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Our airport, landing strip and our air services

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The article captioned here invoked much discussion online. We present in its entirety for our readers, the comments that went back and forth on the topic, which is one of great interest, brings much to the attention of all concerned.

14 Exchanges to Our airport, landing strip and our air services

Travel Industry Consultant says:

Interesting article, and well presented. I have visited Montserrat a couple of times, and have been surprised, as you point out, that it is not a GDS destination. Checking with aviation industry colleagues, I understand that FlyMontserrat has made initial approaches to join one of the GDS networks, and should be joined within a few weeks. No word of ABM taking similar steps.
On a related subject, I have enquired informally about through-ticketing from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. My understanding is that with the tight window between Antigua arrival and departure, neither airline is keen to pay for overnight accommodation in Antigua should their flights be even slightly late arriving, which is often the case. This situation could be avoided if Montserrat airport could remain open after sunset to receive British and other European visitors the same day they depart London. I understand that the airport is equipped for night-flights, but these have so far have never been implemented for some reason.

Gloria says:

winair

Passengers leaving `WINAIR twin otter aircraft – January 2010

Hi Travel Industry Consultant
A tight window for connection should not be allowed to hamper
our development. Connections have been tight since the 1970′s in the days of Liat/BA connections. A delayed international flight is the exception not the rule.
What we need is an airline who will have ticket and baggage interline agreements with one or more international carriers.
It would negate the Antigua taxes. WINAIR has this, no reason why
Fly Montserrat does not. Even W.H. Bramble airport did not have
scheduled night flights.

Travel Industry Consultant says:

Gloria – you say “A delayed international flight is the exception not the rule.” London to Antigua I’m afraid is a very poorly performed route. British Airways make only 50% on time, Virgin a little better, but they have also recently changed to a later departure, making an onward same-day daylight connection to Montserrat even harder. For stats see http://mobile.flightstats.com/go/FlightRating/flightRatingByRoute.do?departureAirportCode=LGW&arrivalAirportCode=ANU&groupByCarrier=false
And you say “What we need is an airline who will have ticket and baggage interline agreements with one or more international carriers.”. Certainly possible, but would add 10-15% on to the cost of the Antigua – Montserrat flight, standard industry figure for interline agreement. And why would BA / Virgin enter into such an agreement with a good chance of having to pay for a hotel for their late arriving onward passengers ? Of course night flights (or after sunset) into Montserrat would entail costs too: staff overtime at Montserrat airport, and two pilots instead of one for the Islanders that both airlines use (statutory requirement).

David Goodhall says:

Short memory Gloria, Winair was awful with delays, cancellations and lost bags. What we have now is much, much better being reliable and Montserrat based. If the Travel Industry Consultant is right then FlyMontserrat, our own airline, will have GDS soon and that’s brilliant. I agree we need to be able to book with travel Agents from anywhere in the world. My sources say that Winair where heavily subsidized with seat guarantees, I thought that was common knowledge. I don’t know if the existing airline is though. To discribe St. Barths and Montserrat as dangerous is wrong, they jus difficult. bring on the night arrivals please.

Gloria says:

Hi David
I mentioned all the difficulties and complaints. They were not forgotten.
Also suggested that you research dangerous airports of the world. These decisions come from pilots who fly to them(not from me)John A Osborne/Geralds
could be thought by the layman as “dangerous” because of the several mishaps which have occurred there recently, though not listed in the ten most dangerous airports.
Even W.H. Bramble had no scheduled night flights (emergency only).
Lets continue to hope.

HHH says:

Been trying to get through-flights for a long, long time, no-go. As stated above BA and Virgin don’t want to pay for people to overnight if even slight delay. When we travel to Montserrat next time we have to stay overnight in ANU, Virgin now doesn’t depart it’s flight from LGW until 11.30am. Some flights 10.10am, still too late for Fly Montserrat connection. Some friends who are coming out to stay in Montserrat went to their travel agent, and yes you’ve guessed it – “there are no flights, only a ferry”. Needless to say, I booked their flights directly for them from Fly Montserrat website (I have to say in praise their website has improved vastly). Early evening flights might help save this exasperating problem of stopovers.fly-montserrat

Gloria says:

Hi HHH
What a nuisance. Your friends I am sure would have found it easier to get all their tickets from an airline or their travel agent.
There are still so many potential tourists who prefer to have an airline or travel agent do their ticketing for them. Many pick up a brochure and take it to an airline office to get schedules and fares prior to deciding to visit.

HHH says:

Hi Gloria, you say my friends would have found it easier to get all their tickets from airline or travel agents. They did go to their travel agents! The travel agents could have booked their flight to ANU but could find no trace of any flights onward to Montserrat; they told them there was only a ferry. That is why I went online and booked all their flights for them. As Virgin now leaves later (not sure about BA) they have to overnight in Antigua. The only people who are gaining from this are the Antiguans.

Gloria says:

Hi HHH
My argument is that if we had an airline Antigua to Montserrat who was in a Global Distribution Service (GDS) virtually any airline or travel agent anywhere in the world would be able to not only book to Montserrat but issue tickets as well. Fly Montserrat is not in a GDS hence the problem. Winair is in a GDS and that is why you could book and purchase tickets from virtually anywhere in the world to Saba or St. Barts. Winair provides their air services. The object of my article is to either get Winair to provide our services or have one of our present providers to get into a GDS. You might wish to read my article again. We did not have this problem when Winair was our airline. There are very few airlines who do not have GDS capabilities.

Welsh Pond says:

Well done, Gloria, for spotlighting such an important issue.

There are many facets to your views, and FlyMontserrat would like to expand on a few of them.

Guidance or instructions on the use of an airport have to be under constant review and changes are made in the light of consultation between airport regulators, government, management and airlines. The “instructions” have changed considerably in the years since the airport was first built, and will continue to change.

The debate on what needs to be done to the airport to make it safer is ongoing, and UK Regulators have made recommendations, some of which have already been implemented. The John A. Osborne Airport is not dangerous, but it is challenging, and has its limitations. FlyMontserrat would welcome the opportunity to provide night flights on island, if and when approval is granted.

Many airlines that have operated from Montserrat have come and gone, usually because the route is uneconomic. Fares (or fares plus subsidy) are typically not sufficiently high to cover their costs. Airlines cannot continue to service routes when they cannot cover their costs. Winair pulled out in 2011 because, even with the subsidy, it could not make a profit on the route.

GDS (Global Distribution System) is an important aspect of an access policy as it is the platform used by travel agents all over the world to make bookings. If visitors are to be enticed to visit Montserrat, every reasonable means should be made to do so, assuming the results are commensurate with the costs. Participation in GDS is certainly a ready-made, on-line system that could be employed and should be implemented as rapidly as practicable to aid the Sustainable Development Plan. FlyMontserrat has certainly led the way by opening the dialogue with the Government of Montserrat, and the Government has been very receptive to it’s ideas.

For several years FlyMontserrat has had its schedules listed in OAG (which feeds information into the GDS) so flights have been visible even if they could not be booked directly by an agent. Montserrat could be benefitting from the exposure of full GDS participation within eight weeks with airline participation in Sabre (for the US market), Amadeus (for Europe) and Galileo.

There are drawbacks as well as benefits to GDS. It is not the only way to make bookings, and the number of travel agents using GDS has fallen by 23% in the last 12 years as the number of people booking direct with the airlines has increased. It also has a significant set up cost and ongoing charges that will increase the cost of a ticket to passengers booked through the GDS.

The idea, however, that GDS helps the market increase just by being easily visible to travel agents is somewhat misleading. It works if people are looking for a flight to a destination. The misperception might arise from the counterargument that people do not look for a flight just because it exists. Typically, booking a reservation is preceded by a rationale for visiting the place; there must be a reason for wanting to visit. This point was made in the updated Sustainable Development Plan and key to this is the Government and Tourist Board working to set the stage and provide those reasons. Without good reasons to visit there will be no increase in arrivals.

The Sustainable Development Plan’s goal of providing sufficient access has already been achieved. There is an oversupply of seats to Montserrat. The passenger load factors – used to measure utilization – on the ferry and on the airlines are way below sustainable. FlyMontserrat schedules three to four of the five to six flights coming in every day, and the ferry visits six times a week – all with too many empty seats. FlyMontserrat alone could bring in 200 passengers a day with its existing fleet. This is at a time when total arrival statistics for January to June this year are running at an average of about 37 passenger arrivals a day – just over 1000 a month – for ferry and airlines combined.

The bit that is missing in this supply is getting it to be “sustainable”. To be sustainable it has to survive which means its ticket price has to cover its cost. This can be covered by the passenger or a combination of passenger and subsidy. But if the subsidy does not pick up the difference between what the passenger pays and the cost, it is not sustainable. This shortfall is the reason Winair pulled out.

So the problem is not currently one of supply (other than making it sustainable) but of demand. This problem with lack of demand was recognized in the Sustainable Development Plan noting that Montserrat’s economy is ‘demand deficient’ and without sustainable access by air and sea its development will stagnate. Sustainability is key to going forward; it’s also the most difficult aspect of the access strategy.

This was also highlighted in the Access Coordinator’s ‘Access Strategy Report’ of June 2011 in which Vincent Hippolyte said demand development which “focuses on generating and sustaining high levels of actual demand is critical and urgent”.

WINAIR-&-F;yMNI-(11)Mr. Hippolyte also said that the reduction in subsidies must be linked to a plan that increased demand. Unfortunately in 2011-12, air subsidies were reduced, but there was no extra demand to pick up the shortfall. Mr. Hippolyte was absolutely right. Tackling lack of demand has to be a priority. Supply follows demand and at such time as the number of visitors increases, so will supply.

Actions of other Governments also impact Montserrat’s visitor numbers. Antigua’s new Airport Administration Charge of US$75 on a day trip to Montserrat implemented in November 2012 killed this market overnight. The Antiguan government should be lobbied to exempt Montserrat from this tax; particularly for day trips.

In many countries there is what is called the ‘golden triangle’ to make access to a destination work. The three participants being the Tourist Board, the Airport Authority and the Airline, or service provider,  working in partnership. The Tourist Board provides the demand – the passengers, the airport provides incentives and services that make it easy for passengers to get through the gateway, and the service provider tailors the transport to the demand. With advance notice of peaks in demand the airlines can respond accordingly to facilitate seamless and increasing travel demand. The solution for balancing demand with passenger seating capacity is a work in progress, although seating is currently in generous supply.

FlyMontserrat very much wants to be part of the solution in making Montserrat a viable destination and looks forward to helping the island develop sustainably.

Travel Industry Consultant says:

I’m not sure why subsidies are seen as a bad thing by UK’s Dfid and they aim to abolish them. They could be seen as an investment. See the Bermuda (a thriving island) situation http://bermuda-online.org/airlines.htm where Former Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert says subsidies are “just part of the cost of doing business. What we have in place is a minimum revenue guarantee, which kicks in when the airlines don’t make that certain particular load.”
“In February 2013 it was announced that with air passenger numbers flagging, the Bermuda Government had to pay out millions to airline companies to cover the cost of North American routes in 2011 and 2012. Canadian airline WestJet alone received more than $3.6 million in three separate payments made between August 2011 and June 2012. In February 2012, American Airlines was given $361,536 to cover a revenue shortfall for the fiscal year ending November, 2011. “

Gloria says:

Hi Welsh
With the funds that are spent on brochures for the Montserrat market and the scores of potential tourists in the world today, a good brochure will create interest which will be dampened if it appears even difficult for an airline or travel agent to tell them how to get here. With so many countries now riddled with political turmoil we are missing our opportunities. An airline like Winair flying to Montserrat even one day a week would give us the necessary exposure
with their GDS capability. No international carrier knows how to get here. Refer to HHH above. Only those people with contacts in Montserrat know how to get here. Fly Montserrat need ticketing and baggage agreements with a few airlines. Too many are still inclined to put all the blame on our airport.

David Goodhall says:

GDS comes at a cost. Somewhere between US$20 –25 per booking. On a long sector like New York to Antigua the percentage is small, but on the Antigua to Montserrat sector it could be as high as 25%. That is why the large airlines are moving off GDS to direct sales. BA says that 68% of its bookings come direct via its website, low cost carriers get over 90% of their bookings from their site. GDS is great for marketing Montserrat but the cost will be high. I also checked my old reservations to Bramble and can confirm that both LIAT and MONTSERRAT AIRWAYS scheduled flights at night during the winter months. That facility would solve the Antigua overnight issue that as someone has pointed out will be more common this year due to later arrivals of intercontinental flights into Antigua. Interline agreements are fraught with problems and most airlines are discontinuing them due to their cost. Even if interline agreements were possible (unlikely) the ticket price would have to rise to cover that cost. Travel Industry Consultant is right when he say that no airline is going to pay the hotel costs as a result of late arrivals. Government subsidies are normal for isolated communities all over the world. We should also listen to Welsh Pond when he spells out that on Montserrat supply of seats currently exceeds demand.

Gloria says:

Hello David
Can you substantiate your figures? (Except for the low cost carriers). I imagine that those with a vested interest in one of our existing airlines would be negative and use figures to support their argument. And use sweeping statements that “no airline is going to pay hotel costs as a result of late arrivals” Winair has interline agreements with BA, Virgin, DL and several other airlines. Thanks for allowing that GDS is great for marketing Montserrat, that and interline agreements (TPEs) was the object of this discussion. Have you ascertained approximate increased costs to Montserrat Airways for these conveniences to Montserrat’s travelling public? It (interline agreements) might be less than the Antigua tax. There could be other areas where it is a little more difficult, i.e. clearing house etc. But if Montserrat Airways really plan to be Montserrat’s airline and grow with us certain issues associated with airlines will have to be addressed.

Obviously we need to create more demand and with the (hopefully) increased and professional efforts of the tourist board and an airline with all the requirements, we will soon have more demand.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Feedback :

The article captioned here invoked much discussion online. We present in its entirety for our readers, the comments that went back and forth on the topic, which is one of great interest, brings much to the attention of all concerned.

14 Exchanges to Our airport, landing strip and our air services

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Travel Industry Consultant says:

Interesting article, and well presented. I have visited Montserrat a couple of times, and have been surprised, as you point out, that it is not a GDS destination. Checking with aviation industry colleagues, I understand that FlyMontserrat has made initial approaches to join one of the GDS networks, and should be joined within a few weeks. No word of ABM taking similar steps.
On a related subject, I have enquired informally about through-ticketing from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. My understanding is that with the tight window between Antigua arrival and departure, neither airline is keen to pay for overnight accommodation in Antigua should their flights be even slightly late arriving, which is often the case. This situation could be avoided if Montserrat airport could remain open after sunset to receive British and other European visitors the same day they depart London. I understand that the airport is equipped for night-flights, but these have so far have never been implemented for some reason.

Gloria says:

winair

Passengers leaving `WINAIR twin otter aircraft – January 2010

Hi Travel Industry Consultant
A tight window for connection should not be allowed to hamper
our development. Connections have been tight since the 1970′s in the days of Liat/BA connections. A delayed international flight is the exception not the rule.
What we need is an airline who will have ticket and baggage interline agreements with one or more international carriers.
It would negate the Antigua taxes. WINAIR has this, no reason why
Fly Montserrat does not. Even W.H. Bramble airport did not have
scheduled night flights.

Travel Industry Consultant says:

Gloria – you say “A delayed international flight is the exception not the rule.” London to Antigua I’m afraid is a very poorly performed route. British Airways make only 50% on time, Virgin a little better, but they have also recently changed to a later departure, making an onward same-day daylight connection to Montserrat even harder. For stats see http://mobile.flightstats.com/go/FlightRating/flightRatingByRoute.do?departureAirportCode=LGW&arrivalAirportCode=ANU&groupByCarrier=false
And you say “What we need is an airline who will have ticket and baggage interline agreements with one or more international carriers.”. Certainly possible, but would add 10-15% on to the cost of the Antigua – Montserrat flight, standard industry figure for interline agreement. And why would BA / Virgin enter into such an agreement with a good chance of having to pay for a hotel for their late arriving onward passengers ? Of course night flights (or after sunset) into Montserrat would entail costs too: staff overtime at Montserrat airport, and two pilots instead of one for the Islanders that both airlines use (statutory requirement).

David Goodhall says:

Short memory Gloria, Winair was awful with delays, cancellations and lost bags. What we have now is much, much better being reliable and Montserrat based. If the Travel Industry Consultant is right then FlyMontserrat, our own airline, will have GDS soon and that’s brilliant. I agree we need to be able to book with travel Agents from anywhere in the world. My sources say that Winair where heavily subsidized with seat guarantees, I thought that was common knowledge. I don’t know if the existing airline is though. To discribe St. Barths and Montserrat as dangerous is wrong, they jus difficult. bring on the night arrivals please.

Gloria says:

Hi David
I mentioned all the difficulties and complaints. They were not forgotten.
Also suggested that you research dangerous airports of the world. These decisions come from pilots who fly to them(not from me)John A Osborne/Geralds
could be thought by the layman as “dangerous” because of the several mishaps which have occurred there recently, though not listed in the ten most dangerous airports.
Even W.H. Bramble had no scheduled night flights (emergency only).
Lets continue to hope.

HHH says:

Been trying to get through-flights for a long, long time, no-go. As stated above BA and Virgin don’t want to pay for people to overnight if even slight delay. When we travel to Montserrat next time we have to stay overnight in ANU, Virgin now doesn’t depart it’s flight from LGW until 11.30am. Some flights 10.10am, still too late for Fly Montserrat connection. Some friends who are coming out to stay in Montserrat went to their travel agent, and yes you’ve guessed it – “there are no flights, only a ferry”. Needless to say, I booked their flights directly for them from Fly Montserrat website (I have to say in praise their website has improved vastly). Early evening flights might help save this exasperating problem of stopovers.fly-montserrat

Gloria says:

Hi HHH
What a nuisance. Your friends I am sure would have found it easier to get all their tickets from an airline or their travel agent.
There are still so many potential tourists who prefer to have an airline or travel agent do their ticketing for them. Many pick up a brochure and take it to an airline office to get schedules and fares prior to deciding to visit.

HHH says:

Hi Gloria, you say my friends would have found it easier to get all their tickets from airline or travel agents. They did go to their travel agents! The travel agents could have booked their flight to ANU but could find no trace of any flights onward to Montserrat; they told them there was only a ferry. That is why I went online and booked all their flights for them. As Virgin now leaves later (not sure about BA) they have to overnight in Antigua. The only people who are gaining from this are the Antiguans.

Gloria says:

Hi HHH
My argument is that if we had an airline Antigua to Montserrat who was in a Global Distribution Service (GDS) virtually any airline or travel agent anywhere in the world would be able to not only book to Montserrat but issue tickets as well. Fly Montserrat is not in a GDS hence the problem. Winair is in a GDS and that is why you could book and purchase tickets from virtually anywhere in the world to Saba or St. Barts. Winair provides their air services. The object of my article is to either get Winair to provide our services or have one of our present providers to get into a GDS. You might wish to read my article again. We did not have this problem when Winair was our airline. There are very few airlines who do not have GDS capabilities.

Welsh Pond says:

Well done, Gloria, for spotlighting such an important issue.

There are many facets to your views, and FlyMontserrat would like to expand on a few of them.

Guidance or instructions on the use of an airport have to be under constant review and changes are made in the light of consultation between airport regulators, government, management and airlines. The “instructions” have changed considerably in the years since the airport was first built, and will continue to change.

The debate on what needs to be done to the airport to make it safer is ongoing, and UK Regulators have made recommendations, some of which have already been implemented. The John A. Osborne Airport is not dangerous, but it is challenging, and has its limitations. FlyMontserrat would welcome the opportunity to provide night flights on island, if and when approval is granted.

Many airlines that have operated from Montserrat have come and gone, usually because the route is uneconomic. Fares (or fares plus subsidy) are typically not sufficiently high to cover their costs. Airlines cannot continue to service routes when they cannot cover their costs. Winair pulled out in 2011 because, even with the subsidy, it could not make a profit on the route.

GDS (Global Distribution System) is an important aspect of an access policy as it is the platform used by travel agents all over the world to make bookings. If visitors are to be enticed to visit Montserrat, every reasonable means should be made to do so, assuming the results are commensurate with the costs. Participation in GDS is certainly a ready-made, on-line system that could be employed and should be implemented as rapidly as practicable to aid the Sustainable Development Plan. FlyMontserrat has certainly led the way by opening the dialogue with the Government of Montserrat, and the Government has been very receptive to it’s ideas.

For several years FlyMontserrat has had its schedules listed in OAG (which feeds information into the GDS) so flights have been visible even if they could not be booked directly by an agent. Montserrat could be benefitting from the exposure of full GDS participation within eight weeks with airline participation in Sabre (for the US market), Amadeus (for Europe) and Galileo.

There are drawbacks as well as benefits to GDS. It is not the only way to make bookings, and the number of travel agents using GDS has fallen by 23% in the last 12 years as the number of people booking direct with the airlines has increased. It also has a significant set up cost and ongoing charges that will increase the cost of a ticket to passengers booked through the GDS.

The idea, however, that GDS helps the market increase just by being easily visible to travel agents is somewhat misleading. It works if people are looking for a flight to a destination. The misperception might arise from the counterargument that people do not look for a flight just because it exists. Typically, booking a reservation is preceded by a rationale for visiting the place; there must be a reason for wanting to visit. This point was made in the updated Sustainable Development Plan and key to this is the Government and Tourist Board working to set the stage and provide those reasons. Without good reasons to visit there will be no increase in arrivals.

The Sustainable Development Plan’s goal of providing sufficient access has already been achieved. There is an oversupply of seats to Montserrat. The passenger load factors – used to measure utilization – on the ferry and on the airlines are way below sustainable. FlyMontserrat schedules three to four of the five to six flights coming in every day, and the ferry visits six times a week – all with too many empty seats. FlyMontserrat alone could bring in 200 passengers a day with its existing fleet. This is at a time when total arrival statistics for January to June this year are running at an average of about 37 passenger arrivals a day – just over 1000 a month – for ferry and airlines combined.

The bit that is missing in this supply is getting it to be “sustainable”. To be sustainable it has to survive which means its ticket price has to cover its cost. This can be covered by the passenger or a combination of passenger and subsidy. But if the subsidy does not pick up the difference between what the passenger pays and the cost, it is not sustainable. This shortfall is the reason Winair pulled out.

So the problem is not currently one of supply (other than making it sustainable) but of demand. This problem with lack of demand was recognized in the Sustainable Development Plan noting that Montserrat’s economy is ‘demand deficient’ and without sustainable access by air and sea its development will stagnate. Sustainability is key to going forward; it’s also the most difficult aspect of the access strategy.

This was also highlighted in the Access Coordinator’s ‘Access Strategy Report’ of June 2011 in which Vincent Hippolyte said demand development which “focuses on generating and sustaining high levels of actual demand is critical and urgent”.

WINAIR-&-F;yMNI-(11)Mr. Hippolyte also said that the reduction in subsidies must be linked to a plan that increased demand. Unfortunately in 2011-12, air subsidies were reduced, but there was no extra demand to pick up the shortfall. Mr. Hippolyte was absolutely right. Tackling lack of demand has to be a priority. Supply follows demand and at such time as the number of visitors increases, so will supply.

Actions of other Governments also impact Montserrat’s visitor numbers. Antigua’s new Airport Administration Charge of US$75 on a day trip to Montserrat implemented in November 2012 killed this market overnight. The Antiguan government should be lobbied to exempt Montserrat from this tax; particularly for day trips.

In many countries there is what is called the ‘golden triangle’ to make access to a destination work. The three participants being the Tourist Board, the Airport Authority and the Airline, or service provider,  working in partnership. The Tourist Board provides the demand – the passengers, the airport provides incentives and services that make it easy for passengers to get through the gateway, and the service provider tailors the transport to the demand. With advance notice of peaks in demand the airlines can respond accordingly to facilitate seamless and increasing travel demand. The solution for balancing demand with passenger seating capacity is a work in progress, although seating is currently in generous supply.

FlyMontserrat very much wants to be part of the solution in making Montserrat a viable destination and looks forward to helping the island develop sustainably.

Travel Industry Consultant says:

I’m not sure why subsidies are seen as a bad thing by UK’s Dfid and they aim to abolish them. They could be seen as an investment. See the Bermuda (a thriving island) situation http://bermuda-online.org/airlines.htm where Former Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert says subsidies are “just part of the cost of doing business. What we have in place is a minimum revenue guarantee, which kicks in when the airlines don’t make that certain particular load.”
“In February 2013 it was announced that with air passenger numbers flagging, the Bermuda Government had to pay out millions to airline companies to cover the cost of North American routes in 2011 and 2012. Canadian airline WestJet alone received more than $3.6 million in three separate payments made between August 2011 and June 2012. In February 2012, American Airlines was given $361,536 to cover a revenue shortfall for the fiscal year ending November, 2011. “

Gloria says:

Hi Welsh
With the funds that are spent on brochures for the Montserrat market and the scores of potential tourists in the world today, a good brochure will create interest which will be dampened if it appears even difficult for an airline or travel agent to tell them how to get here. With so many countries now riddled with political turmoil we are missing our opportunities. An airline like Winair flying to Montserrat even one day a week would give us the necessary exposure
with their GDS capability. No international carrier knows how to get here. Refer to HHH above. Only those people with contacts in Montserrat know how to get here. Fly Montserrat need ticketing and baggage agreements with a few airlines. Too many are still inclined to put all the blame on our airport.

David Goodhall says:

GDS comes at a cost. Somewhere between US$20 –25 per booking. On a long sector like New York to Antigua the percentage is small, but on the Antigua to Montserrat sector it could be as high as 25%. That is why the large airlines are moving off GDS to direct sales. BA says that 68% of its bookings come direct via its website, low cost carriers get over 90% of their bookings from their site. GDS is great for marketing Montserrat but the cost will be high. I also checked my old reservations to Bramble and can confirm that both LIAT and MONTSERRAT AIRWAYS scheduled flights at night during the winter months. That facility would solve the Antigua overnight issue that as someone has pointed out will be more common this year due to later arrivals of intercontinental flights into Antigua. Interline agreements are fraught with problems and most airlines are discontinuing them due to their cost. Even if interline agreements were possible (unlikely) the ticket price would have to rise to cover that cost. Travel Industry Consultant is right when he say that no airline is going to pay the hotel costs as a result of late arrivals. Government subsidies are normal for isolated communities all over the world. We should also listen to Welsh Pond when he spells out that on Montserrat supply of seats currently exceeds demand.

Gloria says:

Hello David
Can you substantiate your figures? (Except for the low cost carriers). I imagine that those with a vested interest in one of our existing airlines would be negative and use figures to support their argument. And use sweeping statements that “no airline is going to pay hotel costs as a result of late arrivals” Winair has interline agreements with BA, Virgin, DL and several other airlines. Thanks for allowing that GDS is great for marketing Montserrat, that and interline agreements (TPEs) was the object of this discussion. Have you ascertained approximate increased costs to Montserrat Airways for these conveniences to Montserrat’s travelling public? It (interline agreements) might be less than the Antigua tax. There could be other areas where it is a little more difficult, i.e. clearing house etc. But if Montserrat Airways really plan to be Montserrat’s airline and grow with us certain issues associated with airlines will have to be addressed.

Obviously we need to create more demand and with the (hopefully) increased and professional efforts of the tourist board and an airline with all the requirements, we will soon have more demand.