The Adrian Loveridge Column – LIAT Cost Up, Service Down

Our tourism planners have a major task ahead of them unless significant changes in terms of availability, connectivity and reduced cost for air travel within the Caribbean takes place.

On a recent return flight from Barbados to St, Maarten the price of my ticket was US$740 to attend the Caribavia conference. Making up this astronomical fare were the following non direct related airline costs:

Barbados Airport Service charge (BGI-ANU) – US$70; (second departure tax introduced October 2018); FIS – US$8.75; Security Service charge (BGI-ANU) – US$8.75; Barbados Passenger Service charge (first departure tax) – US27.50; Barbados Security Fee – US$3.20; Barbados Ticket Tax (Value Added Tax) – BGI-ANU – US$44.45; Barbados PFC (Passenger Facility Charge) – US$1.50 plus another Barbados Ticket Tax – (BGI-ANU) – US$33.60, totaling an amount of US$209 in Barbados Government charges.

To reach St. Maarten necessitated a change of aircraft in both directions at Antigua and a prolonged stop in Guadeloupe on the return, making the journey nearly four hours in each direction before adding check-in and delay times.

What immediately stands out is when the second departure tax (Airline Travel and Development Fee) was announced last year, it was clearly stated that travel within the region would be at the lower rate of US$35 and not the US$70 added to flights outside of the Caribbean, yet US$70 was charged, at least on my ticket (record locator ACR73R).

Also, we are currently one of the only countries within the region to pay VAT (Value Added Tax) for flights emanating from Barbados, so both the outward and return carry the17.5 per cent levy on the base return fare total of US$466 which amounts to US$78.

While the future, (if there is one) of LIAT (1974) Ltd lies in the balance, any new majority owner and operator has to take a long and careful look at every single route and its average loadings.

On my flight we had a stop in Guadeloupe which was delayed supposedly by an additional security check. This is difficult to understand as apart from the lengthy conversation the private security personnel had with the flight attendants, only around 5 minutes were spent inspecting the interior of the aircraft.

The delay though of 35 minutes plus was long enough to disgorge just 7 passengers and take on another 5 plus one infant. Sufficient time however to ensure all the vast majority of people left onboard were made hot and sweaty on the plane for their onward journey due to the lack of provision of any auxiliary ventilation.

Just how cost effective delivering and collecting such a tiny number of passengers, when taking landing fees and other costs levied into consideration certainly needs to be investigated, especially when other carriers operate on the same route with either one or no stops.

Of course these are all questions that any serious management should have been asking for decades, prior to pumping millions of taxpayer’s dollars into the airline.

16 comments

  • Adrian: Didn’t you read the replies I got in your last column when I suggested government taxes & fees on LIAT tickets were too high? I was told that our government must pay for the airport essentially using passengers as the source of funds.

    GAIA must be one expensive airport to pay off….. been around for years but we still paying. I doubt if there is any other airport in the Caribbean where the taxes & fees are so high on a ticket …. as Barbados. We are killing inter-island travel cause we can get to USA for less money … and sometimes in less time, lol.

    Like

  • “Didn’t you read the replies I got in your last column when I suggested government taxes & fees on LIAT tickets were too high? I was told that our government must pay for the airport essentially using passengers as the source of funds.”

    ks

    The replies you received were not entirely accurate.

    As I indicated in a contribution to the same column you alluded to, Barbados Airport fees/charges (for passengers travelling within CARICOM), included in the airfare are as follows:

    Passenger service charge (departure tax) ……….= $55
    Regional transfer fee (within 6 hours of arrival) = $10
    Security charge ………………………………………….. = $6.40
    Travel & Tourism Development fee ………………. = $70
    TERMINAL CHARGE ……………………………………… =$3
    VAT, which is 17.5% of the airfare.

    The above information CLEARLY indicates each charge/fee is for a SPECIFIC purpose. The terminal charge, which could be reasonably identified as a charge to passengers for using the airport, is a meagre $3.

    In another contribution to the same article, you quoted statistics from the World Airport Traffic Report for 2018, which revealed “GAIA handled 2,194,931 passengers.” If this information is correct, then Barbados would have earned $6,584,793 from the terminal charge.

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  • Piece the Legend

    @ Mr Adrian Loveridge

    Earlier today I was telling Hee Haw Mugabe ‘ s second pooch licker her that iF HE WERE NOT A RENTED JACKASS BEATEN MERELY BECAUSE HE WAS RENTED, he would be able to see the tectonic shift JN THE Wy people are writing here on Barbados Underground.

    AND how more people, though still afraid of Mugabe, are dissenting.

    And if only to prove de ole man right you said and I quote

    “…What immediately stands out is when the second departure tax

    Airline Travel and Development Fee, was announced last year

    It was clearly stated that “travel within the region would be at the lower rate of US$35 and not the US$70 added to flights outside of the Caribbean.”

    Yet US$70 was charged, at least on my ticket (record locator ACR73R)…”

    Now I noticed that only 2 people commented on your article.

    But the ole man wonders how many people have read it.

    AND IN SO DOING, how many people have noticed this statement AND UNACCUSTOMED REMARK AND DISSENT coming from you Loveridge.

    De ole man does watch wunna people though, the silent, few words crew like you, and Willism Skinner and Vincent Codrington and I does say when I grow up I want to be jes like wunna AND NOT CUSS AND GET ON LIKE I MEK MYSELF, when I see dis RH teiffing Mugabe and these fvuckers doing to people AND NOT A BODY SAYJNG SHY$E!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Piece the Legend

    I believe sometimes you go a bit over-board with your “Mugabe” obsession and trying to identify the “slightest thing” to criticize…….. even if there isn’t anything to criticize.

    It’s true Loveridge wrote: ……….. “travel within the region would be at the lower rate of US$35 and not the US$70 added to flights outside of the Caribbean. Yet US$70 was charged, at least on my ticket (record locator ACR73R) …”

    You were quick to accept his “side of the story” to launch your criticisms and I can understand the concerns with the Travel & Tourism Development fee, which I believe is an additional financial burden to travellers.

    Obviously, you would view the comments re “UNACCUSTOMED REMARK AND DISSENT coming from you Loveridge” because it fits directly into your “Mugabe” agenda.

    TO BE FAIR, it’s not government’s fault Loveridge was charged US$70 on his ticket. Let’s assume he purchased his ticket directly from LIAT. I’m sure that airline’s ticketing system would have applied the appropriate TTD fee.

    Or supposed he purchased his ticket from a travel agency and the travel agent applied the US$70 fee believing St. Marteen is not in the Caribbean?

    Or if was just a simple mistake?

    These situations must be taken into consideration.

    However, whatever the reason, upon seeing the incorrect fee was charged to his airfare, surely the onus was on Loveridge to enquire about the fee?

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  • Piece the Legend

    @ Artaxerxes

    What purpose does it serve me TO HAVE A POLICY THAT CARES FOR MUGABE AT ALL?

    Does Mugabe care for me?

    Has she ever cared for me?

    Will Mugabe ever care for me?

    Since the answer to all these questions is no, do you think that I would be best served to continue a Support Mugabe campaign?

    This action on my part is self evident Artaxerxes

    I AM NOT A MUGABE SUPPORTER since my experiences at Mugabe’s hands WERE NOT THOSE OF A DISCIPLE AT THE HANDS OF JESUS THE CHRIST.

    So it would be somewhat hypocritical of me to come here singing Mugabe’s praises right?

    However your observation is noted and your usual ability to review most matters WITHOUT BIAS, is also noted.

    A vote against Mugabe IS A VOTE FOR DEMOCRACY!!!

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  • Robert MacDonald

    Adrian: I am assuming this was a last minute booking , I am certain with advanced notice and a little adjustment you may have been able to get a better fare. It may have involved going to MIami to get to St Maarten , regardless the taxation situation is ridiculous. The region should be considered one area for security reasons, and once cleared security and not reentering an insecure area only one security charge should be applied.

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  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Artax at 11:!3 AM

    In the interest of clarification may I ask who is the recipient of all the fees and taxes that you have itemised in this intervention.

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  • “It may have involved going to MIami to get to St Maarten…..”

    Mr. McDonald

    Based on the flight details listed, it seems as though Mr. Loveridge travelled on LIAT to St. Marteen…… via Guadeloupe and Antigua. Caribbean Airlines flights usually go to Trinidad before going on to the intended destination.

    St. Marteen is approximately 107 miles from Antigua and the distance between Miami and St. Marteen is about 191 miles. Why would you want to travel from Barbados to St. Marteen via Miami…….. and if there are flights servicing this route, why do you believe the airfare would be cheaper?

    Mr. Codrington

    The airport fees will obviously go to the GAIA and taxes to government’s revenue collection agency……. the BRA.

    Like

  • @ Artax June 27, 2019 10:30 AM

    St. Marteen is approximately 107 miles from Antigua and the distance between Miami and St. Marteen is about 191 miles. Why would you want to travel from Barbados to St. Marteen via Miami…….. and if there are flights servicing this route, why do you believe the airfare would be cheaper?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    About 191 miles away from Miami?? That distance sounds a bit more like an island hop away, not so?

    Shouldn’t you be adding a few hundred and so miles to that SXM to MIA trip?

    Liked by 1 person

  • Vincent Codrington

    @ Artax

    Precisely .
    The cost to the traveler of using the GAIA is the sum total of all these impositions not merely The Terminal Fee 0f $3 .

    Like

  • Miller

    It’s my mistake.

    The flight distance from Barbados to Miami is approximately 1,599 miles or 2,573 KM…….. and the flight distance from Miami to St. Marteen is 1,219 miles or 1,962 KM.

    I’m just curious as to why anyone would want to travel to SMX via MIA and expect the airfare to be cheaper.

    Supposed I wanted to travel to SMX on July 6 and return July 13. Using Caribbean Airlines service, I would have to travel via POS and the cheapest airfare for those dates is $1,186.54, while LIAT’s airfare for the same period, via SLU, ANU and SKB………and returning to BGI…….. via SKB, ANU and PTP…….. is $1,833.64.

    It is important to note that the T&T government subsidize fuel for CA aircrafts.

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  • “The cost to the traveler of using the GAIA is the sum total of all these impositions not merely The Terminal Fee 0f $3.”

    Mr. Codrington

    From my experience working with the Ministry of Tourism & International Transport, I beg to differ.

    But I won’t get into an argument with you about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Robert MacDonald

    Artax
    I did not say that he traveled via Miami. I said it was a possibility, and check the sum of the excursion fare between Barbados and Miami plus the excursion fare between Miami and St Maarten .

    Like

  • Mr. McDonald

    You wrote: “I am assuming this was a last minute booking, I am certain with advanced notice and a little adjustment you may have been able to get a better fare. It may have involved going to MIami to get to St Maarten……”

    All I did was to highlight the distances from BGI to MIA………. and MIA to SMX…… and asked two (2) questions:

    (1). “Why would you want to travel from Barbados to St. Marteen via Miami…….. and if there are flights servicing this route, why do you believe the airfare would be cheaper?”

    (2). “I’m just curious as to why anyone would want to travel to SMX via MIA and expect the airfare to be cheaper?”

    Could you please indicate to me where in any of my contributions I mentioned you “said” Mr. Loveridge travelled to Miami?

    Like

  • Nothing but PONZI crooks need to be in Jail

    Like

  • Robert MacDonald

    Artax:
    I did not say that you said or that Mr. Loveridge travelled to SXM via MIA. In using MIA I was pointing out that the sum of excursion fare between BGI/MIA and MIA/SXM is close to what Mr. Loveridge paid. In some cases it is cheaper to fly from a further point than a closer, it is cheaper to fly BOS/YYZ/ BGI than YYZ/BGI as an example. Air fares can be rather complicated .and are always changing to reflect the market.

    Like

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