Tag Archives: Barbados Aviation

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

How many tourists use Air Miles to travel to Barbados? We should know!

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Way back in 2001 we registered a business name and established a website domain under the trading title of MILESCloser.

 The idea then, which still has not changed, was to target the hundreds of millions of frequent flyer members who largely use their accumulated miles on vacation or holiday travel.

One of the impediments to growing the United States market especially, has been the reality that because we are a little further away from key source market cities. Inevitably airfares are often more expensive, resulting in the overall cost of the ‘vacation’ making it more difficult when competing with other destinations.

This is especially true with non-gateway departure points. A good example is Minneapolis-St. Paul to Barbados where the current cheapest bookable fare online in October or early November is US$761 economy return. For the same dates the miles required are just 25,000 and US$60.60 in taxes.

So by getting rid of the perceived ‘high’ airfare, we then only have to compete on accommodation options.

Gone are the days when you only earned miles by flying. In fact it is now almost the entire opposite. Most miles are gained by non-airline purchases.

The first major airline loyalty programme, American AAdvantage now boasts over 1,000 partners who offer miles simply by selecting a method of payment.

Among these are financial institutions who offer huge mileage incentives to sign-up with particular brand name credit cards, which in many cases grant sufficient miles on application for the first flight, without any or a very limited level of purchasing.

By selectively using a miles earning credit card to pay every day bills, it is surprising just how quickly the numbers mount. Personally I have not bought an airline ticket for myself for some time, but have currently amassed nearly 600,000 miles.  Continue reading

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Falling fuel prices no guarantee of increased tourism – Barbados must work smart and hard in a tough market

Barbados Grantley Airport Tarmac

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

Most of us, of course, warmly welcome the current fall in fuel prices which probably in the hospitality sector be demonstrated by the greatest savings in electricity prices, especially those properties who have extensive air conditioning units.

But almost needlessly to say, that Government will collect a lower level of taxes and VAT, so it’s a two edged sword.

I also wonder how long it will take our limited number of distribution companies to pass on the benefit of reduced delivery costs as a result of cheaper petrol and diesel prices. Assuming of course, they will pass on the benefits at all.

Experts in the aviation industry do not expect any dramatic reduction in airfares and again it may work initially against the consumer’s interest while used aircraft values rise as fuel falls, slowing down the delivery of newer most fuel-efficient aircraft in some cases.

Across our major tourism markets the halving of oil prices will hopefully give people more disposable income, perhaps most notably in the United Kingdom, where we have witnessed a recent significant fall in the value of Sterling against the US Dollar.

The Key to Success for Barbados tourism

Judging by the unprecedented level of email holiday bargains on offer in the UK I have tracked, there is absolutely no room for complacency this year and particularly in the more challenging softer summer months. Key to the success of this will be to portray the destination as offering real value-for-money. And I do not mean attempting to achieve the almost impossible objective by making everything cheaper, but ensuring that every product offering is as good as we can get it and going that extra mile to make visitors feel rightly special.  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy, Energy

Will falling oil prices result in lower airfares? Barbados hopes so!

Barbados Virgin 747-400

Twenty years of Advanced Passenger Duty

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

It seems almost inconceivable to accept that the dreaded APD (Advanced Passenger Duty) was implemented in the United Kingdom, or others would say thrust upon the industry, some twenty years ago.

There has been a lot of recent misinformation spread in the media, so I think it is time to clarify just exactly what is happening. From 1st April 2015, the two higher mileage bands, C and D will be abolished and flights from the UK will then be included in band B at an APD rate of GB Pounds 71 per passenger for economy and GBPounds 142 for higher classes of travel.

Many are watching to see if the reduced aviation fuel costs with the continuing plummeting fall in oil prices, together with a slightly lower APD rate will be reflected in the cost of airfares from next April.

There are other glimmers of hope on the horizon including a strong lobby to have APD removed, or at least lowered on airline tickets for children. Personally I believe it would make a massive difference for families contemplating holidays in the Caribbean, especially during the softer summer months.

Scotland the Brave    Continue reading

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So many questions about LIAT Airlines – so few answers from LIAT or governments

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

LIAT Airline hangar fire destroyed financial & aircraft records.

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

As someone who has championed intra Caribbean travel for over 40 years and invested literally hundreds of thousands of Dollars of our own money promoting, what for Barbados is still just about our third largest source market, it gives me no pleasure in witnessing the dramatic decline in regional arrival numbers.

For the first eight months of this year our Caricom (including Trinidad and Tobago) stay over visitors are down by 6,686 persons.

There is probably very little I can add to the many industry professionals and travellers comments made about LIAT over the years, but initially thought that I had misheard one of our policymakers recently stating that, among the reasons why the numbers were down, was due to the airline operating smaller aircraft.

“A number of aircraft are still listed as ‘stored’. Did the destruction of engineering, maintenance and other critical records in the hangar fire prevent the saleable realisation of these assets?”

It sounded so wrong that I looked up a recognised aircraft fleet website and according to Planespotters LIAT currently operate 4 ATR (Avions de Transport Regional) 42-600’s, 4 ATR 72-600 planes and a yet to be confirmed number of Bombardier/de Havilland Dash 8 – 300 equipment.

I did ask LIAT’s Head of Corporate Communications for clarification, but in the week until this column was published, had not heard back. Continue reading

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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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Merger of US Airways and American Airlines provides one-hundred million potential Barbados visitors. Let’s get to it!

“Since the merger of US Airways and American Airlines the combined number of loyalty members now exceeds 100 million.

Just think if we were able to entice only a tiny percentage of those to our shores!”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

While still a month away, September presents one of the most challenging times of the year from a tourism perspective, especially from our second largest market, the United States. With three flights daily – two from Miami and one from New York – unless the scheduled aircraft type is changed that amounts to a total seat capacity of 16,680 in and out for the entire 30 days.

September 2013 recorded the second lowest US long stay visitor arrivals (6,198) for the last eight years, with only 2012 performing worse. Even if you factor in those travelling who are not counted in the landed passenger statistics, you start to get an idea of the problem.

Clearly this massive over-capacity or under-utilisation is not good, either for the airlines or destination, as there is no profit in an empty seat or vacant room.

Is there anything ‘we’ can do?

For many years I have tried to advocate the opportunities that frequent flyer programmes offer. From 7th September until 14th November American Airlines lower their mileage requirement to 25,000 for a return economy ticket from almost any city they service in Continental North America to Barbados.

Of particular interest due to excellent connection times, are cities like Houston and Chicago where published round trip normal fares to Barbados would be at least US$789 and $673 respectively.

Using miles only the add-on taxes are payable which amount to less than US$60 return.

This presents tremendous marketing potential for us to drive additional visitors as we then only have to compete on a ground level basis and with our incredible range of accommodation offerings, this should not be difficult. Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism