourists, business people and trade from over and away and also island hopping. With the explosion of affordable air travel this is no longer a necessity… and if we choose to subsidise air travel to the island, it is much easier to give money to Virgin Air than to run our own airline.

It’s time to kill LIAT dead dead dead.

Pitcher: Avoid LIAT

BOYCOTT LIAT FOR a day.

That’s what publisher Robert Pitcher is calling on the regional public to do to send a clear message to the airline that they are fed up with its high airfares and poor quality service.

He also advised the regional governments looking to invest in the island hopping airline to keep it afloat not to put a cent into it until it changes its board, which he contends, is not suited to oversee the affairs of running a modern airline.

Instead, a group of successful Caribbean businessmen from the separate territories should be appointed to the board with a Caribbean chief executive officer at the helm who understands the market.

Speaking at a press conference at his Rendezvous Gardens, Christ Church offices this morning, Pitcher a director of Fun N’ Sun publishing, also took issue with the announcement that LIAT would be flying to Haiti four times weekly from December.

Pitcher said presently the airline cannot even service their existing routes efficiently and this move would be to a country where loads would be doubtful, similar to the unsuccessful route to the Dominican Republic.

… read the rest of this article at the Nation Pitcher: Avoid LIAT

Thanks to an old friend for suggesting this article!

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

100 Days of LIAT’s new chairman doing nothing

by Aviation Doctor

LIAT released a photo of its new Chairman, David Evans. We couldn't resist adding a few details! *

LIAT released a strangely formated photo of its new Chairman, David Evans. We couldn’t resist adding a few details! *

It has been 100 days since David Evans, the new CEO, has taken over at LIAT and we have seen NO real changes. It is business as usual at LIAT, which means burning taxpayers money – very disappointing. At this time I award a grade of C, at best.

The first 100 days of any CEO are very important to lay out what it is you will do, to let people know where you are heading and what changes are needed. By now Mr. Evans should have a good understanding of what lies ahead, the problems, opportunities, possible approaches and likely obstacles. The quick screen should be done, all problems reduced to simple elements and now zero in on key metrics and detailed analysis.

By now, LIAT’s management, Board and Chairman should have gone from the denial phase, through the resistance phase and be at the acceptance phase, and be on board for on going cost reductions to turn the company around. The CEO needs to be creating excitement and enthusiasm in getting all on board for a brighter future.

IF after 100 days it is not there, then Mr. Evans has lost his momentum, and employees will lose faith in any real change. This time it’s different – the Eastern Caribbean has no money.

“Economic stagnation for 6 years and no one is realizing the fact the Eastern Caribbean has lost its attractiveness as a tourist destination.”

Competition is now not only Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic, but also new destinations of Thailand, Colombia, Costa Rica and Brazil. The Eastern Caribbean continues to lose its place in the global tourist market.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism