Where next for LIAT? – the Caribbean’s Regional Airline

Where next for LIAT? – the Caribbean’s Regional Airline

LIAT planePublished on April 8, 2015 – Caribbean News Now – By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) — It may be hyperbole to suggest that the future of regional airline LIAT is ‘up in the air’ at the moment; however, recent outrage expressed by Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne over an alleged plan to replace LIAT with a new airline in which Barbados would have a leading role, is fuelling speculation about where next for LIAT, the airline that has served the region for more than 50 years.

St Vincent and the Grenadines opposition leader Arnhim Eustace said he is very concerned about the situation because LIAT plays a key role in regional travel and the tourism industry.

“LIAT is critical to the transport system in our region and critical to St Vincent and Dominica in particular, because you hardly have any other access or any over ability to go or come… except for a few very small airlines. So in terms of our tourism and transport generally, LIAT is indeed very critical. The issues that are being discussed… are very concerning to us here in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he told WINN FM’s The Bigger Picture.

The status of the controversial proposed plan remains unclear as to whether it is under consideration from LIAT shareholder governments.  [Read more]

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  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/09/2015 at 3:50 am

    I cannot understand this situation with the airlines in the Caribbean if my life depended upon it. I live in Canada; and there was a time we had a couple of major airlines connected to the railways and regional airlines in every province. The other railway’s airline merged with a chartered airline and eventually merged with Air Canada. Air Canada also took all the regional airlines under their wing, for want of a way of framing this in simple terms …. Now, we have one giant Air Canada.

    I am an outsider, observing the way things are happening in the Caribbean and I cannot understand why the topic and trajectory of the considerations pertaining to efficiencies and survival of the airlines are not lending themselves to consolidation of the operations and elimination of duplications – I understand, as an outsider, this is simplistic. I understand there are challenges like tribal differences, egos and politics to overcome – but the man said you could hunt the bear together or die separately. What I am reading here does not make economic sense – The man said it before me: What we have here is a failure to communicate.

  • compton de castro  On 04/09/2015 at 4:59 am

    It is frustrating to read the absolute stupidity in the politico/eco decision making of carribean leaders. Sometimes the only justification is to think “aliens” “zombies”……😈 and I am serious.

    Maybe its because we are looking at their mistakes/decisions from another angle/perspective.

    An area of so much diversity culturally/ecologically/socially/etc etc
    should find itself in such a dilemma is beyond words.

    Surely surrounded by sea in such close proximity is the ideal situation for a ferry
    service in competition with the luxary cruisers that choose which islands to dock.

    Obviously it will need TAX breaks initially but am sure will return to profit ….to pay back for all the tax breaks it enjoyed.

    My last trip to Guyana from UK was an absolute disaster…..flew BA (VIRGIN AND BA CAL monopolies) to Barbados. Booked with a competitive new boy on block REDJET Bdos GT…..unfortunately red jet went belly up….left in Bdos 24 hours
    ended up ” robbed” £200+ for Liat ticket.

    My flight to BDOS Gatwick was £500 return.

    If a ferry scheduled service was available to other islands on way to GT
    would much prefer that.

    Its to commonsense approach that the political/economics class that is sadly lacking.

    My next trip to GT via LIMA PERU Equitos Manaus Boa Visata Lethem GT.
    Much more interesting and adventurous…..plane boat coach.
    May add about the same ticketing prices…..

    Que Sera

  • Helen  On 04/09/2015 at 9:52 am

    This whole LIAT situation is political and always has been. There’s been numerous promises of a ferry service that never materialized. I for one am of the opinion that there is room in the Caribbean for another airline. LIAT cannot satisfy the needs of this region and I’m not only talking about tourists from Europe and North America who use Barbados has a hub to connect with LIAT for further travel in the region. What about people who live in the region? We cannot afford LIAT prices and, therefore, our travel within each others countries is limited, if at all. Just think of how much economic progress these smaller islands would make if we, the people of the region, could afford to fly to another island for a vacation…..hotels, restaurants, car rentals, night clubs, tour trips, etc. would all benefit economically and through these businesses and the jobs that would be created. I say we need another airline as well as a ferry service. Competition is good. It keeps prices in check and ultimately allows people to travel at affordable prices rather than having the LIAT only option. If having another airline in Barbados will open up more affordable travel, then I say bring it on. LIAT has had numerous opportunities to get their act together and they just cannot seem to get it done. When Caribbean Star came into being and was competing with LIAT, the prices became affordable and LIAT dropped their prices in order to compete. Once Caribbean Star folded, LIAT went back to their old ways of gouging airfares.

  • de castro  On 04/11/2015 at 7:06 am

    Check out taxes on airline ticketing ….and voila there lies the answers/solutions.
    In some cases it over 90%…..my instinct cynically. “CORRUPTION”…most economists nightmare (guessing speculation) !

    • guyaneseonline  On 04/11/2015 at 9:08 am

      This answer is specifially related to the issue of airline ticket taxes in the Caribbean:

      A substantial of the airfare price is charged as taxes and surcharges. For instance, a trip from Barbados to Guyana is shown below. The return fare of $535.30 is similar to that paid for a return fare to Toronto from Barbados on WestJet.:

      Price Summary – LIAT BGI-GEO-BGI Barbados-Guyana-Barbados
      Fully Flexible (BGI – OGL) 1 Adult = $196.00 USD
      Taxes/Fees [details] $86.25 USD Total Taxes for:
      Fuel Surcharge = $10.00 USD + Security Surcharge = $1.25 USD + BGI Passenger Svc Charge =$27.50 USD + BGI Security Fee = $3.20 USD + Service Fee = $10.00 USD + Ticket Tax = $34.30 USD

      Fully Flexible (OGL – BGI) 1 Adult = $196.00 USD
      Taxes/Fees [details] $57.05 USD Total Taxes for:
      Fuel Surcharge $10.00 USD + Security Surcharge $1.25 USD + BGI P.F.C. $1.50 USD + Service Fee $10.00 USD + BGI Ticket Tax $34.30 USD
      Total Package Price $535.30 USD

      Here is a typical WestJet Return fare from Barbados to Toronto Return::
      Total with taxes = $604.01 USD

      Base fare $434.00 USD
      Other air transportation charges $15.00 USD
      Taxes, fees and charges
      Security Fee (International) $3.20 USD
      Airport Facilitation Fee (International) $1.50 USD
      Passenger Service Charge (International) $27.50 USD
      Air Travellers Security Charge (ATSC) $20.60 USD
      Value Added Tax $79.61 USD…. (Barbados)
      Airport Improvement Fee (AIF) $20.00 USD
      Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) $2.60 USD
      Total with taxes = $604.01 USD

      Similar low fares to Miami and New York are also available. That is why many people prefer to travel “North” rather than within the Caribbean.

      • compton de castro  On 04/11/2015 at 9:43 am

        Thanks Cyril…..north south divide again !😇

        Mile for mile I can fly north eastward south eastward for a fraction of the cross Atlantic journey…..routes dominated by the giants…..am urging easyjet CEO
        to compete with the giants….but she is making enough on the European routes at moment with fares as low as £9.99 upward demand/supply principle.

        On 11 may am off to Malaga ….lgw agp lgw for 49.99£ booked 3 months ago…..
        Today that ticket is £79 one way,

        Early birds catches the worm. Never overbooked…..computerised and few passengers don’t turn up…loosing the £50.

        Life is simple ….people complicate it.

        Simply kamtan

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