Tag Archives: Airlines

Complaint Letter To LIAT Airline

Submitted by Corey and Karen Burns
Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

Julia Reifer-Jones, CEO of LIAT(Ag)

It is with great disappointment that I have to express my disapproval with Liat and how Liat conducts business. Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from A to B quickly as possible. I find it preposterous that Liat can just change a flight plan while customers have already boarded the aircraft (on a direct flight I might add).

My wife and I were departing from our honeymoon in Antigua on Monday, October 28th, 2013 and were on Liat flight # 362 from Antigua to Puerto Rico which was a direct flight to San Juan. The flight was delayed of course (“island time”) however once on the aircraft an announcement was made that we were stopping in St. Kitts on our way to San Juan, but not five minutes later we were told that we were now going south to Dominica (total opposite way than San Juan).  We arrived in Dominica at which time a grand total of 8 passengers boarded the plane.  We were then told that we had to wait for a fuel truck, which was not ready when we arrived in Dominica.  We ended up waiting on the tarmac for over an hour with no water, no food, and no air conditioning. I used to work in the airline industry and had that happened in Canada, PEOPLE WOULD BE FIRED!!! Numerous passengers asked for information about when we would be taking off and when we would be landing in San Juan as every passenger on the plane had a connecting flight to catch.  None of Liat’s customer service agents would give us a straight answer. We finally left Dominica sometime after 1:30 pm, over an hour after we should have LANDED in San Juan.

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LIAT

Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

Jean Holder resigned two years ago but continues to perform the role as Chairman.

We were asked to share the following article with the BU family. Although against our policy which is to be original in our postings sometimes we have to concede when there is merit in deviating from policy.

Business: LIAT’s turning point?

9/30/2013

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1

THE Caribbean is a diverse multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-culinary, multi-genre (musical) and multi-lingual region officially made up of an archipelago of islands and selected mainland emerging territories nested between North and South America, Central America in the West and the Atlantic Ocean in the East, in and bordering on the Caribbean Sea.

The 17 English heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (7); South (7) and West (3) with an estimated population of six million, including the mainland territories of Belize and Guyana. The six French heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (5) and South (1) with an estimated population of 17.2 million, including the mainland territory of French Guiana. The seven Dutch heritage administrations in the Caribbean are distributed as follows: North (3); South (1) and West (3) with an estimated population of 0.8 million, including the mainland territory of Suriname. The three Spanish heritage administrations in the Caribbean sea are all in the North with an estimated population of 22.5 million, including the US territory of Puerto Rico. There are 33 Caribbean administrations with a total population of 46.5 million, albeit over managed, which is not to be ignored as a geographical market to be explored within the wider Latin American and Caribbean region.

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One Scapegoat Does NOT Fix LIAT or Caribbean Airlines

Robert MacLellan is Managing Director of MacLellan & Associates

Robert MacLellan, Managing Director of MacLellan & Associates

Some might believe that, for the second time in only three years, Captain Ian Brunton has been made a scapegoat by the board of directors of a Caribbean airline company – fired as CEO of Caribbean Airlines Limited in late 2010 and, this week, he resigned as CEO of LIAT. Indisputably, the overall operation of LIAT has continued to be disastrous during the last four months but so has the marketing / P R / communications function and yet the senior management there appears unchanged going forward. More importantly, the chairman, Jean Holder, and the LIAT board – which has authorised the strategy, business plan, operating budget and bank loans underlying the recent chaos and financial uncertainty – also appear unchanged going forward.

While Captain Brunton has resigned, Mr Holder is reportedly on vacation in the midst of the crisis. The chairman has been in position since 2004 and submitted his own resignation two years ago, although this was not accepted by the LIAT government ownership group at that time.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.” When Mark Darby, an undoubted airline industry expert, was fired from the LIAT CEO position in 2009 (and subsequently sued successfully for unfair dismissal) Caribbean 360 News carried excerpts from his interview concerning LIAT in Flight Global, a leading airline industry website. Darby pointed to “the lack of focus of the shareholder governments and the board of management as major stumbling blocks to the regional airline moving to higher heights”. He spoke of the complexity of three governments owning the airline, which involved conflicting agendas. Darby commented that this problem was compounded by weak corporate governance, with a board where few directors had held senior roles in major companies. “Instead, it operated more like a government department”, he said. Darby continued, “Board members got themselves involved in operational areas. This is one of the company’s greatest weaknesses”.

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LIAT’S 2012 Strategy Plan Now BADLY Damaged in 2013

Submitted by Robert MacLellan
Ian Brunton, CEO LIAT

Ian Brunton, CEO of LIAT

On 28 August LIAT’s CEO, Ian Brunton, talked to Caribbean media and finally acknowledged in public some of the real facts behind the airline’s chaotic operations over the last three months. He also described LIAT’s worrying current financial position, in the same month that the airline has taken on a US$65 million loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund new aircraft.

However, it was reported that Mr Brunton has refused to have an investigation to hold people accountable for the recent chaos at LIAT. Instead, he said he will organise a “post mortem” (an unfortunate phrase) on what went wrong and use this to reward staff who have performed well during the crisis. Those who “dropped the ball” would be identified for “counseling or better training”.

This statement represents an unbelievable level of arrogance on the part of LIAT senior management and conveys gross disrespect for its customers! Ignore the widespread calls across the Eastern Caribbean for senior management resignations or dismissals at the airline. Instead, LIAT institutes some counseling and better training – presumably, for middle level and operative staff only? No personal responsibility accepted or culpability acknowledged on the part of LIAT’s Chairman, the CEO or the Director of Commercial and Customer Experience – all of whom have presided over three months of disastrous operations across the Eastern Caribbean and an equally disastrous public relations / communications exercise.

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Letter to LIAT from Dominican Hotelier Requesting Executive Shake Up

I have to ask again, would a lot of the agony that LIAT customers have been forced to endure been avoided if the airline had opted for the Q400? Faster, quicker turn-around, less maintenance, longer range and no pilot re-training – Adrian Loveridge

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Main Shareholder LIAT Needs to Address the Issue of Increasing Airlift Fast!

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

It’s always very difficult to write about LIAT with absolute authority, because despite the Barbadian taxpayer being the single largest shareholder in the airline, the public for years has been denied sight of any business plan or annual audited accounts. During the recent spat with a clearly dissatisfied customer, the involvement of Sir Richard Branson and the worldwide attention this generated, LIAT fought back by posting two videos on their website, which have been subsequently removed. Perhaps on reflection, it was thought that it was more productive to address the issues, ie: the complaints, rather than battle with someone that has indefatigably demonstrated they are masters of media exploitation.

What really surprised me in one of the videos, were the numbers quoted by the Director – Commercial and Customer Experience, who stated that the airline operated ‘approximately 100 flights each day’ and carried around ‘3,000 passengers daily’. According to Planespotters, LIAT currently has a fleet of 14 active passenger aircraft with various seating capacities from 37 to 68, but collectively totalling 685. So what immediately stands out is, if the overall numbers are correct, then the average sector flight carries only 30 passengers. That equates to what could be up to 19 empty seats on each flight overall, across the fleet.

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LIAT Reponds to Virgin’s Richard Branson…is this a joke?

The ATR Story by LIAT

Submitted by M.R.Thompson
LIAT TO UPGRADE TO 11 ATRS over two years

LIAT to Upgrade  to 11 ATRs over a two year period

Quote from Barbados Nation Newspaper of June 27, 2013…

“LIAT, with the partial backing of some Caribbean governments, is enhancing and transforming its fleet, with 12 new aircraft over the next two years that will cost investors US$100 million.”

This very simple but not fully explained statement got me in the market for an ATR72, pretty cheap if you can buy 12 aircraft for $100m, that’s only $8.3m per aircraft. I think I’ll take a dozen at that price myself. A new ATR 72 500/600 model sells for $18 to 23m, used 10 year old aircraft still demand some $12m each.

Where did LIAT find such a good deal on these ATR72’s or is there some very creative book keeping promoting this exceptional deal. Creative booking is really a Caribbean political area of expertise. As LIAT is an airline owned by various countries citizens some questions should be asked to explain this seeming unrealistic purchase price.

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Tourism Watch: Understanding LIAT’s Strategy

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Whether you attribute the now infamous saying, “there are three kinds of lies; lies, damned lies and statistics’ to a former British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli or American author Mark Twain, it is perhaps even more true today, than it was then. And in the current silly season, I am sure we are going to witness many examples. I would prefer, as they say in the popular TV series CSI, ‘follow the evidence’, for those few people who still watch television.

When you look at the long stay visitor arrival figures, it is not all doom and gloom, and I wonder if we can learn from it. Take Canada, our fourth largest source market. Between 2004 and 2007 we welcomed 199,894 Canadians. For the four years 2008 to 2011 that number grew to 265,390, a rise of nearly 33 per cent.

While the numbers are yet to be released for the final month of 2012, up until the end of November, 63,053 Canadians came to our shores, compared with 71,953 for the whole of 2011. So if December turns out to be a strong month, we should not be too far behind the previous year.

Sadly, it does not negate the losses in other markets.

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WestJet Model Creating Opportunity

Adrian Loveridge – Hotel Owner

It is certainly not all doom and gloom in the travel and tourism industry. Take WestJet, the Canadian low cost carrier as an example. This April it posted record load factors, achieving an average of 86.2 per cent and a revenue passenger miles growth of 8.2 per cent over last year, together with record first quarter profits. The airline handled over 120,000 more passengers in April 2012, hitting a total of 1.48 million for the month. During the same three months, Air Canada’s losses climbed to CAD$210 million.

WestJet founder, Englishman Clive Beddoe made no secret at the time when the airline was formed in 1996 that it was modelled on the highly successful US SouthWest Airlines, adopting the single aircraft type with different variations. However, the current President and chief executive, Gregg Saretsky, has moved away from this business plan to place a firm order for 20, and options on another 25 of the Bombardier made Q400 turbo-prop planes. In his words its to ‘connect the dots’.

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