Tag Archives: Aviation News

Pilot James Lynch: Barbados will not achieve ICAO Category One

“PM Stuart and Minister Sealy are both leading aviation in Barbados into hell in a handbasket…

I hate to see a once-thriving country stagger to its knees because EVERYTHING is at the very apex of mediocrity…”

To:
PM Freundel Stuart
Minister Richard Sealy

Gentlemen…

by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

by James Lynch, Twotter pilot extraordinaire!

I am advised by an inside source that the current Director of Civil Aviation, Mitchison Beckles, will be retiring within months, and my informant understands that his successor has already been chosen (and will be yet another career Air Traffic Controller).

About 1970 I was an Air Traffic Controller in Barbados for two years and worked with Mitchie Beckles (I went on to become a charter and airline pilot, among other things). He was professional and competent, but he did not – and still does not – have the wider world’s breadth of qualifications, knowledge and experience to be a Director of Civil Aviation to deal at a high level with every aspect of that office, including dealing with commercial aviation.

The same can be said of all of the Directors of Civil Aviation in Barbados for the last four decades, starting with Clyde Outram… Barbados has experienced one former career Air Traffic Controller / incompetent Director of Civil Aviation after another, but yet I understand that – despite recently failing the ICAO Category One competence evaluation again – it is government policy to continue doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

Do you ever learn anything? Do you really want ICAO Category One? Because THIS is not the way to go about achieving that objective.

And this appointment is not from lack of other qualified Barbadians… as someone with almost 40 years in a wide range of aviation situations I have myself tried for the same position over the last 15 years and have been unable to even apply – because no vacancy was ever advertised, and each time yet another Air Traffic Controller was appointed.

I also know other qualified Barbadians who are interested – but who have also never seen a vacancy advertised.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Robert MacLellan asks when LIAT chairman Jean Holder will be held accountable

“Real competition is brutal and the wolves are sensing and circling the wounded LIAT prey.”

“Idle threats” from LIAT’s chairman do more harm than good

by Robert MacLellan

by Robert MacLellan

The board of LIAT airline is clearly feeling the pressure of mounting ongoing criticism of its consistent inability to achieve a stable business model and to provide a vital intra regional air service in the Eastern Caribbean on a reliable basis.

Unfortunately, the announcements of 6th March from the LIAT chairman, Jean Holder, strongly suggest a strategy still devoid of any coherent business sense. Take on huge investment in multiple new aircraft but then shrink the airline’s network? “Passing strange” and “wondrous pitiful”, to quote Shakespeare. If, instead, this is Dr Holder’s idle threat, designed to panic other regional governments in to investing in an airline with such a tarnished reputation, then that also is a strategy likely to fail.

Investors seek companies with proven management expertise. Yet, in his 100 day strategy announcement last week, Dr Holder stated that the current directors and senior management have invited “some experts” to undertake route analysis of the LIAT network. Outside consultants are needed for a basic management task – even after 57 years of LIAT operations? No wonder there are accusations of amateurism in LIAT management and no wonder years of persuasion by Dr Holder have failed to elicit much new investment in the airline from other governments in the region. Continue reading

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LIAT disaster continues as Ralph Gonsalves challenges his critics to put their money up

“Put your money where your mouth is . . . . Everybody wants to talk about LIAT, but a number of these persons don’t want to have an authoritative position to speak about it. Being a chief executive officer of a company or the prime minister of a country which is not a shareholder doesn’t give you the right to talk authoritatively about LIAT,”

St. Vincent and the Grenadines PM Dr. Ralph Gonsalves in the Nation’s No place for buccaneers in LIAT says PM

Is the reality that LIAT’s failure is not about leadership, financing or equipment? Could it be that 70 years of Caribbean commercial aviation has revealed a basic truth that no Carib-based airline could ever be profitable?

Here is the fourth letter to LIAT shareholders from Dominica hotelier Gregor Nassief, urging PM Gonsalves to step aside as chairman of the LIAT shareholder’s committee.

Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
LIAT (1974) LTD
V.C. Bird International Airport
P O Box 819
Coolidge
Antigua

Dear Prime Minister Gonsalves:

Re: Run it like a business before it goes out of business

On the televised program Time to Face the Facts on Sunday, February 23rd, I appealed to you to step aside as Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee of LIAT. As mentioned on the program, given the respect and admiration I have for you, particularly on your stance and leadership on issues such as reparations and the cholera outbreak in Haiti, it was personally difficult for me to do this. But it is necessary.

LIAT has moved from an operational meltdown in the Summer of 2013 to a financial meltdown a mere 7 months later. LIAT drains our treasuries, operates inefficiently and stifles competition. The source of LIAT’s problem is its financial unsustainability and as with everything else at LIAT, no one is accountable. As Chairman of the Shareholder’s committee, the buck stops with you.

LIAT needs to fight the battle of its life to transform itself to be financially viable and sustainable. But you believe, and have stated so publicly, that LIAT can never be profitable. This battle, therefore, needs a different general.

Unsustainability

LIAT has lost ec$120m in the last four years. Last month, LIAT could not pay both the lease on its aircraft as well as its payroll. So it chose one and delayed the other. A leased ATR gives 36% more seat capacity than its closest Dash 8 equivalent but is double the (lease) expense. In 2015, repayments will begin on LIAT’s recent loan of us$65m to purchase new aircraft. So monthly cash outflows go up even more.

And the new inflows to cover this? Inter-island tourism is down 60% in 7 years and LIAT’s load factor is running at about 55%. The fantasy (aka “business plan”) is that the load factor will go up to 75%. The fantasy is also that LIAT will fly its way out of losses by expanding to new destinations – Jamaica, Haiti, Aruba, Panama, and eventually to cities in North and South America.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

LIAT Leadership Asleep At The Wheel Again

by Robert MacLellan

by Robert MacLellan

In the first month of 2014 Caribbean regional media reported that LIAT has had to choose between paying employee salaries and paying aircraft lease charges in order to maintain flight operations. Even before the news of LIAT’s latest financial crisis, the flight chaos of last summer was nearly repeated in December 2013, at the start of the Caribbean’s tourism high season, and was only averted through last minute decision changes by LIAT’s board of directors and its temporary CEO.

The LIAT fleet was reportedly due to reduce to only nine aircraft last December. At the same time, aircraft conversion training for flight deck crew was planned to be ongoing and flight deck crew annual vacations were scheduled to peak that month. With a similar mix of factors to those which caused LIAT’s summer meltdown, the potential for major disruption to flights appeared to be equally great for this winter. Unbelievably, the LIAT board and senior management had authorised this disastrous scenario to coincide with the Christmas holidays and the start of the international tourism high season in the Caribbean.

Having just avoided that mismanagement disaster in December, LIAT executives have been faced in mid January with the imminent grounding of six company planes by the aircraft leasing company.  Lease payments are reportedly tens of millions of dollars in arrears and a collapse in flight operations has only been avoided by delaying payroll for LIAT’s long suffering employees.

Ongoing disarray at LIAT     Continue reading

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REDjet and the silence of Caribbean Airways Ltd.

 

Merger of REDjet and Caribbean Airways Ltd. a viable solution!

by Leonard St. Hill

A mysterious silence surrounds the existence of Caribbean Airways Ltd. as the national airline of Barbados duly licensed but without planes to perform its function, while REDjet an airline duly incorporated in Barbados with planes to operate a national service is a first denied and delayed a licence to do so, and then deprived of financial support to complete the deficiency of Caribbean Airways Ltd. by merger or other lawful means to avert bankruptcy proceedings.

Receivership should not be regarded as inevitable liquidation proceedings; it should be for REDjet an opportunity for creative redemption where imagination is not lacking.

By a merger between Caribbean Airways Ltd. and REDjet as the national airline of Barbados with operating capital secured by diverting subsidies from foreign airlines now paid for airlift to Barbados hotels, the viability of the combination should be assured.

There can be no net loss attributable to the operation of a national airline of a country whose economy is almost totally dependent on tourism for its viability and whose owner is the ultimate beneficiary of income from nominated airfares i.e. fares lawfully fixed by the government of the national airline.

REDjet is entitled to the same guarantees even not “in extremes” that are assured Four Seasons and CLICO. It has prospects for generating a CARICOM AIRWAYS SYSTEM in collaboration with LIAT and Carribean Airlines Ltd. for a short, medium and long range operations, serviceable by existing aircraft of the partnership.

Leonard St. Hill
St. James, Barbados

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DISASTER! American Airlines Dallas to Barbados flights end August 19, 2012

American Airlines’ last remaining direct flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Bridgetown is toast as of August 19, 2012.

Barbados Tourism Authority has yet to notify tourism industry partners

The Barbados Tourism Authority has again failed to notify tourism industry partners that another major airline cancelled a route to Barbados. Maybe the BTA is ashamed – and so they should be.

The Dallas-Barbados flight was announced with great fanfare in December 2010. The YouTube video above shows the inaugural flight. There was such hope. In BFP’s article at the time Tourism Matters – Non-stop Dallas to Barbados, Adrian Loveridge excitedly said…

“The new non-stop direct service from Dallas to Barbados, slated to start on the 16th December this year offers tremendous growth potential for our tourism industry. Not only will it tempt the estimated 6.5 million people that live in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area, the fourth largest metropolitan population in the United States, but it offers some incredible connecting city opportunities.”

So much for that.  The initial excitement soon ebbed and collapsed entirely when the flight schedule imploded in April 2012. (See  BFP’s Dallas – Barbados dream collapses)

There is no valid excuse for this failure: Dallas-Fort Worth is 8th busiest airport in the world only 4 hours by jet from Grantley Adams and we can’t fill one airplane a week. Give me a break! Somebody should be fired… probably many people.

Sadly, it appears that our Barbados Tourism Authority proved themselves totally incapable of maintaining one tiny Boeing 737 a week to Bim from the EIGHTH BUSIEST AIRPORT IN THE WORLD located only four hours away!

Shouldn’t Bajans expect some positive results for our $100 million dollars a year expenditure by The Barbados Tourism Authority?

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US Court hits Grenada government airport revenues

A lesson for Barbados and Al Barrack?

Grenada owed money to a bank in Taiwan and didn’t pay – so the bank sued in the USA and now all US airline revenues that would have been paid to Grenada’s airport are being paid into an escrow account in the USA. As a result, the airport is in deep financial trouble and the Grenadian government looks pathetic on the world stage. If the situation isn’t rectified PDQ, the travel and tour sellers will soon start to wonder if their clients will get stuck in the middle someday. When that thought starts to form, the travel industry will start to recommend other destinations until confidence returns. It might be happening already because we discovered the story through ETN Travel News.

There is a lesson here somewhere about what can happen when governments decide to not pay lawful debts. Globalism is more than a word, you know. Increasingly, creditors are successful seizing assets in other countries when stonewalled by governments and courts in the Caribbean and elsewhere.

For the last day and a bit we featured Why Al Barrack will never win against the Barbados Government: The Fix is In! at the top of the blog – telling the story of how the Barbados won’t pay a man even when faced with an order from the Barbados court.

One of our readers, millertheanunnaki, commented…

“I am willing to bet that if Barrack were to sell the debt to an overseas factor through a “big” British or American firm of lawyers this matter would be settled within weeks. If not a judgment to seize Government’s properties in London or New York would certainly be enforced unlike what prevails locally.”

There are certain government assets that can’t be seized overseas (Embassies, airplanes etc.) but the idea of seizing airline fees is a shocker. Can you imagine what would happen if some court in New York or London ordered airlines to pay all Grantley Adams airport fees to the court over the Al Barrack debt? How about port fees for cruise ships too?

Wuhloss! That would put the mongoose in with the chickens! If that happened you can bet the government would settle with Al Barrack right away – and that just shows how bankrupt our government is: both financially and morally.

Statement from St. George’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – The St. George’s Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation is working with other government departments, particularly the Attorney General’s Chambers and the Ministry of Finance, to arrive at a solution to the current financial difficulties being experienced by the Grenada Airports Authority (GAA).

This situation arose as result of the EXIM Bank of Taiwan obtaining judgment against the government of Grenada for outstanding loans in a suit filed in the United States. The Taiwanese have made a claim for all monies owing to the government of Grenada and its agencies to be paid against the loan. Consequently, a request was made to airlines operating on the Grenada route to pay monies owed to the Grenada Airports Authority to the Taiwanese. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Ethics, Grenada, Offshore Investments