Airone Airone Ventures Promising 10-dollar Regional Fares

Low-cost carrier Airone is promising it will soon provide cheap intra-regional travel – with fares as low as US$9.99. Read more of this post

Barbados Likely Home For Airone Ventures Airlines

Airone Ventures Limited (AVL), a start-up airline, which three years ago sought a home in Jamaica, is likely to begin operations in Barbados later this year. Read more of this post

Virgin Alantic Boss Wants Compensation

Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson says his airline lost $77 million in over six days because of a blanket ban on European flights due to volcanic ash from Iceland. Read more of this post

Brazil Direct Flight To Barbados This Year

Barbados will soon have a direct non-stop flight from South America. Read more of this post

Airlines Expected To Lose $5.6 Billion In 2010

The global airline industry will face another harrowing year in 2010, with losses expected to reach $5.6 billion despite some recovery in passenger and cargo traffic, an industry group said Tuesday.

Low yields and rising costs are a “continuing disaster” for world airlines, who have already lost $49 billion since 2000, according to the International Air Transport Association. The industry group maintained its estimate of $11 billion full-year losses for 2009.

“The worst is likely behind us,” said IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani. “Some key statistics are moving in the right direction. Demand will likely continue to improve and airlines are expected to drive down non-fuel unit costs.” Read more of this post

US Airways To Start Philly Flights To Barbados

US Airways says it will begin adding flights to Barbados from Philadelphia International Airport, beginning Oct. 1.

Philadelphia’s dominant carrier said it would begin with four flights a week there (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday), then offer daily flights for the winter season, beginning Dec. 19. Read more of this post

Jet Blue Airways $99 Fares To Barbados

JetBlue Airways  today announces an introductory fare sale for its three newest Caribbean destinations — Barbados; Kingston, Jamaica; and Saint Lucia.

Nonstop flights from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport begin in October to all three island getaways with fares starting at just $99(a) each way. Flights must be booked by June 17, 2009, for travel through Nov. 14, 2009, and all travel must originate in the United States. Service to Barbados, Kingston, and Saint Lucia is subject to receipt of foreign government operating authority.

Read more of this post

Air Jamaica Soaring Barbados Way Again

 From July 2 to August 30, 2009, Air Jamaica will operate twice weekly service between New York and Barbados which the airline says is in response to the expected demand by Barbadian nationals in the tri-state area travelling home for the summer.

“We are of course very happy that Air Jamaica has made the commitment of these flights,” Barbadian Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, told JIS News.

“Barbadians who live outside of the island look forward to vacationing at home. We are thrilled at Air Jamaica’s move in making it easy for them and all visitors to our island to travel during this period,” he added.

The flights will depart John F Kennedy Airport (JFK) on Thursday and Sunday at 12:50 am and arrive in Barbados at 5:00 am. The return flight will depart Barbados at 6:30 am and arrive at JFK at 11:30 am.

Source: www.jamaicaobserver.com

Debt Ridden Air Jamaica To Cut Barbados Route Next Month

images-airjamaica

The head of Air Jamaica says the ailing carrier must eliminate six unprofitable routes and slash staff next month.

Bruce Noble is the chief executive of the debt-ridden airline. He says Air Jamaica’s flights to Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles, Barbados, Grenada and the island of Grand Cayman will be cut in late February.

Noble said Tuesday that Jamaica’s national carrier had to “cut routes where we are losing money.”

He says an undetermined number of workers will be dismissed around the same time. Air Jamaica has eliminated other routes and trimmed its workforce in recent years.

Jamaica expects to divest itself from the airline by April. Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said the carrier was losing US$141 million a year.

Source: forbes.com

AirOne Ventures & Digicel Team Up For Low Cost Carrier

A private commercial airline by the name of AirOne Ventures Limited may ruffled the wings of regionals carriers when its takes to the skies next year.

Simply because the Irish backed proposed low cost airline company have as one of their 4 shareholders and a director of the said company, Digicel Group Vice-President Leslie Buckley. AirOne Ventures Limited is registered in Jamaica but currently based in Barbados due to Jamaica’s government refusal to grant them a license. A search led to a site advertising vacancies for AirOne Ventures. So does Digicel owned, managed or controlled AirOne Ventures? According to the Jamaica Gleaner, the answer from both sides was a quick no.   

………… Airone and Digicel are forming an alliance but last night the latter company moved swiftly to dispel any suggestion that it was an investor in the airline.

“It is an entirely separate legal entity to Digicel Limited,” said group head of communications Maureen Rabbitt.

“Airone Ventures Limited is not owned, controlled or managed by Digicel Limited.”

Pressed on whether the company’s chairman Denis O’Brien was involved with Airone, both Rabbitt and later ProComm, the agency handling media relations for Airone, said ‘no’. – 11/12/07                     

AirOne Ventures is to begin commercial flights from Barbados to some regional and US destinations between March to April come next year [2009] with fares as low as US$10!!! Now that’s a lot uh money to sustained $10.00 fares. But hey, Digicel have never been known to be weak in the sales & marketing department peoples.

Airone has tapped Digicel for assistance, saying that it would be relying on the savvy mobile phone company for sales support.

Tickets? No problem. They can be purchased and collected lock, stock and barrel at Digicel stores. Or what about receiving them via SMS text message? The barcodes will be scanned at the airport and a boarding pass issued.

 Digicel Group is founded by Irish billionaire Dennis O’Brien. The Irish telecom company services 6m subscribers in 23 markets in the Caribbean and Central America with expected revenues to grow to US1.47b at its financial year end March 2008.

Caribbean Tourism Organisation Expects Big Fat Cheque From Barbados

According to CTO statistics, Barbados ranked ninth among the 33 CTOmember countries with 574 533 long-stay arrivals last year, and tenth with 616 354 cruise arrivals from January to December.

     Early July saw Caricom leaders met at their annual Caricom Heads Of Government meeting [held in Antigua], formulating a “One Caribbean” marketing plan. A case of a little  too late we said but better late than ever. Now that talks are over, attention is now place on what percentage of funding each CTO member country can allocate. Out of the $60m fund, Caricom is expecting to contribute $21m. The rest coming from private sources. But guess who is expected to make a hefty payment to the fund. Yep Barbados. Even though Barbados is listed 9th for stop over visitors and 10th for cruise ship visitors. And why is Barbados being single out?

Barbados should be prepared to make a hefty contribution to the US$60 million fund that would most likely be capitalised with each country’s input according to their level of tourist arrivals.

“How much each country would be required to put up [would be determined by] the ratio of visitor arrivals as a percentage of the total arrivals for the region, so that the countries with the greatest tourist arrivals would make the greater contribution to the fund.

That still does not explain why Barbados was the only Caricom state mention which has a ninth and tenth ranking respectively. For stop over visitors in 2007onecaribbean.org lists includes the top 9 destinations.

The Top Nine are:

  1. Dominican Republic     3,979,582
  2. Cuba                                    2,152,221
  3. Cancun[Mexico]            2,022,302
  4. Jamaica                              1,700,785
  5. Bahamas                            1,527,588
  6. Puerto Rico                      1,359,561
  7. Aruba                                     696,697
  8. US Virgin Islands             693,372
  9. Barbados                               574,533

Jamaica, Bahamas and Barbados are the only Caricom member states on the above list. The others are non Caricom Spanish-speaking countries. Aruba is Dutch. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and Aruba are Caricom observers. Bahamas is not part of the Common Market. I take that to mean CSME [ Caricom Single Market Economy]. That’s leaves Jamaica and Barbados. Which are designated as MDC [More Developed Countries] including Bahamas. Yet Jamaica’s name was not mention. If memory serves me correctly the “One Caribbean” marketing plan not only includes English-speaking countries but non English-speaking countries as well. Was Barbados called based on its currency strenght?  Aren’t the other eight CTO member countries expected to contribute hefty monies as well?

$60m by 33 CTO countries = $1,818,181each.  $21m by 33 CTO countries= $636,363 each. If Caricom  takes on the $60m figure is Barbados contribution going to be $5 MILLION DOLLARS?.

From Positivetourism.com

BARBADOS MAY BE EXPECTED to contribute a significant share to the Caribbean Tourism Marketing Fund proposed by CARICOM Heads of Government for selling the region as a single tourist destination.

This is the indication from Luther Miller, director of finance at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), who confirmed that Caribbean countries were better off marketing themselves in a cluster.

“It has been demonstrated over the years by going to major international travel trade shows, be it in London, Berlin, France or Milan, that given all the clutter in the world today in tourism marketing, the market responds better to the collective image of the Caribbean. . . .”

Two weeks ago, whilst introducing tourism in the 2008 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, Prime Minister David Thompson noted that some major decisions were taken for the industry in the Caribbean at the recent Heads of Government meeting held in Antigua, “including the commitment to a regional brand”.

And, according to Miller, Barbados should be prepared to make a hefty contribution to the US$60 million fund that would most likely be capitalised with each country’s input according to their level of tourist arrivals.

“How much each country would be required to put up [would be determined by] the ratio of visitor arrivals as a percentage of the total arrivals for the region, so that the countries with the greatest tourist arrivals would make the greater contribution to the fund.

According to CTOstatistics, Barbados ranked ninth among the 33 CTOmember countries with 574 533 long-stay arrivals last year, and tenth with 616 354 cruise arrivals from January to December.

Miller said the fund’s yearly financing was to come from the 33 CTO members.

How Much Travelling Should A Prime Minister Do?

During his wrap up of the 2008 budget, PM Thompson made mention of coming to office and finding a “travel schedule set for me as leader of Barbados.” This statement came on the heels by Leader of the Opposition Mia Mottley commenting on Thompson jet-setting all over the place.

Leaders of countries need to travel extensively whether by commercial or private means. Our PM is no different. He arrive in Trinidad and Tobago on a private jet during his first official visit there. One really can’t have a business and not seek to promote  and form relationships for the survival of the business and thought it maybe early days yet, as to how much Thompson is jet-setting excessively, six months in office can rake up a tidy sum if we can use Jamaica PM  Bruce Golding as an example. Seems the Jamaica PM have  so far cost the taxpayers nearly $13m in official travel overseas and that folks is only 8 months in office! Our PM have had his fair share of travelling thus far. Are we close to that $13m figure as yet?

One Caribbean Tourism Plan

    Like a drowning man reaching for a piece of rope to save his self before his final demise, tourism planners in the Caribbean have finally [hopefully] placed self interest, jealousy and other insularity issues on the back burner in an effort to rescue the regional tourism market by agreeing to market the region under a ‘One Caribbean’ campaign.

With the ever raising price of oil, increase costs to airlines tickets, seats capacity reduced by international airlines, air flights no longer available and drop in tourists arrivals, Caribbean tourism and government officials have decided to probably lactch on on the last surviving means of rescue to avoid them from going under. As always a classic case of a little too late. Nevertheless a somewhat case can probably be made out for better late than never. But this knee jerk reaction only transpire out of a global crisis. Without such tourism planners would  continue to market the region as separate entities as planets in different solar systems! Desperate times called for desperate action. As Mr Gonsalves PM of St.Vincent and the Grenadines rightly said,

“We don’t have the resources to be aggressive individually,”

And to show their sense of unity the plan would not only include English speaking countries in the region but French and Dutch speaking countries as well. Unheeded calls in the past for such an approach seems ready now to become a reality and not just a blast of hot air.

Coke And Dope Found On Air Jamaica Flight

A crew member aboard an Air Jamaica flight bound for Philadelphia discovered nine pounds of cocaine and marijuana hidden in the aircraft’s galley, officials said.

Eight tightly wrapped packages of cocaine and marijuana were found aboard an Air Jamaica flight Sunday night.

The stash was found Sunday on a flight that originated in Kingston before landing about 9:30 p.m. at Philadelphia International Airport.

Five pounds of cocaine and four-and-a-half pounds of marijuana, wrapped tightly in brown tape and divided into eight packages, were concealed inside a catering cart, said Steve Sapp, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The drugs, worth about $44,000, were seized by federal agents and will be destroyed, Sapp said. Agents have made no arrests.

Source – Phildalphia Daily News

 

Air Jamaica On The Auction Block

Continual financial losses, rescue plans and packages over recent years have led the Jamaica government to decided enough is enough. Air Jamaica has come full circle with the Golding administration placing it on the auction block ultimately into private hands after accumulated losses of $1 billion dollars, losing $100m yearly. The question is would the Jamaica government still have a stake in the airlines?. It would be a serious matter to be place at the mercy of foreign airlines who have slashed air seats to the region by 50%, rising oil prices and a volatile American economy which is one of the region largest markets.

The Jamaican Government has confirmed that it will have to absorb one billion US dollars in losses accumulated by the national airline.

The latest round of losses for Air Jamaica was disclosed Monday night by Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

The airline’s string of losses has resulted in the government now placing it on the auction block.

The airline has been a source of irritation for Jamaican tax payers at the end of each financial year.

Prime Minister Golding says Cabinet has approved plans to sell the cash strapped airline by March 31st next year.

He confirmed that after Air Jamaica is placed in private hands the country will be left with the huge task of clearing off its debts.

Source – BBCCaribbean.com

Related articles – Air Jamaica Woes

Air Jamaica Limited

Aruba Self Service Check-In First For Caribbean Airport

The Common Use Self Service [CUSS] is a check-in kiosk allowing passengers to check in and print their own boarding passes.

Passengers from different airlines are able to share a single kiosk for check-in themselves.

According to aruba.com

The start screen shows the logos of all participating airlines. The passenger selects his airline on the touch screen to start the check-in software of that airline. He then identifies himself with a passport or credit card and performs the check-in. After printing his boarding pass, he can proceed to a baggage drop-off point where his boarding pass is scanned and the required number of baggage tags is printed and attached to the luggage.

Although many airports and airlines all over the world have implemented self service check-in kiosks, Aruba’s airport is the first airport in the Caribbean to have this service.

US Airlines Facing Bankruptcy – The Implications For Caribbean Tourism!!!

Many international airlines are heading into difficult times as the price of oil keeps skyrocketing with no reprieve in sight. It does not look like we will ever return to the days of $40, $60 or $70 a barrel on earth.

A study out of Washington show that several large and small US airlines will default on their obligations to creditors which ultimately can lead to bankruptcy. The airlines are in deep debt. Many persons have lost their jobs just to keep the airlines afloat. This is worrisome news for us in the Caribbean. The region depends on tourism to pays its bills. Already airlines have cut back flights. A new $15 fee is charge to US passengers for their first checked bag on domestic flights and maybe just a matter of time before that applies to international flights as well.

How many times have we heard that the region needs to diversify in other areas? Now every one is scrambling to come up with ideas. I say it is a sad case of a little to late. The family that decides to go to the Olympics Games in China other than the usual Caribbean vacation or rather stay home is showing prudent in their hard earned dollars. Already car rental agencies and some hotels have reported sluggish bookings here.

There is talk of a private sector regional airline back by World Bank finances and whilst that may have its merits I don’t believe in putting all ones eggs in a basket.

By the end of 2008 into 2009 if oil prices continue its current trend US commerical aviation will be heading towards a catastrophe according to the study.

Right now it is in full blown crisis.

Further reading – US Airline Industry Headed Toward “Catastrophe’ At Current Oil Prices

Barbados Tourism Minister Richard Sealy Summoned To Emergency Meeting

http://www.caribbeanedu.com/elections/bb05a.asp?CandidateID=35

Tourism is the life blood of the Barbados economy. Any decisions made outside Barbados that would have a negative impact on our survival is cause for concern. Like the recent decision by American air carriers to cut their carrying capacity by as much as 20% because as you guess it, rising fuel costs which would mean less travellers coming to these shores.

Let’s face it. If plane A, used to carrying say 780 passengers to region A decided to slash their passenger load by 20%, that’s 156 less travellers coming to region A. If plane B, used to carrying say 830 passengers to region B decided to slash their passenger load by 20%, that’s 166 less travellers coming to region A.

So plane A brings 624 passengers and plane B brings 664 passengers. Now it may not be the case of each carrier slashing their capacity by 20% more likely a combination of the air carriers percentage. The point is that is already 322 travellers less coming to the Caribbean and a lesser extent Barbados.

We have not even touch on the thousands much more the millions of travellers that the region would be losing in subsequent years. Imagine the dollar figures people!!!.

So dire is the situation that Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy would be just one of the tourism ministers receiving correspondence inviting them to a 29th May meeting [next Thursday] in Antigua to come up with a comprehensive plan to deal with the gravity of the situation.

According to the Chairman of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation [CTO] and St Lucia’s Minister Of Tourism Senator Allen Chastanet said that the decision by the air carriers,

would have a serious impact on visitor arrivals to this tourism dependent region. He warned that this would be made worse over the next six to nine months as the ongoing economic downturn, plus the traditional low spending in an election year, would equal a fall-off in holiday bookings to the Caribbean by visitors from the United States.

And he does not stop there. Mr Chastanet went on to say that if a US$30m marketing plan by the CTO did not get the support from the ministers needed to propel it into action, then that May 29th meeting would be the last regional meeting that he would attend!!!.

All because the Caribbean is still relying on sun, sea and sand!

Further readingTourism Ministers Summoned To Emergency Meeting

%d bloggers like this: