Saturday, June 27, 2009

Airlines inside CARICOM are biting the dust.

Maya Airways ATR 72 twin turbo prop, 68 passenger short haul regional carrier.


By Ray Auxillou, June 26, 2009

Caricom itself is a basket case! High debts of the individual countries, more than they actually can pay back in most cases. The Airline systems within CARICOM, none of which serve the English speaking Caribbean countries in total, are falling apart. Air Jamaica is being sold off at auction. Run by the government of Jamaica at a loss for years as a prestige showpiece, the mounting losses finally could not compete with the other costs of maintaining Jamaica. The country has no foreign exchange reserves apparently? Belizeans cannot export to Jamaica, because you cannot get paid in foreign currency. The Jamaican government will take a big loss on the airline assets. Still, stopping the flow of losses to operate the losing carrier is a right step forward for Jamaica. Caribbean Airlines I know nothing about, other than it does not serve Belize, so is not an internal Caricom airline. LIAT does not serve Belize either. It does serve the Eastern Caribbean island chain and seems to be well run. Watching costs and adjusting fares accordingly. Big complaints about that from some of the smaller island countries they serve, about the surcharges and fuel charges and so on. At least LIAT is still operating and giving a service. There was supposed to be a new airline for Guyana joining the Eastern Caribbean countries, but have heard nothing since about it. One supposed it failed before it got even started?
The big problem with a CARICOM carrier serving the internal transportation needs of the Caribbean countries lies with the feudal kingdom aspects of individual pompous ego driven politicians. None wish to surrender there braggadocio rights to sovereignty and join, as in a Cooperative to start an internal Caribbean airline. Indeed, we found out over the past year, there isn’t even any venture investment capital in the Caribbean locally driven. Only humongous debts by most of the countries. We found this out when we tried to start CARICOM AIRLINES out of Belize.
Take the move by Barbados to deport Guyanese when CARICOM is forever bleating about integration and free movement of labor and you have a discontinuity, that does not gel with the bloated rhetoric from CARICOM politicians. One would not be remiss in believing the only darned good thing about CARICOM is the meetings for senior civil servants and politicians, as excuses to take an all expense paid holiday at the cost to their own taxpayers. You have to detour through North America to do even that. The travel perks for officials all paid, seem to be the only productive thing ever coming out of CARICOM. The whole CARICOM show is a scam to defraud individual country taxpayers in my opinion. No wonder most of the countries are heavily in debt. Then there is the loss of three of the countries of Caricom, to the Venezuela new ALBA trading bloc for food and oil supplies.
Belize is effectively and practically going it’s own way. The new UDP government, while black driven and Caribbean and British orientated, from our port town of Belize City, is quickly finding out, the future for trade and progress is elsewhere, outside of CARICOM. Oh sure, we will maintain CARICOM ties. Mostly the legal system, and similar laws and administrative bureaucratic systems. Lot of talk about CARICOM also, but nothing practical the private sector can use for markets, trade, transportation and development. Our education system has already diverged enough from other CARICOM countries, to be a totally different kind of superior type of animal. Outside of that, Belize would probably be better off as a REPUBLIC. So long as our citizens are not lied to and we treat CARICOM as a hobby, or a joke, there is probably no harm in that. For serious developing of Belize, we need to just ignore CARICOM and the Caribbean. Bunch of pompous sounding losers and officials - 'do nothings' is my opinion.
Our own country of Belize has just started a new venture, tying Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras together with a short haul regional carrier. Turbo prop driven, our local airline MAYA AIRWAYS is giving the venture a try with three leased aircraft from SWIFT airways. Each aircraft seats 68. This locally would be the equivalent of LIAT in the Eastern Caribbean. I was wondering if it would pay, and as all things with more expensive modern aircraft, it will depend on the seats to be sold and at what price? The price was announced on television today to be $200 usa. Off hand, I would think that is very steep. Certainly I would not pay it. I would pay $75 usa and I can take the bus for between $25 usa and $50 usa overnight. Don't forget all the airport taxes as well. At these rates projected I certainly will stick to the bus. It remains to see how long Maya Airways can stay afloat on this new Central and North American airline venture. Not long is my guess? Too fancy, and too expensive probably. I would love to be proved wrong though and wish Maya Airlines all the luck in the world. We do need such a service.

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