OPINION: Regional Air Transport is being stifled and destroyed by Governments

TO PRIME MINISTERS AND OTHER LEADERS OF CARICOM…

Submitted by James C. “Jim” Lynch, Captain, retired to the Barbados Underground Blog

I already know that the worst among you will hit the delete key before you get halfway through this email. But if you do so, feel free to acknowledge to yourself that you truthfully don’t really give a pinhead of a damn about your own people, locally or regionally.

In Jamaica, aviation is growing, with one new airline in process and another (still confidential) about to launch.
https://www.craneforum.org/viewtopic.php?t=29366

But in the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean, including the Bahamas but especially in the eastern Caribbean, aviation has been stifled, restricted, actually attacked by the Civil Aviation Authorities and Departments and bound in red tape to the point where it is almost non-existent – all the while allowing foreign carriers and even private
pilots with illegal small aircraft to rape the local and regional carriers into bankruptcy.

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On February 3, 2020 at 3:03 am

    A very interesting article !
    Unfortunately the carribean has to face facts.
    1. Either form parthnerships with major
    carriers or be squeezed out of the
    international market.
    2. Concentrate on your internal/inter islands
    markets with government endorsement.
    3. Survival of the most adaptable/diverse of
    the species.

    Some interesting developments in the travel
    industry seems inevitable.

    We shall see

    Kamtan

  • Jim Lynch  On February 4, 2020 at 9:49 am

    Kamtan, friends…

    1. A partnership with a “major” carrier ON ANY ROUTE inevitably means those deep pockets will eventually take over through sheer wealth = power. There is little competition on Caribbean-US routes because a carrier – especially when run by accountants, like American – can drop their Caribbean fares well below cost and make up for that loss on domestic flights, thus simply closing down regional carriers through bankruptcy.

    This avenue has the same outcome as the HOGs (what a very nice and suitable acronym!!) allowing US carriers to start operating (mostly inter-island) regional routes – loss of ALL of the regional carriers, including LIAT and BahamasAir.

    It would also inevitably mean that, to give these greedy bastards the profits they want, fares would skyrocket – and the greedy politicians would probably also jack up the cash-cow taxes and fees.

    Look further down this road towards the horizon, though…
    — Higher fares and taxes means less passengers.
    — Less passengers means less profitability.
    — And less profitability, for any American carrier, means a review of whether they want to serve the routes at all. So in the distance see cuts to sectors and a reduction in levels of service – as in no more free sodas or biscuits, or anything else that is “free” – on board.

    2. Government endorsement? It is already impossible to find any cooperation from a government without the added cost of baksheesh – otherwise known as the greasing of palms, pieces of silver, or to remove the cloth hiding it, corruption. NOBODY IS IMMUNE. Development banks? What a joke. What development? Development of the bank accounts of political friends?

    LIAT serves a narrow band of countries.

    Caribbean Airways – STILL the national airline of Trinidad (and second class citizen Tobago) serves a narrow band of countries. They could have been serving Cuba profitably to the rest of the Caribbean for the last four decades, but the only time they wanted that route was when the USA opened it up and they just had to get in on the action. An arrogant knee-jerk by Board and management who did not – and still do not – know what the heck they are doing. CAL management is now a group of people who used to manage a cellphone company – maybe it’s something in the water over there.

    InselAir (now closed) used to serve a narrow band of countries.

    BahamasAir serves a narrow band of countries.

    Cayman Airways serves a narrow band of countries.

    The French airlines serve a narrow band of countries.

    As I indicated, I am trying to start a pan-CARICOM airline, but I cannot find a speck of help from anywhere, government or private.

    3. We have seen foreigners come and go with start-ups, using plans and budgets better suited to where they came from, with all the background supports those developed countries offered (including huge tax benefits). They came, they bankrupted, they left.

    We have seen foreign airline arrive pretending to have our interests at heart, only to screw us over with fares, service and delays, and then drop the routes as fast as they picked them up for somewhere else more financially lucrative. They refused to adapt, so they left. Hmmm, sounds like Caribbean Airlines, doesn’t it?

    I agree with your statement, “We shall see”. If our entire region – and CARICOM – while selling every damn thing we own to Merkans and Europeans, does not collapse first.

    And if you think I am being alarmist, go to the Barbados Underground, re-read the article, and review the list of almost 90 airlines that have failed in just the last 40 years. The crapola is hitting the fanola, but the average Joe on the street doesn’t realise it because they are throwing the turds through the blades one small piece at a time. In the Caribbean, as in the US and Canada, the politicians and the 1% get far richer, the middle class move into the poor section, and the 99% continue to get soaked for money they do not have.

    James C. “Jim” Lynch
    Captain, retired

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