Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Liat..Star of the Cbean

Living in St Vincent and the Grenadines- a place with no international airport the dependence on Liat and Caribbean Star cannot be understated. Therefore,it was with a sense of wariness that I paid attention to the news that some Caribbean PM's including Dr Gonsalves were holding talks in Antigua to finalize the merger of both airlines.

Air travel in this part of the world gets extremely frustrating at times.The much maligned Liat despite being bailed out time and again by the Caribbean governments remains in the red. Added to this they do not endear themselves to the travelling public with the shoddy service offered at times.

Along came Caribbean Star-this after we saw the backs of Bwia,Air J and another whose name eludes me that was the brain child of Sir James Mitchell. We dared to hope that life would get better with the entrance of Caribbean Star. Surely,there would be lower fares and competition would force Liat to improve its service. And for a while it did get better. Fares went down and Liat was forced to restructure to keep up with the new airline in town.

Unfortunately, Caribbean Star began to lose money on the routes as well. Airfares were practically the same and service got to be as bad if not worse than Liat's. So effectively we were back to where we started only this time we were burdened with not one but two airlines seemingly on their death beds.

I suspect there must have been a strong possibility of both airlines going out of business that prompted the merger talks. As much as Stanford is not trusted in some quarters the Govts must have felt that there was no other alternative in handling the problems of air travel. I don't know what to expect from this merger which is supposed to go into effect from Feb 1 so am cautiously optimistic. Last night I heard PM Gonsalves refer to Stanford's willingness as a "leap of faith" and not one of generosity.

As a traveller I only hope that this new airline is a vast improvement on what obtains at the present. Of course I hope for affordable fares and not the situation that happens in a monopoly. Last but not least a much improved serice is essential. Far too many times one is at the airport awaiting a flight that is long delayed and nothing is said by the authorities. Or one arrives at his/her destination and the bags follow days later. If this proves to be unattainable we may as well stock up on gravol and go back to the the days of inter-island ferry service.

Just what I need to hear. Am due to travel to Bim next month, and am already wary of the airline snafu's. Most airlines seem to have problems of sustainability, and it would be interesting to know why. Who not bankrupt, merging or laying off staff.

Read once where the Chinese govt told its people to stop griping about airline service, and just be thankful that they reach their destination safe. Interesting approach for dealing with customer service.
Am no longer sentimental re C'bean airlines. In my experience, all our airlines tek C'bean people for granted more than any other.
I will take LIAT any day over C'bean Star. When I saw the title of your post, I thougth you were going to say that Liat was the betterairline. I now realize that you were suggesting a new name.

liat fares are cheaper.
Yammie,that's the proposed name coming out of the merger. Likewise,I preferred Liat..lesser of the two evils etc.
Never flew a day in my life, so I can't possibly say what I think of those airlines. I think the merger will do nothing to improve service.
^#@^&@!% Blogger just erased all of my comment! So I'll just say, a lot of airlines have been experiencing difficulties these days, so I see more mergers on the horizon.

^*@#%#&@% Bkogger!
Perhaps you guys need to buy some go fast boats and travel between the islands that way. It sounds as if there isn't enough demand to sustain an airline, hence they have all been dying off..
I want to travel but the fares are so high. I hope the merger would bring about an improvement for our sakes.
Well, how does one expect to start a new airline by basing it on the model of a failing one ? Star cloned Liat by starting off with ex-Liat management and rather than try to innovate routes and ideas (well for a time they did innovate with marketing and summer specials) they simply did whatever Liat did. Whilst onboard service was arguable better, ground service, customer service and reservations left a lot to be desired. There are some things that each did better, now we just have to hope that they combine these things to try to improve the overall products, otherwise with the monopoly back in place, it WILL be back to square one.
14 hours from Grenada to St Maarten yesterday. Rude airport reps and self important ground staff with no interest in the tired and grumpy passengers. You have to wonder how the worlds cricketing media are going to see and report this. Also if the customer service sucks , what is the maintenance side like~!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?