Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy says servicing most Caribbean destinations is an unprofitable venture.
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Thursday June 15, 2017 – New airlines entering the turbulent regional air transport sectors are unlikely to soar, Barbados’ Minister of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy has said.
According to him, this is a tough reality largely because servicing most Caribbean destinations is an unprofitable venture.
Citing the failure of REDjet and using LIAT’s wobbly operations as prime examples, Sealy pointed out that the Antigua-based carrier had remained in the air only because of the support of its shareholder governments.
“It would be extremely difficult for an airline – and certainly one offering as many destinations as LIAT does – to be profitable. I am not going to say it is impossible, but it is unlikely,” he said while speaking to reporters at the tenth anniversary celebrations of the Airlines Executive Lounge at Grantley Adams International Airport.
The grim analysis came 24 hours before new carrier Trans Island Air (TIA) was en route to launching services between four Eastern Caribbean destinations.
The grand event, which was expected to take off at a ceremony at the Bay Gardens Hotel in St Lucia, had to be called off after inclement weather prevented several flights from landing at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
Minister Sealy said top international airline executives were unwilling to enter the region to offer services like LIAT in light of the high costs in some markets.
“There was analysis done some time back which found that just under 40 percent of the routes that LIAT is on are actually profitable; 60 per cent were social routes. No normal airline could operate like that, but LIAT, because of its mandate, can think in those terms,” he said.
Sealy stressed that was not the case with private sector interests who would a return on their investment.
The Barbados-based TIA, which began flights on May 29, will offer scheduled and chartered flights to Barbados, St Lucia, Grenada, St Vincent and Dominica.
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