[Loveridge] Is Antigua Based ECCAA Threat to Airline Industry?

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[Loveridge] Is Antigua Based ECCAA Threat to Airline Industry?

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Feb 10, 2020

https://barbadosunderground.net/2019/06 ... -industry/

The Adrian Loveridge Column
Is Antigua Based Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority Threat to Airline Industry?
June 17, 2019

After trying to avoid the subject intentionally for many years, is it now the time to focus all our attention that any change in the proposed majority beneficial ownership in LIAT (1974) Ltd could bring?

Following a whole pile of forays into competing with LIAT over the past couple of decades, which included Carib Express, RedJet, Caribbean Star and Sun, is now an opportune time to tempt other private sector airlines into our marketplace, to finally give some real competition and drive down fares?

To our south, the discovery and exploitation of substantial oil deposits off the coast of Guyana is already dramatically changing accommodation offerings and basic infrastructure. Additional airlift is already in place and this will only grow over the next few years.

Time will tell, if the Government of Guyana will plan for long term benefit of its citizens and channel some of this vast revenue into a sovereign wealth fund, like Norway did, which is now the largest of its kind in the world.

To the north, privately owned airlines like InterCaribbean Airways are continuing to expand and are currently pushing south as far as St. Lucia. Their aircraft fleet include eight 30-seat Embraer 120’s, two 19 seat Twin Otters, one 9 seat Britten Norman Islander and a Citation Jet which is used for executive charters. The airline presently operate to 22 cities in 13 countries, many of which do not have existing direct or one-stop connections to the south of the region.

The Embraer 120* has a range of 1,750 kilometers or 1,088 miles, with a cruise speed of 298 knots or 343 miles per hour, so ideally suited for mid-distance Caribbean routes. *source Wikipedia.

The St. Maarten based Winair airline, while Government owned, has previously expressed an interest in operating to more southern Caribbean destinations including Barbados. Their fleet includes ATR 42 – 300/320 aircraft with 48 seats which are wet-leased from Air Antilles*.

Air Antilles, the French West Indian carrier, already operates to Barbados, and like Winair, has some existing code sharing flight partnerships, but could they be encouraged to step-up capacity, especially if that helps feed additional French metropolitan and continental European visitors.

The biggest fly in the ointment might be the past record of various Governments and politicians who have interfered in the granting of route rights to airlines, interested in starting services.

A recent example is the Civil Aviation Minister of St. Lucia, Guy Joseph, pointing out to the media, that a number of airlines were seeking to operate in and out of that island but encountering difficulties acquiring the requisite licenses.

He went on to add, St. Lucia has hinted at the possibility of leaving the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) claiming that the Antigua-based organization was hampering the development of the airline industry there.

I think all our policymakers have to be reminded that across the Caribbean, our hotels only managed an average annual occupancy of 63 per cent in 2018.

Of course, it doesn’t stop there.

Every other tourism related business is negatively affected by those empty rooms and massive employment opportunities lost, with its profound economic consequence across the Caribbean.

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Re: [Loveridge] Is Antigua Based ECCAA Threat to Airline Industry?

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Feb 10, 2020

COMMENTS

ks
June 17, 2019 8:05 AM

It’s quite simple to see where our “LIAT governments are coming from….. it’s their “cash cow”……. they will come together whenever there is a perceived threat and keep out any other airline. Meanwhile, they will squeeze the customers with ridiculous taxes they enjoy because of their monopoly to certain islands.

Here is an example….. Barbados to Grenada return:

Departing Flight:BGI – GND (Web Saver)
1 Adult $65.00 USD
Taxes and Fees: $120.74 USD

Returning Flight:GND – BGI (Web Saver)
1 Adult $ 65.00 USD
Taxes and Fees: $81.06 USD
Total: $331.80 US

LIAT collects $130 USD while the greedy governments collect $ 201.80 USD !!!

Would love to go to visit some friends in Grenada but not for BDS $663 to travel 162 miles …. a 55 minute trip.

A return trip Barbados to Fort Lauderdale (in Sept) is $342.43 USD …. a distance of 1608 miles !!!


Vincent Codrington
June 17, 2019 11:29 AM

KS

The pricing is not simply a function of distance. Does the FLL price actually cover the cost of that trip? Or was it to fill vacant seat?


David
June 17, 2019 11:31 AM
The high taxes applied by some islands is to pay for the new airports.


Adrian Loveridge
June 17, 2019 11:36 AM

David, if you apply that same concept to the PORT then the taxes paid by the cruise ship passengers/operators have NEVER covered the cost of the port or expansion.


David
June 17, 2019 11:38 AM

@Adrian

This is true, can you explain the anomaly?

Recall when a head tax was being considered years ago. For whatever reason the Port is given a pass.


Vincent Codrington
June 17, 2019 11:41 AM

Correct, David BU.
Airports built by governments for the use of travelers have to be paid for by travelers. There are no free lunches.

Short aeroplane flights are more expensive per mile than long distance flights.


ks
June 18, 2019 7:58 AM

GAIA has been around for over 40 years …. according to World Airport Traffic Report for 2018, GAIA handled 2,194,931 passengers …… that equates to a lot of dough!!! Mean to tell me, our airport ain’t pay-off yet??? After 40+ years???

When it does get “paid off”, will those taxes disappear? Lol….

Comrade Gonsalves just built a new airport…… guess their taxes on LIAT tickets will sky-rocket?


David
June 18, 2019 8:00 AM

@ks

You have examined one side of the profit and loss?


Artax
June 18, 2019 11:13 AM

Barbados Airport fees/charges (for passengers travelling within CARICOM), such as passenger service charge = $55; regional transfer fee (within 6 hours of arrival) = $10; security charge = $6.40 and terminal charge = $3; VAT, which is 17.5% of the airfare and the recently introduced Travel and Tourism Development Fee = $70……. are included in the airline ticket.

Although the terminal fee is a meagre $3, if the figures from the World Airport Traffic Report for 2018 are correct and the GAIA handled 2,194,931 passengers, Barbados would have earned $6,584,793.

There are operating expenses that must be taken into consideration, such as landing fees, parking fees (20% of landing fees) and over-night parking fees that would be deducted from revenue.

According to Mr. Codrington: “Short aeroplane flights are more expensive per mile than long distance flights.” He is correct. I understand aircrafts use a significant amount of fuel when taking off. LIAT usually “island hop” enroute to many of its northern destinations. For example, passengers travel to Antigua, via Dominica and Guadeloupe.

Taxes aside and taking the fuel cost into consideration, if we look specifically at the airfare, LIAT flying from BGI to SVG via SLU at an airfare of BDS$250, may not be economically viable for the airline.

KS wrote: “Comrade Gonsalves just built a new airport…… guess their taxes on LIAT tickets will sky-rocket?”

After the opening of its new Argyle International Airport, SVG’s departure tax was increased from EC$50 to EC$100. Government estimated the cost of operating the new EC$729M AIA would be EC$20….. EC$13M more than what obtained at E. T Joshua Airport.

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Re: [Loveridge] Is Antigua Based ECCAA Threat to Airline Industry?

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Mar 15, 2020

ECCAA is manned by a D-G who was politically appointed by (and is politically dependent on) the current shareholder Chairman of LIAT, PM Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent, and most of their Inspectors are former senior LIAT pilots who have an affinity for doing nothing. Office staff have been known to abuse pilots and engineers who come from afar to write examinations, even though those pilots and engineers have paid large sums of money in travel and ECCAA fees.

ECCAA represents six or more island governments (the OECS), yet all (or most) or these Inspectors appear to like to stay in Antigua - where they live. Going by the state of the airport "terminal" at Bequai and the reports of US million-dollar FOD turbine damage from Bequai and Union Island runways, ECCAA Inspectors rarely visit the other islands, although those islands are included in their oversight responsibilities.

ECCAA have some scornfully ridiculous requirements, possibly thought up in long laugh-it-up sessions between the D-G and his Inspectors. Licence conversions, reasonably easy in other countries with proof of qualifications and possibly an exam to write, are convoluted and expensive to both professional and employer. Leased aircraft sit idle for up to a year waiting for registrations or approvals - at US$35K to US$65K per month - while papers are shuffled to the rear of the shelf and back to the front at ECAAA.

ECCAA needs a COMPLETE review and a clear statement of its managers and employees' duties, posted on their web site, along with limitations on how long each process can take. As one of my colleagues stated - and this goes for politicians and civil servants alike - THEY work for us, WE do not work for them. WE pay THEIR salaries, WE do NOT owe THEM any favours.

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