LIAT Airline On Bankruptcy Flight Path
The following was posted by Bimjim to blog LIAT Airline Reneges on AGREEMENT with the Leeward Islands Airline Pilots Association According to LEAKED Document. It is an important post not just for the issues highlighted but the fact that leadership is required in any endeavour to ensure there is a possibility of success. A read of the Harvard Review article explains why a dynamic CEO is a prerequisite for success. The question we must ask as taxpayers is whether LIAT has any chance of being successful under Acting CEO Julie Reifer-Jones. Should Barbadians be reminded that we are the largest shareholder in LIAT? – Barbados Underground
Bajan Free Party, in my educated opinion LIAT was brambled into buying the ATR fleet so that a certain person could reap millions in “commissions” – the same person went on to do the same at BahamasAir, and questions were raised in Parliament there, too.
REDjet shot itself in the foot by bringing both a developed-country business plan and a developed-country budget to an under-developed region. Developed-country “experts” and “budgets” do not transplant well, especially when you don’t want to hire ANYONE in the under-developed country. And even if REDjet had managed to get off the ground for more than 20 feet, they had also shot themselves in the backside – Barbados Category 2 means they could NOT have served the US – PR and the USVI are included. So those traditional routes you had hoped to get discounts on never really existed.
Artax, the state of aviation in Barbados is what I would kindly call a “shambles”, and the Barbados CAD has been a regional joke for several decades. A decade ago I asked the Minister for International Business – you used to call him the “Shrimp Man” – about plans for a CAA, and he stated unequivocally that legislation was enroute, in process, about to be laid before the rest of the jackass herd… but it seems the shrimp got a little too slithery and there was a trip slip twixt the lip and the grip. Ten years later we have a new face, but the same old gap between promises and reality. We do have a new $1 million building at Charnocks, though so, if all went as it usually did, somebody got a kick-back and somebody else got a job.
On that same subject, for about 40 years the Director Of Civil Aviation (a puppet of the Minister) has been a person appointed by the Minister from among his other puppets – the Air Traffic Controllers. Barbados ATC does work, but any pilot – regional or international – will tell you they don’t like it. It has the same feel as dealing with the Barbados Government or Civil Service – slow, musty, old-fashioned, wasteful, and sometimes just downright unpleasant. But if there were someone in that position they would not necessarily do exactly as they were told, and they might want to do something beneficial the Minister did not understand.
I was told that the last time the FAA did an evaluation of Barbados (the country is evaluated, not just the airport) for the IASA/ICAO category, the last thing they told the CAD was not to call again for at least ten years. Barbados Civil Aviation was – and still is – that bad.
And the CAD can barely oversee a couple of airplanes now, oversight of LIAT would be IMPOSSIBLE. LIAT can serve Barbados, but it is WILDLY unrealistic for it to be based here. If you have a problem with being majority shareholder and not having it based in Barbados, make Fumble sell some shares to Antigua to tip the balance and leave it there. At least under the ECCAA it will stay safe.
David, this is not the first time a LIAT management has tried to make LIAT an “essential service”. And this is not the first time the regional aviation community has laughed it into the ground. Especially pilots, who know full well that THE LAW requires them to stay home if they have a cold or influenza – conditions which block the ears and can burst an eardrum in rapidly changing air pressures, such as in an aircraft. LIAT could waste yet another five million dollars in the process of having LIAT so declared, but the pilots can all still stay home – LEGALLY. Any qualified, experienced, knowledgeable airline manager would not need to be told this, but a book-keeper could not be expected to “have a clue” about these things.
Next, in all the wailing, weeping, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and wringing of hands, what has either of Barbados’ representatives to LIAT said? Neither Stuart and Holder have uttered a whisper. Silent. Nothing to contribute. And remember, Barbados owns more than 50% of the LIAT shares.
Did you know that Antigua paid the bill to stop a LIAT aircraft being repossessed two weeks ago? Did you know that at Ogle (Guyana), the airport is now charging passengers an extra fee because LIAT is not paying its bills there? They don’t want you to know that, either.
Which brings me to comment on LIAT. The airline is now run by a hotel book-keeper, whose sole training for the position of CEO is to observe how LIAT has been run for the last few years. Logically, with that training she will now continue to manage it into bankruptcy. FACT: You cannot innovate or change your course in your industry unless you know your industry. LIAT is not a haberdashery or a hardware store, most of its employees require professional licences to do their jobs – which baggage handlers and local bus drivers do not have.
In the last week I made my annual waste of time appeal to the LIAT shareholder Prime Ministers, laying out a suggested course of future action. As I said, I know I am wasting my time, but miracles do happen.
I managed to get it to all of them, despite our own illustrious Fumbling Prime Minister changing his official email address – again – and abandoning the old one to “mailbox full” responses. Apparently the rest of them don’t sleep all day.