Tag Archives: Aviation

US Federal Aviation Authority slams Barbados – Downgrades safety rating to Category 2, below Nigeria

Bajan veneer of compliance with international standards strikes again.

Our political and business leadership just doesn’t get it. The world has changed and even small countries like ours must comply with proper standards if we wish to have the benefits of international commerce and the respect of the international community.

Lately Barbados has taken it on the chin for failing to comply with international standards concerning tax avoidance, banking, trafficking in persons, insurance and the environment to name a few. Oh, the politicians squealed and puffed about the international politics behind some of the criticism, but the world is fast receiving the message that all is not as advertised ’bout hey in “First World” Barbados.

Now (and timed perfectly with the launch of Bajan air carrier REDjet) the FAA announces that Barbados fails to comply with ICAO safety regulations and downgrades us to Category 2. You know, like Nigeria. (Oh, wait. Nigeria was upgraded to Category 1 in August 2010. Sorry about that, Nigeria! Ok, so we’re in the same category as the Congo or Bangladesh.)

Squeal all you like about the international politics and business competition that might have pushed that decision: but if you can’t show the laws, standards and compliance – you haven’t got a leg to stand on. Oh well, we’re only talking about airlines and aviation safety here. Only our whole tourism based economy. That’s all. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent within a year? Not going to happen!

Reader sends photos, weighs in on discussion

Mention was made in your article American Eagle pullout from Puerto Rico hits Barbados hard, of the completion of Argyle International Airport in St. Vincent within a year. This is impossible… construction drags on in fits and starts. Here are photos taken two days ago, April 9, 2011.

click for large

I am not an expert by any means, but does it matter that it is aligned almost due north with the Trade Winds coming in crosswind from the side? The pilots and airport followers may like to comment.

To build an international airport in this economic climate is no joke! But I suppose it helped to win a recent election.

Cheers!

Lennox

Thanks to another reader, we see this on the website of the airport development company

Constructing the Argyle International Airport: Where are we?

Due to a delay in the start of construction work on the Argyle International Airport Passenger Terminal Building the completion date for the airport has been moved from mid 2012 to mid 2013 when the airport is now expected to be completed and operationalize. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

REDjet REDvolution takes off in Barbados

Tickets on sale Wednesday April 13th

First flight May 8th

Finally! REDjet passed all the tests and the certificates are in the mail, as they say. CEO Ian Burns keeps pounding away at his theme that affordable air travel is now a Caribbean reality. We hope the promise sticks because in these times Barbados needs all the arrivals we can get and REDjet should open up new markets in Caribbean visitors to Bim.

You can check out the REDjet website for tickets tomorrow, but here’s what CEO Ian Burns had to say about the new airline…

A Message from CEO Ian Burns

Dear REDjetter,

The Management team and staff of REDjet are pleased to announce that as of Wednesday 13th April 2011 REDjet’s low fares finally go on sale! Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

American Eagle pullout from Puerto Rico hits Barbados hard

The costs of the American Eagle pull-out

by Adrian Loveridge - Small hotel owner

I WAS SURPRISED to read in The Nation last week that American Eagle will suspend its service to Puerto Rico from April 15. Especially as according to the American Airlines website, a twice-daily service five days a week and once daily on the other two days of the week will continue from St Lucia to San Juan. Grenada also retains a thrice-weekly direct flight.

St Lucia’s minister of tourism was recently quoted in the media as saying that his government was negotiating with American Eagle to resurrect the St Lucia to Barbados route, so this may represent some sort of alternative link to Puerto Rico depending on flight schedules.

Otherwise it will involve a minimum travel time of four hours with a change of aircraft in either Dominica or St Lucia and Antigua with LIAT.

The loss of at least 280 airline seats per week must be a concern to our tourism planners as San Juan was frequently used as a hub to connect passengers from other United States cities…

The rest of Adrian’s article can be read at The Nation, or if that paper changes history as they have in the past our readers can continue here>>> Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism

Can RedJet really be viable? A future passenger asks some tough questions.

(BFP Editor’s comment: This article was sent to us anonymously and with the exception of the main title and this comment is being printed as it was received. It’s always good to ask questions, but there is sometimes a hidden agenda too, so readers are asked to keep an open mind when reading this article, every other article at BFP and anything you read anywhere!

At BFP we are looking forward to REDjet’s March 1, 2011 first flight and we hope they succeed in the long run. With fares starting at BDS$20, REDjet will shake up intra-island travel to the benefit of the people. Our own Robert has good things to say about REDjet’s aircraft and he’ll be writing a technical article about the MD-80 and REDjet’s two aircraft that he calls “Well proven, well maintained Good Wings”)

What’s really the objective behind the proposed Airone/Redjet low cost airline?

Questions:

  • Is it practical to operate MD82, old generation, aircraft on a 15 minute route structure?
  • Are $9.99Bds fares realistic or practical?
  • Can REDJET compete with the heavily subsidized LIAT?
  • Will the FAA grant the airline access to the proposed USA market?
  • Why did Jamaican Government not allow Airone to set up operations in Jamaica?
  • Who is the major Barbadian investor listed in the USA Exception Application?
  • Does Barbados Government Civil Aviation organization have the expertise, experience, regulations etc. to approve, monitor and regulate a heavy commercial passenger carrier?
  • Are two proposed aircraft sufficient to operate an on time scheduled passenger service considering weather, mechanicals, maintenance etc.?
  • What Liability Insurance has Barbados demanded of RedJet?

The above questions cause me some concern; as the saying goes – “If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.” Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Business & Banking

Charter flight to Barbados, sitting next to Typhoid Mary

Jdid’s Christmas flight home!

Our friend Jdid runs Doan Mind Me blog out of Toronto, Canada and like many folks he decided to come home for the holidays. What a story! I laughed so hard I came to tears.

Here’s a sample, but if you need a good laugh you must head over and read the whole thing.

Thanks, Jdid. I needed that!

“Now listen very carefully I will only say this once.

Ya see me? I aint neva travelling to Barbados by no cheap plane again ya hear. Who me? No boy I cant do dat no more. Not again! Ya might save a few coppers but this cheap plane ting will kill ya stone dead.”

“So I sitting down deyso in my seat on the end and a ol lady on the odda end and in walks this nice looking twenty something young girl all pretty up an ting to occupy the seat between we. So at first I look at she an say to myself is how come when I was single I couldnt get a seat next to nuhbody dat was under 300lbs or sweating like dem juss run a marathon but now I well and truly married dem wait to put pretty young girls next to me.

But I shoulda known ya cant judge a book by its cover”

Read the whole thing: Doan Mind Me: Travel Woes

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Air Traveler refuses TSA X-ray, groin groping – What happened next…

After he described, the pat down, I realized that he intended to touch my groin. After he finished his description but before he started the pat down, I looked him straight in the eye and said, “if you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” He, a bit taken aback, informed me that he would have to involve his supervisor because of my comment.

“If you think the government is protecting you, ask yourself this: If the official at the end of the video thought I had an incendiary device, why would he want me to go *back* into a small area crowded with hundreds of people instead of leaving the airport as quickly as possible?”

John Tyner encounters the TSA at San Diego International Airport

[These events took place roughly between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, November 13th in Terminal 2 of the San Diego International Airport. I’m writing this approximately 2 1/2 hours after the events transpired, and they are correct to the best of my recollection. I will admit to being particularly fuzzy on the exact order of events when dealing with the agents after getting my ticket refunded; however, all of the events described did occur.

I had my phone recording audio and video of much of these events. It can be viewed below.

Please spread this story as far and wide as possible. I will make no claims to copyright or otherwise.]

This morning, I tried to fly out of San Diego International Airport but was refused by the TSA.

I had been somewhat prepared for this eventuality. I have been reading about the millimeter wave and backscatter x-ray machines and the possible harm to health as well as the vivid pictures they create of people’s naked bodies. Not wanting to go through them, I had done my  research on the TSA’s website prior to traveling to see if SAN had them. From all indications, they did not. When I arrived at the security line, I found that the TSA’s website was out of date. SAN does in fact utilize backscatter x-ray machines. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Human Rights

Open-Skies for Barbados – Hope that new agreement with USA will bring increased air traffic.

“This agreement means the travelers, airlines and economies of both the United States and Barbados will benefit from competitive pricing and more convenient service,”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Representatives of the United States and Barbados have reached an Open-Skies Agreement that will liberalize U.S.-Barbados air services for airlines of both countries. Barbados will become the 99th U.S. Open-Skies partner.

Upon signature of the agreement, airlines from both countries will be allowed to select routes, destinations and prices for both passenger and cargo service based on consumer demand and market conditions. The agreement, which was reached on July 1, provides airlines, for the first time, with codesharing and intermodal rights. The previous U.S.-Barbados air service agreement, signed in 1982, contained restrictions on the cities that carriers could serve and placed limits on charter operations. The new agreement will remove these restrictions and provide important enhanced cargo rights.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Horizon Helicopters for an unforgettable Barbados adventure!

Nothing compares with an air-tour of Barbados

You haven’t experienced the beauty of Barbados until you have seen our island from the air. By “from the air” I don’t mean the last 5 minutes as your jet lands at Grantley Adams airport. That is nothing compared with a half an hour of slow and low flying around the island in a helicopter. You see sights you’ve never seen before even if you’ve lived here all your life.

For my birthday I treated myself and a friend to a helicopter ride with Horizon Helicopters.

I was nervous at first never having been in a helicopter, but the flight was smooth and within a minute I was enjoying the view. When we took off it was like a fast elevator. The pilot was friendly and explained what was going to happen so nothing was a surprise.

For me, the majesty of our rugged Atlantic East Coast was the best. For my friend it was seeing the house where she was born and the gully and places where she and her cousins played as children.

It was worth every dollar and I would like to repeat the experience every year for my birthday. I highly recommend a ride with Horizon Helicopters to all my friends.

… received as an email from a BFP reader (name withheld by request)

Horizon Helicopters – Barbados

The following is taken from the company website at http://www.horizonheli.com

Horizon Helicopters is a licensed Commercial Air Transport Operator, certified to ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) global standards. We offer a wide range of helicopter services to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Based at the Barbados Concorde Experience Facility, Grantley Adams International Airport, Barbados, Horizon Helicopter’s mission is the delivery of safe and efficient helicopter services to the region.

We specialise in corporate and VIP transfers between the Grantley Adams International Airport and selected sites on the island’s prestigious West Coast.

We also conduct exclusive private luxury helicopter sightseeing tours, and if there is one thing you should do while you are in Barbados is to see our beautiful island from the air!!

 We can also meet any other needs you may have for helicopter services. Our key management has several years’ experience in the offshore oil and gas industry, and we have facilities for offshore aviation support services as well as access to specialised intermediate and medium lift helicopters for offshore support.

TEL/FAX: (1) 246-228-6822
SKYPE: horizon.helicopters
email: info@horizonheli.com

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Trans-Atlantic airline woes continue: Increased volcano activity forces closure of some Irish/British airspace

Will UK – Barbados flights be impacted again?

The Iceland volcano is at it again – spewing ash that can shut down jet engines when concentrated – but aviation authorities are taking a more measured approach in declaring no-fly zones. Still, if you have a flight in or out of Ireland or Scotland, you might want to hold off packing that suitcase until you contact your airline.

Some of the closure details are found in the newly-posted Press Association story More ash misery for air passengers, but things change so be sure to look up the latest news for yourself if you are flying in the next few days.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Airline pilots say “Don’t push us!” about volcano eruption flight operations

“The final and most important part of the plan is that the final “go-no go” decision must, as always, rest with the pilot in command.”

… from a shouldn’t-be-necessary-at-all press release by the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA)

Zero Tolerance call by International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA)

It is a sign of the times that the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) feel they have to issue a press release to remind everyone that the “Pilot in Command” really means “IN COMMAND”. We’ve recently seen in Russia exactly what happened when a Polish pilot forgot that he was IN COMMAND and allowed himself to be bullied by his employer and/or his ego.

In case you’ve forgotten what happens when a pilot forgets about IN COMMAND, here’s few photos to remind you…

“Gotta-get-there-itis” is the name of the disease and there is only one cure for it: People in the left seat have to remember that they are IN COMMAND.

Pilots in Command have to learn to say…

“No Sir: you can’t fire me in the middle of flight. You can fire me after the flight, but I can’t be relieved while I’m sitting in the left seat and if you try my co-pilot will bash you over the head or worse. Now sit down and shut up and if you come into the cockpit again you’ll be sorry.”

Memo to all my friends still sitting P.I.C. – If you yield to the pressure and something goes wrong, you’re the only one who made the decision to fly. Been there. Done that.

And that is what I have to say about an IFALPA press release that shouldn’t be necessary at all.

Robert

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Disaster

Of Aircraft Graveyards, and rotting Bajan plantation homes

Last year I was privileged to see the photography collection of a man who worked for a time at the aircraft disposal facility at Kingman, Arizona. The photos were works of art, but so much more too. On his days off, the photographer took his camera into the cockpits of the doomed airliners and documented every switch, every scratch and what remained after ten thousand flights.

A Douglas DC6 photo showed a flight plan dropped between the seats by one “C. Moss” in 1959 that remained there until the photographer found it thirty years later. The same aircraft had a plexiglas dome installed so the navigator could take star shots in the high arctic where compasses cannot be trusted. As I looked at that photo I thought about the man who could hold a sextant steady enough in turbulence at twenty thousand feet to do any good. I admire that pilot because he was a better navigator than I’ll ever be.

Most of my friends at home don’t understand how a person can get sentimental over a junkyard for airliners that are past their useful life, but my flying friends understand immediately. The airplanes are a connection with the people, now passed on, who made the aluminum, steel and oil come alive.

I feel the presence of those gone before me as I touch a fifty-year old mixture control worn smooth by a thousand hands.

I get the same feeling when I touch the wall of the restored Morgan Lewis windmill, but with more sadness then anything when I touch some of the other crumbling bits of history around the island. When I walk the ground at Newton, I can feel the souls of the thousands who toiled and died there – but so much of what they built was deliberately left to rot.

In our haste to assert ourselves as a people and to break the chains of our colonial slave masters, we somehow decided that the structures of the plantation class were oppressive – so we let them rot.

Deliberately, I believe.

We thought that destroying the structures of the planters would somehow free us, and that is what we did.

Are we better for that?

I say that letting the plantation homes rot didn’t free us from our past. It set us adrift without the tangible bits of history that connect us to where we came from and who we are.

Robert

Special thanks to Keith Clarke of Barbados in Focus for the shot of the old mill base. A hundred years from now Keith’s photographs of contemporary Barbados will be treasured as future generations look at the past to develop a sense of who they are.

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Filed under Barbados, History, Slavery

Wonderful old photos – Seawell Airport, Barbados

Seawell airport Vickers Viscount

BWIA Vickers Viscount, BOAC Bristol Britannia 312, Terminal 2, Wardair…

Ian Bourne put up a collection of old Barbados aviation photos at The Bajan Reporter and has links to more. Wonderful stuff from another age where folks dressed up to fly like they were going to church. The hats, the skirts, the ties!

Worth a look for a smile.

The Bajan Reporter: Long before there was Grantley Adams Int’l Airport in Barbados there was Seawell Airport…

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, History

Barbados Connection To Famed Tuskegee Airmen

Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer At Gathering Of Mustangs, Ohio 2007

Tuskegee Airman Lee Archer At Gathering Of Mustangs, Ohio 2007

In 2007 I had the high honour of meeting briefly with retired Lt. Colonel Lee Archer at an airshow in the United States. Lee Archer is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen – the first black US combat pilots who flew in World War II. That was my second meeting with Lt. Colonel Archer. The first happened some ten years earlier at the world’s largest fly-in in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

For all my enthusiasm about aviation and aviation history, until I read a story yesterday at Ian Bourne’s blog (The Bajan Reporter), I never knew that one of the Tuskegee Airmen was from Barbados. Colonel Fitzroy “Buck” Newsum was born in Barbados and at the age of ten saw his first airplane and decided that he was going to be a pilot.

Ian has the full story at his blog and the big story which is that the remaining Tuskegee Airmen have been invited by Barack Obama to witness the Inauguration of the first black President of the United States of America.

A Special Treat For All Those Aviation Enthusiasts Out There

When I write these aviation articles for Barbados Free Press, I have to be ever so careful to avoid giving too many details because it wouldn’t do to have anyone identify one of the editors of this blog. I may be taking a little chance with the following, but looking back at who was with me at the time and the ten years or so that have passed since I had a need for this item – I think I’m alright to share this with you.

Besides, there is a part of me that wants to twist the nose of some of the folks who are desperate to know who writes Barbados Free Press.

So here you go folks. I’d wager everything I own that there is not another pilot on this island besides yours truly who has ever had a need for the following item – that still resides in my old flightbag. I was privileged to have actually used this item a few times during the summer of 1997. Click on the thumbnails to see the full-size photos…

b17g-checklist-ab17g-checklist-reverse

Robert

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, History, Human Rights, Military, Race

Oil Dropping – But LIAT Keeps High Fuel Surcharges!

With Oil now dropping to around US$40 a barrel WHY have LIAT’s fuel surcharges not been further reduced?

liat-airlines-disasterBuy the cheapest currently available return airline seat from Barbados to St. Lucia and you will pay US$200.45.

Of that figure US$125.45 are passenger facility charges, VAT, Airport Departure taxes (US$52.50) Airport Authority or Passenger tax and a massive US$47.50 in fuel surcharges and insurance.

First of all I wonder how consumers would respond, if hotels and other tourism partners starting showing insurance as an additional add-on?

Secondly, exactly what is the current fuel cost of flying a full Dash 8 to St. Lucia from Barbados and back?

Less than US$2,375 or the fuel surcharge applied methinks!

So when exactly is LIAT going to pass on their fuel savings?

They chose to run to the media when a token reduction of US$5 came off previous surcharges. Now that the cost of oil is nearly a quarter of price paid a few weeks ago, how much longer will it take to respond?

Is this another case of price gouging?

And as LIAT is owned by a number of Caribbean Government’s are they complicit in that price gouging?

Many airlines have already substantially reduced or totally eliminated fuel surcharges, so have cruise ship companies, but not LIAT!

So many questions!

Adrian Loveridge

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Consumer Issues, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism