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No more 'Leave Island Any Time': LIAT improves on-time

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Web site: http://www.liatairline.com/
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No more 'Leave Island Any Time': LIAT improves on-time

Unread post by bimjim » Sat Nov 03, 2018

http://www.looptt.com/content/no-more-l ... erformance

No more 'Leave Island Any Time': LIAT improves on-time performance
Ceola Belix
3 November 2018

LIAT has turned over a new leaf. The regional carrier, once associated with travel delays and less-than-desirable customer service has made significant strides in improving its service to the Caribbean territories.

Speaking to the media as part of a press trip coordinated by the United States Virgin Islands Department of Tourism, LIAT Corporate Communications Manager, Shavar Maloney said the statistics speak for themselves where LIAT’s improvement is concerned. Maloney pointed out that LIAT had acknowledged the issues in the past with its service throughout the region - delayed departures, missing luggage and poor customer service.

The airline has since been working hard to cast off its less-than-flattering moniker of “Leave Island Any Time” among Caribbean travellers. Now, Maloney says, LIAT’s on-time performance so far for 2018 is trending above 80 percent. The industry standard, according to Maloney, is around 85 percent.

In September 2018, independent air travel analysis sites ranked LIAT among the top ten carriers in the Latin America and Caribbean region for on-time performance. One site, FlightStats ranked LIAT 3rd in the region with an on-time performance rating of 87.39 percent. For the same period, OAG ranked LIAT 6th in the region with an on-time performance rating of 88.1 percent.

Maloney says the company is working to ensure that flights are on time, persons receive their bags and customer service is improved. He says there is ongoing customer service training and coaching in the company. No new routes are planned at this time but Maloney says assessments are constantly being done to determine whether the airline can resume previously discontinued routes, whether there are any new financially viable routes, or whether they need to increase the frequency of any existing routes.

In 2018 they launched Trinidad to Guyana, Trinidad to Antigua and Antigua to St Thomas. LIAT is focused now on ensuring it maintains its on-time performance and that customers enjoy travelling the Caribbean.

The company is currently undergoing a restructuring process which Maloney estimates should make LIAT a viable entity within the next five years.

Maloney said when considering the high cost of travel one must look at how much of that is determined by the airline and how much by the respective governments throughout the region. Citing the example of LIAT’s recent anniversary sale in which 50 percent of base fares were discounted, Maloney said many asked why the final cost of the tickets was still so high. Government taxes and fees, many of which Maloney says have been introduced in the last ten years, do add up and drive up the cost of travel.

“We’ve had to be in constant dialogue to try and say to governments: ‘Listen, you need to reassess your taxes and fees so that intra-regional travel is viable.’ There’s very little we can do on our end to really fix that. We’ve tried to make sure that our prices have stayed within reason, so over the last ten years you’ll find that fares have increased maybe under 10 percent while taxes and fees have gone up by over 50 percent, so the governments are collecting more revenue but the airline hasn’t been doing that. In the last ten years, intra-regional travel is down by 30 percent. That is a significant number.”

A report on Air Transport Competitiveness and Connectivity in the Caribbean by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in 2018 cited several issues impacting the declining figures in intra-regional travel, of which the high cost of travel was a major factor. The CDB suggested that implementing policy remedies - notably, a reduction of airport charges and a reduction in aviation taxes - could increase long-term employment by 288,000 jobs and GDP by US $4.4 billion across the region by 2036.

Governments, according to Maloney, have had the discussion, which is not a new one, but he says it will take real willpower from all Caribbean governments to say “intra-regional travel is important’.

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Re: No more 'Leave Island Any Time': LIAT improves on-time

Unread post by bimjim » Mon Nov 05, 2018

https://newsday.co.tt/2018/11/04/liat-d ... erformace/

Liat delivering better on-time performance
Keino Swamber
2018/11/04

ST THOMAS

Leave Island Any Time, Look Immediately for Alternative Transport, Luggage In Another Terminal, Last In Airport Terminal and Look Immediately for Alternative Transport are some of the popular phrases used jokingly by many Trinis whenever reference is made to Caribbean airline Liat.

Acknowledging that the company has had some issues in the past, its corporate communications manager Shavar Maloney told journalists on a Liat-sponsored press trip to St Thomas, US Virgin Islands last week, that a lot of work has gone into turning its image around and delivering a better service.

“We’ve had to step back and work on ourselves and fix those issues. What has happened because of that, is that our on-time performance for the year, so far, is trending above 80 per cent – the industry standard is 85 per cent. For some months we have actually ranked number one in Latin America and the Caribbean and we have been in the top five for last month and September.

Persons are seeing that we are working hard in ensuring that our flights are on time and persons receive their bags. We are working on our customer service and a lot of people are now experiencing the new Liat.”

He said many people within the region are also quite happy with the return of Liat to the Antigua-St Thomas route after the service was suspended in June 2017.

“We restarted service on July 1 with a direct flight which operates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and so far the response from the public has been good.”

Asked by Newsday why the service was discontinued, Maloney said the airline was doing a route analysis which revealed several issues.

“First of all, the flight was not direct – we actually passed through St Maarten. There were some issues there. We also had port charge increases which were very exorbitant, and we also had to look at stabilising our schedule.

”We were having far too many delays, so we suspended service to St Croix in March 2017 and we suspended service to St Thomas in June 2017.”

Addressing the complaints by many Caribbean residents about the cost of travel within the region, Maloney said one of the things to be identified is how much goes to the airline and how much goes to regional governments who have a vested interest in the airline. He said intra-regional travel has declined by 30 per cent within the last ten years – a figure which he describes as “significant.”

“If you look at the taxes and fees from different governments, they really do add up. One example was seen when we had our sale for our anniversary. We gave a 50 per cent discount on our base fare, and when people saw the prices they were asking why the prices were still so high. A lot of governments have added taxes, especially in the last ten years, and so we’ve had constant dialogues with governments about reassessing their taxes and fees so that intra-regional travel is viable.”

Also weighing in on the return of Liat to the Antigua-Thomas route was USVI Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty who said the importance of intra-regional travel is underestimated.

“We have to do a better job to make travel within the region easier both from an immigration and entry standpoint, making access easier and more affordable.”

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