TIA 2000 reveals Caribbean struggles

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TIA 2000 reveals Caribbean struggles

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Oct 20, 2017

http://www.routesonline.com/news/29/bre ... struggles/

TIA 2000 reveals Caribbean struggles
Edward Robertson
19 October 2017 10:26

For any ambitious private airline, there are always issues to overcome as they get off the ground. But competing with a loss-making but government-backed rival is surely one of the hardest.

That is the situation that Bruce Kaufmann, chief executive of Caribbean airline Trans Island Air (TIA) 2000, finds himself as he establishes a network across Dominica, St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada from its base in Barbados.

It is competing against Leeward Islands Air Transport (LIAT) which is owned by seven Caribbean governments, all of which have an interest in keeping it in the skies at whatever cost, Kaufmann believes.

He says: “LIAT does a good job in certain areas but it is stretched because it doesn’t have enough aircraft to do everything, and the aircraft it has are too big to do a number of routes and that’s a problem.

“The picking up and dropping off of six or eight people on a 70-seater aircraft is not a commercially successful route to be doing. Over the last couple of years LIAT has dropped routes that just didn’t make sense to operate and we are looking at these routes to pick up.”

Win-win strategy

In total, Kaufmann believes LIAT is losing money on 60 percent of its routes. However, he says the governments are unlikely to downsize the airline accordingly, and believes they are too scared of a loss of jobs as well as face to do so.

Despite operating smaller aircraft, including two Beechcraft 99 Twin Engine Turbos seating 12 and a DHC-6 Twin Otter with space for 19 passengers, which he believes would make the routes viable, he cannot afford to compete on many of the routes that only survive thanks to subsidies.

But he is unconvinced that such common sense will appear any time soon, adding: “As long as they run the routes then the government has to support them, and it is costing them money. If they drop the routes I would pick them up, and I can make money because of my small planes and the lower operating costs. If I don’t make money the government doesn’t lose it as I won’t be getting any funding; it is a win-win strategy.

“As long as they are going to run them and run them losing money, there’s no way to put additional seats on those routes and we would lose money.”

Spreading the word

One thing that Kaufmann is not concerned about is competition emerging from the low-cost carriers anytime soon, as the Caribbean’s unique circumstances prevent the model from working as effectively there as in other parts of the world.

He adds: “You cannot run an old legacy airline by the old rules as they’re not there anymore, that’s why you have these Ryanairs and easyJets and they’re the airlines that are walking away with it all.

“But in the Caribbean there won’t be a Ryanair or an easyJet for a long time. It has been tried, it lacks the one most important component and that’s the size of the available market. It just isn’t there so you can’t have lots of aircraft and fly them 15 to 17 hours a day. It can’t be done.”

However, if he is to meet the success he is hoping for, Kaufmann admits there is one area of operations at TIA that has not been brought up to scratch.

He adds: “My biggest problem is I am not a marketing man but we’re working on it. We haven’t got the word out as well as we would have liked to. We are rethinking our campaign, especially to the local population and I can reach out to tour operators and agents.

“I’ve got to do it on the newspapers and social media. It hasn’t gone as well as we hoped but we’re doing it now.”

Which sounds good as we all know that the more time and effort you put into marketing, the more you will get out of it. However, whether the Caribbean governments Kaufmann is lobbying over LIAT follow the same formula is harder to say.

Building a brand

Trans Island Air (TIA) 2000 originally started life in 1982 as Trans Island Air before Kaufmann bought it in 1999. He says: “The airline didn’t do well, people wanted out and I took over the stress. I came from a manufacturing background, I knew as much about airlines as I did brain surgery but I am a quick learner. I had to be.”

The airline rebranded with its current name in 2000 when it operated a mixed fleet including Pilatus Britten-Norman Islanders, Rockwell Aero Commanders, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and an Embraer EMB-110.

In 2004 it became a founding member of the Grenadine Air Alliance, but then chose to leave it in 2015. Kaufmann says: “They were too happy and too satisfied. We wanted to expand routes and they didn’t.

“Now, we’re not flying into the Grenadines and we’re not interfering in their business, although they have new competitors on the route.” The airline then relaunched in April this year with flights commencing the following month.

It currently operates two Beechcraft 99 Twin Engine Turbo aircraft with 12 seats, one DHC-6 Twin Otter with 19 seats and a King Air A100 with seven seats, although this is for private charter only.

Kaufmann is hoping to start operating a third Beechcraft in October this year as well as a second DHC-6. The business is registered in Barbados while it is registered for maintenance in St Lucia.

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Re: TIA 2000 reveals Caribbean struggles

Unread post by bimjim » Fri Oct 20, 2017

  • Kaufmann says: “The airline didn’t do well, people wanted out and I took over the stress. I came from a manufacturing background, I knew as much about airlines as I did brain surgery but I am a quick learner. I had to be.”
Like another deplorable American recently exclaimed, "It's soooo HAAAAAARD!".

Sorry, Brucie baby, going by your performance you still have not learned a single damned thing. You could only be be as dense as a bag of hammers.

It should be law that when a person starts to spout such utter garbage about themself and their expectations in an interview or publicity they should have to tell the whole story abouit themselves.
  • - Such as, that after you bought TIA you bankrupted it and all of your staff walked off the job.
    - Such as, you then went to Antigua, bought the late Sir Frank Delisle's thriving operation Carib Aviation and ran that into the ground, closing it.
    • You can't claim it was a losing operation or you would never have bought it in the first place.
    - Such as, you leasing the aircraft to Jamaica Air Shuttle and one day suddenly arrived and repossessed the aircraft, closing that airline down too.
    • To add insult insult to injury, he was dying of cancer and you left his family with nothing.
    - Such as, SOMEHOW getting a new AOC from the Barbados Civil Aviation Department when you did not technically qualify for it.
    - Such as, being so cheap and nasty to the employees that your Chief Pilot and several other pilots walked off the job without notice.
    - Such as, being unable to keep good maintenance staff - mechanics and engineers - for the same reason.
    - Such as, already selling seats when you are short on spares, the aircraft are not yet airworthy, and the pilots have not even started training.
    - Such as, keeping Trainee First Officers in the dark (and untrained and unpaid) for so long that more than half of them have walked away or found other jobs.
    - Such as weaseling your way into other functioning airlines for the sole purpose of taking them over... the good old smile-in-the-front-and-knife-in-the-back approach.
Sorry, Brucie baby, we know what you are doing and when you are doing it. This is not anonymous north America where nobody knows your name because there are millions of you all screwing each other over every second of the day. In this part of the world when YOU screw people over - because you have no clue - we DO get to know about it... we may not say something right away, but we do stash it away for future reference.

We in the airline business also know - from your chosen equipment and routes - that there is no way you can make money with your fancy schemes. Blame LIAT all you like and criticise their shortcomings, but yours are far worse, if only because YOU don't have a clue what you are doing and YOU don't really give a rat's a$$ whose lives you screw up anyway. You really should not criticise something when you have no idea what you are talking about yourself.

You say you came from a manufacturing background... and just like the incompetent Board at LIAT, you have no clue about aviation. Jean Holder has been in that Chairman position for decades, and he still has no clue about aviation either.

You have the dubious experience and single-handed responsibility for bankrupting three airlines in three countries... that should mark you as yet another aviation moron and disqualify you from ever investing in aviation again.

But money talks wherever you go, and we can understand how (and why) you are still in business. We can also understand that old adage of how to become a millionaire (become a billionaire and buy an airline), so your pockets must have been extraordinarily deep to get this far. Except there is no excuse for playing with the lives of other people, and your own performance over the last decade has been depolorable.

TIA 2000... the occasional useless airline that will be gone for good (hopefully) before 2019. And hopefully Brucie baby will also be gone from among us too. And then we can say "Good riddance to bad rubbish!!"

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Re: TIA 2000 reveals Caribbean struggles

Unread post by bimjim » Sun Oct 22, 2017

Tomas Chlumecky

Sounds good on the surface, dig deeper its NOT, it has Red Flags.

Mr. Kaufmann has been around the Caribbean for awhile, he brought down long time operator Carib Aviation (Antigua) in September, 2008, later Jamaica Air Shuttle in June, 2013, and even last year, he shut down TIA2000 and then restarted a few months later, so 0-3 now ? and attempt #4 ?

So stories are nice, but the problem they lack history and facts to back the real story, too many BS journalists around.

TIA2000 runs 2 very old Beech 99's with 2 pilots and as I understand just 9 passenger seats, to the well trained airline professional, that right there says, FAILURE.

"Kaufmann is hoping to start operating a third Beechcraft in October this year as well as a second DHC-6. The business is registered in Barbados while it is registered for maintenance in St Lucia", so "hoping" is the strategy ?

JAMAICA Air Shuttle has closed its airline operations on June 19, 2013, after failing to bring investors on board to purchase its grounded planes, (now at TIA2000) having suspended operations after an overseas partner (Kaufmann) and owner of the aircraft pulled out of the business.

Running an airline in the Caribbean is tough when you know what you are doing, even more when you don't, and trying to compete with LIAT? well 0-4.

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