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Focus on survival, not fares

Marlon Madden

Focus on survival, not fares

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LIAT IS?NOT?CONCERNED about “fare wars”; instead, it is focused on ensuring that the airline survives and prospers for another half century, says the airline’s chairman Jean Holder.
Holder was responding to the question of whether LIAT could survive a “fare war” in the region and also calls for the airline to consider the restructuring of its management and operations.
The chairman told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY he would not be getting in on any such discussions. Instead, he suggested that those who speak ill of the airline and speculate that it may not be able to survive are setting up their own air carrier.
“LIAT will focus on how to compete with whatever competition is in the marketplace. The airline has survived for the past 55 years and many others have come after, and where are they now? LIAT must have been doing something right.
“Everybody loves a fare war. I don’t spend my time talking about these things. My business is to strategize with LIAT in order to ensure it survives for another 55 years. It has survived for 55 years already and has been in a fare war with other [regional airlines] which no longer exist,” he said.
A businessman and frequent flyer throughout the region, Robert Pitcher has maintained that the cost of travel on LIAT was too expensive and he believed the airline could offer lower fares if it were to “get rid of the entire board”.
Pitcher, who is creative marketing director of Fun and Sun Publishing Inc., first made this call in 2009.
In a recent interview with BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY, Pitcher forecasted that the airline would “suffer major loss” if it did not “cut staff and get a new board”.
“I call for the resignation of the board because they have no vision,” he said.
However, the airline’s chairman said those who wanted to replace the LIAT board should say “which airline they have run successfully”.
“This is a democracy and everybody is entitled to their view as to who should stay and who should go. Our immediate plans are to survive and prosper,” Holder maintained.
“I don’t think that anybody should be surprised that the cost of flying in the Caribbean is high; there is the complexity of network in traversing the Caribbean by air, and then there is the cost of fuel,” Holder pointed out.