(Barbados Nation) Carrier interCaribbean Airways is expected to touch down in Barbados tomorrow, joining several other airlines picking up the slack as the regionally-owned LIAT remains grounded with financial woes.
Travellers can expect “reasonably priced” airfares said 53-year-old Lyndon Gardiner, founder and chairman of interCaribbean based in the Turks and Caicos.
The pilot and former banker said that the fare would not be the “exorbitant” cost passengers have been putting up with, and complaining about, for decades.
“Our prices are going to be very palatable, you can’t get a good service for cheap, it just does not exist when it comes to air service. I think we are going to be reasonably priced. We are not going to have the kind of exorbitant prices you’ve seen in the marketplace pre-COVID-19,” he said. Gardiner stated that pricing was a matter of having the right equipment and flying the more direct routes which was why the Barbados hub is critical. He explained that the decision to come to Barbados was strategic because of its ideal proximity to other islands, the number of extra-regional flights primarily from North America and Europe the country attracted and the additional incentive of the Government’s pro-business approach.
He said rather than island-hopping, interCaribbean would be using Barbados to streamline its operations with an efficient hub to get the most out of the economies of scale and that would include routing people through the hub.
Gardiner said regional governments were taking note of the travel industry and looking for ways to reduce taxes since prior to COVID-19 taxes on tickets were more than the airfare and will “work together to bring down ticket cost for the consumer”.
Lower ticket cost
“We think because there is lower ticket cost it can add up to more people travelling, so with more people travelling, obviously, you go back to having economies of scale and that is a win-win situation for everyone,” said Gardiner.
The airline will initially have a schedule of six flights a week from its fleet of ten 30-seaters and two 50-seater jets with flight in the morning and afternoon.
The airline is looking to serve 13 destinations and to exceed the number of destinations served by LIAT out of Barbados by launching flights to its bases in the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos which cover the northern and western Caribbean.
Last week on the LIAT issue, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that there were several airlines flying or about to fly into the island and along with interCaribbean she listed One Caribbean, Air STV, CAL (Caribbean Airlines) and Air Antigua.
LIAT’s major shareholders Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines were willing to liquidate the broke airline while the other major shareholder Antigua and Barbuda, where it is headquartered, wanted a chance at restructuring it. Dominica is the other large shareholder. The court has halted the liquidation to allow an administrator to attempt the restructuring.