Tag Archives: LIAT Airlines

James Lynch – LIAT probably gone in less than two years

First, LIAT has ALWAYS been based (Head Office) in Antigua, has NEVER been based (Head Office) in Barbados – no matter what the politicians may tell you. There has been a PILOT BASE in Barbados for decades – a pilot and flight attendant domicile, if you will – but not the registered “home”. Never has been. Never.

Second, airplanes are not tied to concrete foundations by rebar or galvanised water pipes. They are scheduled and flown wherever they are needed, and if you will insist on moving LIAT lock, stock and barrel to Barbados then you also need to clearly understand that you – yes, you, the taxpayer, you personally – will pay Froon, Fumble, Dumble, whatever we may call him now, several HUNDRED MILLION dollars more for the necessary new offices, hangars, facilities, etc., AND lose access to US Territories – Barbados is Category Two, and LIAT (Barbados) Limited will approach the US government as an African-class airline with ZERO safety rating.

You will also not get that many high-paying jobs – all of those are technical, licensed, experienced professionals and permanent employees such as pilots, engineers and mechanics who will just be relocated from Antigua to Barbados – all at YOUR expense. I suggest you start putting the brain in gear before you mash the pedal and burn more than rubber.

Third, having seen LIAT from the inside, I can tell you that Holder & Co are not the only thoroughly incompetent, irresponsible, unaccountable “employees” of LIAT… the airline is riddled with political appointees and incompetents of all stripes from all of the shareholder countries. Virtually NOBODY at LIAT is at risk of losing their job for screwing up, no matter what they do (within reason, of course).  Continue reading

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation

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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Jim Lynch: Open Letter To The Majority Shareholders Of LIAT

LIAT Airlines Crash

“LIAT’s total passenger load (= income, revenue) in the last year was half what it was the year before – yet the expenses remain the same or even greater, considering the constant arrival/delivery of new airplanes.”

by James Lynch, former LIAT pilot

by James Lynch, former LIAT Captain

Since before 2012 I have repeatedly heard of calls by the current majority shareholders of LIAT, through Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent, to take up more shares or to simply contribute towards the airline’s losses.

Gentlemen, I can reveal to the Press that you know my own name well by now, it has been before you literally hundreds of times both privately through letters, emails, faxes, text messages, and recently in public in the Press.

For almost a decade I have been trying to communicate with you mostly for just one reason, and that is to take the politics and non-competence in aviation out of eastern Caribbean aviation, whether that is at the Civil Aviation Department (or Civil Aviation Authority) level or at the airline level (meaning LIAT).

Example:

Barbados is ICAO Category Two for very simple reasons – incompetence, lack of proper regulations and lack of oversight. With a little more interest, Barbados could be Category One, but for the last decade nobody has been interested.

Last time the FAA visited to conduct an evaluation, when they left they told the Civil Aviation people it was so bad that they ought not to bother to call for the next evaluation for at least another ten years.

But for some five decades LIAT has been abused as much as your own taxpayers for no good reason. Board after Board, management after management continue to be politically appointed buffoons – whether they are your “friends” or not – who know little or nothing about aviation (which is NOT the same as tourism) and continue to lose money and market share to the point where the airline is now on the brink of the precipice.

And you need not respond that this is not the case, because if all were well you would not be out in public demanding that other governments join you in throwing money at the existing form of LIAT to keep it alive.

Since at least 2012 Dr. Kenny Anthony has told you, in public, that his country’s taxpayers would not be supporting LIAT’s excesses, and that if you wanted St. Lucia at the airline’s table you had to make major changes in its oversight (Board) and management.

Nothing has changed, yet now here you are again making the same demands. And in the process you are also trying to rope a brand new Prime Minister into the fold before he can catch his breath after the election. Shame!  Continue reading

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LIAT: There’s only two basic choices…

LIAT late

by Iain Edghill

As I see it, there are only 2 choices facing LIAT and its government shareholders. Either it has to be deemed an “essential service” and continue to be subsidized despite the operational inefficiencies inherent in its structure; or, it has to be fully privatized, de-politicized, and forced to be self-sustaining.

Both options are problematic. In these tough economic times, when governments are cash-strapped and are trying to figure out how to stretch their dwindling resources, many constituencies will argue that subsidizing a national airline should be very low on the priority list. Conversely, there are those who will argue, not without just cause, that LIAT is crucial to inter-island communications and commerce.

Has any study ever been done as to exactly how much LIAT contributes to the GDP of CARICOM? That is crucial to the discussion here. What would the economic impact be, in $$ terms, if LIAT were to disappear? Once that figure is empirically established, that could be used as the baseline for government subsidies, a quid-pro-quo, so to speak.

Perhaps the solution is a form of public-private sector partnership, with CARICOM governments providing a baseline subsidy, and the private-sector, with aviation professionals providing the operational expertise in running the airline, as Mr. Lynch correctly suggests, being the other half of the operational and financial equation.

One thing is for sure with regard to LIAT: the status-quo is both financially and operationally unfeasible.

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Filed under Aviation, Barbados Tourism, Barbados Transportation, CARICOM

Will the demise of LIAT Airlines bring down CARICOM too? Do you remember “one from ten is zero”?

Liat Airline

Our old friend Jim Lynch has been following the news that Barbados wants to pull out of LIAT Airlines and establish a national carrier. You can follow the story at CRANe – The Caribbean Regional Aviation Network.

That got us thinking… you remember the old CARICOM cry “one from ten is zero”?

LIAT isn’t CARICOM, but it is perhaps the most visible expression of Barbados’ commitment to the organization.

If LIAT falls, does it harm CARICOM?

Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, March 28 2015 – Caribbean News Service (CNS) has obtained a document titled “Proposal for the Establishment of a Barbados Air Carrier.”

The document, allegedly authored at the senior management level of LIAT, points to Barbados, LIAT’s majority shareholder, planning to quit airline

The document proposes that a Barbados air carrier be established with its own Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and Route Licensing Authorisation. The new company would effectively replace the majority of existing LIAT services throughout the region and would seek to develop new markets.

An approach, methodology and structure for the establishment of the new Barbados air carrier were detailed in the document.

It said a traditional approach to fleet planning in a startup airline with a projected requirement of 10 aircraft would be to launch initially with two to three aircraft and a limited route network and build thereafter incrementally over a period of 18 months to the final fleet number. The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) has funded, via shareholder governments, LIAT’s wholly owned ATR -42 aircraft.

The plan calls for the title of those aircraft to be passed on to the Barbados Government either through shareholder agreement or through CDB taking charge of the aircraft and reassigning them.

… finish reading CNS article Proposal for Barbados to Quit LIAT

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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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