Adrian Loveridge, Peach and Quiet

The Adrian Loveridge Column – The Definition of LIAT is Politics

LIAT

LIAT

Frankly I have employed extraordinary restraint in commenting on the subject of LIAT, because at the end of the day I believe until the politics is completely removed from the management of the airline and it is operated […]in a purely commercial environment, then the carrier has no long term future without massive taxpayer subsidies.

Our current breed of politicians, simply do not have the testicular fortitude to put the long term sustainability of a truly regional airline over petty national policies. Perhaps best demonstrated when discussion took place about moving the carrier to a more logical and equally important and viable operational base.

What changed my mind in offering an observation was a recent media release that bragged ‘average load factors for the month of July (2015) were just under 76 percent’.

The missive went on to quote very impressive passenger traffic increases to Guyana (up 62 per cent) Tortola (up 32 per cent) Barbados (up 15 per cent) St, Maarten (up 15 per cent year on year) and Antigua (up 9 per cent). Very impressive and encouraging and I do not wish to take anything away from this achievement. However, what it does tell me there is still a great of opportunity with the nearly 25 per cent (or one in four empty seats).

Without wanting to sound pompous, I cannot think of many other individuals who have ploughed tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars into promoting intra Caribbean travel over the last four decades. Our re-DISCOVER the Caribbean Show which operated for eight years was a model for building this market, not just for tourism, but exhibiting enormous potential for helping transform regional trade.

I cannot recall just how many times I have pointed out to senior LIAT management to carefully study the loadings and see if there is any repetitive history to specific times and flight routes that regularly record lower numbers and offer a small percentage of the otherwise empty seats at lower prices. What also defies logic is that our current administration attributes at least some of the increased UK visitor arrivals to the lowering of the dreaded Advanced Passenger Duty (APD) for adults and exemption for children. But they do not seem to link the lowering of taxes on intra regional travel as an incentive to stimulate intra Caribbean tourism.

With LIAT’s current ‘new’ fleet of 5 ATR 42’s and 4 ATR 72’s they have an overall capacity of 522 seats daily for each sector flown. Based on each aircraft operating a minimum two rotations each day, which in reality is more likely to be eight flight segments, that means anything from 260 to over 1,000 seats are being flown empty every single day of the year, based on the July figures.

Surely through creative marketing and pricing we can fill those seats. One other area of concern is that it’s long overdue that the taxpayer is given a full explanation concerning the disposal of the older Dash 8 planes. Is the failure to sell the aircraft tied into the hangar fire and destruction of records?

Do we have a right to know?

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20 Comments on “The Adrian Loveridge Column – The Definition of LIAT is Politics”

  1. David August 24, 2015 at 6:38 AM #

    A couple of weeks ago we had to tolerate the unsavoury outburst from a minister of the Antigua government highly critical of LIAT’s management. Here is the funny part, Antigua is a shareholder of LIAT.

    Like

  2. Artaxerxes August 24, 2015 at 7:50 AM #

    “But they do not seem to link the lowering of taxes on intra regional travel as an incentive to stimulate intra Caribbean tourism.”

    Loveridge, that was the point I was trying to explain in a previous post.

    Artaxerxes August 18, 2015 at 11:33 AM #

    Although attracting tourists from extra-regional countries should be our main focus, I believe that Caribbean tourism authorities should also look promoting inter-regional travel as well.

    “Bimjim” was correct in mentioning “CAL still charges a range of fares which are higher than its competitors, and still have punishing routings to a number of islands.” I have experienced similar difficulties and inconvenience with LIAT’s service to Anguilla. LIAT often schedules flights from Barbados to Anguilla costing as much as BDS$822.46, but there are no return flights displayed on their web-site.

    For example, I wanted to visit Anguilla from August 27 to September 1, 2015, my flight schedule would be as follows:

    Barbados/Antigua return = $1,086.66
    Depart Barbados on Thursday, August 27 – L I 362 @ 8:20 am – arrive Antigua @ 9:45 am

    Antigua/Anguilla return = $565.80
    Depart Antigua on Friday, August 28 – LI 368 @ 4:50 pm – arrive Anguilla @ 5:30 pm
    Depart Anguilla on Monday, August 31 – LI 369 @ 5:55 pm – arrive Antigua 6:35 pm

    Antigua/Barbados
    Depart Antigua on Tuesday, September 1 – LI 771 @ 5:30 am – arrive Barbados @7:45 am

    The next flight from Anguilla to Antigua is on Friday, September 4, since LIAT services this route three days per week (Friday, Sunday and Monday), with one flight each day.

    This trip would cost me $1,652.46.

    $1,652.46 to travel to Anguilla is not very encouraging at all. If it was a vacation trip, then I would have traveled to Canada.

    Like

  3. Artaxerxes August 24, 2015 at 8:42 AM #

    Another “LIAT enigma” is a situation whereby if a customer wants to benefit from the “web-saver” airfare and opts to book a flight through the airline’s reservation service, that customer has to pay for the ticket with ½ hour, otherwise the booking is cancelled.

    LIAT has not taken into consideration the fact that everyone who is desirous of traveling may not have a credit card.

    With that being the case, unfortunately, a customer who lives in St. Lucy will not be able to benefit from the low fares available through the “web-saver,” because they may experience difficulty getting to Grantley Adams International within 1/2 hour.

    Like

  4. David August 24, 2015 at 9:40 AM #

    @Artax

    The websaver is likely based on seat capacity known just before take off therefore the narrow window to book.

    Like

  5. Artaxerxes August 24, 2015 at 12:16 PM #

    LIAT currently offers five classes of fares, Web-Saver (lowest fare), Basic, Regular, Semi-Flexible and Fully Flexible (highest fare)

    The rules of the Web-Saver fare are as follows:

    …….. The maximum stay after date of departure is 1 month;
    …….. No changes are permitted before departure;
    …….. Cancellation of the flight results in a forfeiture of the base airfare;
    …….. Travelers are not permitted to change routes or names;
    …….. Travelers are not permitted to downgrade to lower fares, but they can upgrade to higher fares.

    Whereas ticketing for Fully Flexible fares must be completed within 24 hours after reservations are made or within two hours if reservations are made less than 72 hours before departure, ticketing for Web Saver fares must be completed within 30 minutes after reservations are made.

    LIAT is basically implying that benefiting from the low fares offered by the Web-Saver comes with a number of “penalties.”

    Like

  6. bimjim August 24, 2015 at 4:25 PM #

    Is anyone aware that one of the LIAT Board Members for Antigua is ruling ABLP Minister Robin Yearwood?

    Question: During a Board Meeting, who is the superior? Chairman Jackass Jean representing Barbados. or Minister Robin Yearwood representing minority shareholder Antigua?

    The political BS goes on… and on… and on…

    Like

  7. David August 24, 2015 at 9:07 PM #

    The estimate to build the new Antigua airport is in, 98 million USD. Bets on how many believe airport taxes will fall.

    Like

  8. Artaxerxes August 24, 2015 at 10:48 PM #

    David August 24, 2015 at 9:07 PM #

    “The estimate to build the new Antigua airport is in, 98 million USD. Bets on how many believe airport taxes will fall.”

    Interesting comments, David. The new airport, which is being built by Chinese, is located to the left of the airport presently in use. I took a few photos of it when I was in Antigua in April.

    https://scontent.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpt1/v/t1.0-9/11947605_466914016814788_4276234529334826031_n.jpg?oh=d20b3f9ca2a9f1a25a31ba02a75ab1a1&oe=56788694

    Like

  9. David August 25, 2015 at 2:58 AM #

    @Artax

    Apparently the estimated cost was US45 million in 2011.

    Like

  10. Artaxerxes August 26, 2015 at 8:35 AM #

    All though the following comments do not refer to LIAT, they are tourism related.

    It seems as though the only Barbadians qualified to work at Sandy Lane are Front Office Clerks, Housekeepers, Gardeners, Security Guards, Pool & Beach Attendants, Concierge and Bellmen.

    A few weeks ago this hotel advertised a vacancy for a Restaurant Manager. In keeping with their usual modus operandi relative to positions of this caliber, Sandy Lane conveniently does not receive suitable applications.

    If BU were read page 4 of Tuesday, August 25, 2015 edition of the Daily Nation, you will see a notice from Sandy Lane re “Application for Work Permit.” It goes on to state: “Having received no suitable applications to our advertisement for the position of Restaurant Manager, it is our intension to submit an application for a work permit for a non-national to fill this position.”

    Why do successive governments allow this nonsense to happen? In this present environment where unemployment has been steadily increasing and many Barbadians have been graduating from BCC’s Hospitality Institute with degrees on Culinary Arts, Hospitality Studies and Tourism & Travel, while others are graduating from UWI with degrees such as Hospitality and Tourism Management and Restaurant Management, should the government not make it mandatory for these hotels to employ more Barbadians or limit the amount of non-nationals they can employ?

    Like

  11. David August 26, 2015 at 8:38 AM #

    @Artax

    Yes we read it. Do you think the government has any influence over the principals at Sandy Lane? Nothing has changed from the days of Barney Lynch paying the course at will.

    Like

  12. Artaxerxes August 26, 2015 at 10:13 AM #

    @ David

    There are countries that have laws limiting the amount of non-nationals companies can employ. Perhaps similar laws can be implemented in Barbados. Or is our tourism product so vulnerable that governments have to submit to the demands of hoteliers?

    Suppose MoT Sealy’s desire to have more “brand name” hotels in Barbados comes to fruition sooner than expected, and 5 such hotels are established in the island.

    Obviously, in an effort to entice them the government would probably extend similar types of concessions granted to Sandals and they may be allowed to continually employ non-nationals as done by Sandy Lane, because we are both desperate and eager to have those types of hotels operate here.

    A situation may occur whereby these hotels will cite, for example, some sort of specialist Housekeeper or Gardener, as justification for employing non-nationals from countries such as Malaysia, pay them above average wages, enough for them to remit a portion to their families and survive here.

    We should act now.

    Like

  13. David August 26, 2015 at 10:22 AM #

    @Artax

    You probably know the issue here is the willingness to prostitute ourselves for the foreign dollar. This is the overriding consideration policyholders used to explain every decision.

    Like

  14. bimjim August 27, 2015 at 9:19 AM #

    I have said this for DECADES, usually being laughed at: One of these days Bajans – yes, BAJANS – will wake up to being foreigners and second class citizens in their own country.

    Successive politicians have opened the gates to any and every OTHER nationals to buy and steal property and jobs away from locals until locals can no longer afford the property and foreigners are almost automatically given the better-paying jobs. For decades they have been everywhere, including patrolling the supermarkets as managers. And recently it has come to pass that they even own the supermarkets – locals need not apply for senior positions.

    It is our POLITICIANS who make the laws, who make the rules, who ultimately allow this travesty to continue. Unless and until there is some kind of violent revolution in Barbados then your POLITICIANS will continue to enrich themselves with the graft and corruption they have long become accustomed to.

    I could say, go and let your representative know your feelings, but he/she is only your representative at election time, he/she does not truly give a damn about your feelings unless they want your vote – and they get after that you can rot in hell, because they claim they have your “mandate” to do exactly as they please for another term.

    Am I being inflammatory? you better believe it. The sheeple have to either accept their fate or shed their chains and somehow force our “leaders” to change their ways. And the fact is our current “leaders” don’t even speak to the peasants, far less listen to them.

    The last couple of generations of today’s yoot do not have the patience or the manners of their seniors to sit and do as they are told. Mark my words, there will be some sort of revolution and civil disobedience in Barbados before long – the guns, murders and street violence tell me it is already starting, and that is because of the lack of opportunity and jobs.

    And you can bet that is directly attributable back to our POLITICIANS.

    Like

  15. Hants August 27, 2015 at 9:51 AM #

    There should be a policy of succession and “on the job training when a foreigner is hired in Barbados.

    It makes sense to hire people from outside if there are no experienced , trained professional Bajans that apply for the job but there should be a Bajan hired to train for the position.

    I also find it strange that you would have a Manager but no assistant manager. What happens if the Manager is at home sick for a week or two?

    Like

  16. TheObserver August 27, 2015 at 11:54 AM #

    @BimJim
    Are you being inflammatoy?. Let me say “No!” and let me explain why.

    I have often stated that I left Barbados thirty years ago and when I read these blogs I see the same arguments and discussions as when I was there. I feel as I am watching a rerun of an old movie or a remake but with a different cast. I have heard the script so many times that I know it by heart.

    Does there exist a society that cannot be transformed after 30 years of inflammatory speech? That society is either deaf (which I doubt) or they are immune to “inflammatory speech”. And if they are immune and unresponsive, then it is not inflammatory speech.

    I think you rose to the level of thought provoking.

    Let me add that I enjoy BU. The vigorous exchange of ideas, “the battles” with the exchange of phrases that can be less than a complemen🙂 and I find the postings/musings/discussions to be informative and thought provoking.

    I hope the moderator is always able to resist the calls for banishing or censoring genuine contributors.

    Like

  17. Hants August 27, 2015 at 2:20 PM #

    @David,

    Did you read about the robbery at Tappas last night. Sickening.

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/71577/tapas-restaurant-owner-assaulted-robbery

    Like

  18. Due Diligence August 27, 2015 at 3:02 PM #

    And this one

    Shameful Bajans

    http://www.nationnews.com/nationnews/letters_to_editor/71514/shameful-bajans

    On a recent trip to Orlando, I expected to encounter the “ugly American” – loud, brash, unmannerly and narrow-minded. Instead, I was bowled over by the friendliness, courtesy and helpfulness of everyone I met. This started from the airport, with pleasant customs and immigration officers who occasionally joked and chatted with us.

    This continued in stores, malls, restaurants and even while driving on the highway. Smiles, pleasantries and helpful people. I felt immediately welcome.

    Then came the return home. And shame, shame to be a Bajan.

    First, there were three plane loads disembarking – perhaps a couple hundred passengers. And just two or three immigration staff.

    When my turn came, overjoyed to be back home, I smiled a cheerful “good afternoon”. The reply, with head averted, was a joyless sound like “grnnantrrt” accompanied by a bored icy face.

    Worse was to come. At Customs there were just two officers. Lines were long and tempers short. One female officer was heard to ask a passenger loudly: “Look, wha’ is you problem, unh? Wha’ is you problem?” Admittedly I have no idea what was passing between them. Maybe he was being difficult. But to respond like that? Where’s the training? Where’s the professionalism? Where has the touted Bajan friendliness gone?

    If I were a tourist arriving for the first time, it would likely be my last. So my question, to the Honourable Richard Sealy and other tourism stakeholders is this: If tourism is we business, can’t we do better? Is there any quality control? How hard can a smile be? How difficult is it to be professional and pleasant? And failing all else, how difficult to replace these shameful Bajans? –

    Like

  19. Due Diligence August 27, 2015 at 3:13 PM #

    Now the good news

    Sandals full-page ad in Travel Section of Toronto Star/

    ‘THE SANDALS DESTINATION YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR

    BARBADOS

    The new Sandals Barbados is the most exclusive Sandals resort ever createdin a jet setters playground.

    ……………..

    That should fill a few Air Canada seats and Sandals Barbados room,

    Here’s hoping that Minister Sealy can arrange for Butch to extend his training programs to the Immigration and Customs folks who will be welcoming his guests to de Rock

    Like

  20. Hants August 29, 2015 at 1:23 PM #

    Is Dominica a major supplier of fruit and vegetables to Barbados?

    Like

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