Why Dominica needs a national airline

We have worked long and hard on this “Air Dominica” idea.  We have been studying the air access to Dominica for years and have reached to the conclusion that “Air Dominica” is the solution. Why? Below are some replies.

– No need to blame LIAT or any other existing Caribbean carrier. They struggle with their own problems, they do what they can to organize their timetables and they are organizing these timetables based on their own needs, not those of the Dominican traveler. This will always be like that.

– Aviation industry worldwide is based on hubs. Large routes fly to hubs, then smaller routes are connected with smaller aircraft from the hubs. Atlanta is a hub, Dallas is a hub, San Juan is a hub.

Dominica is lucky enough to be located within 200 Nautical Miles of seven large International airports where some Governments are already subsidizing airlines : These “hubs” already enjoy direct air service to more than 20 international destinations worldwide, and are less than one hour flight away from Dominica.

You must know that in order to attract a so-called international airline to your airport, you must guarantee paid seats. If not sold, the seats must be paid by the government to the airline! Can you imagine the cost ? This already happens today in St Kitts, in St Lucia and in Grenada.

This is why we certainly DO NOT think an “international airport” would be the solution for Dominica. The country could not even afford to pay for the annual maintenance, and this would only link the island to one or two international destinations.

– A “national airline” operated by professional Dominicans as a private company with financial support from the government is affordable for the country. It will not be profitable. But when you build a road, you do not expect it to be “profitable” ; it’s part of a nation’s investment. A national airline is Dominica’s international road, linking the island to its neighbors. The annual operating loss is not so high at the level of a country. The business plan exist and makes sense. It will shortly be available online .

– Air Dominica would proudly fly the Dominican flag throughout the Caribbean, would base its timetable from international flights of neighboring hubs, would offer interesting jobs opportunities to Dominican pilots, mechanics, engineers both in Dominica and from the diaspora.

– Why other airlines did not succeed and continue? Very simply because they were private companies looking for profit. There is no profit flying these routes with these type of aircraft. But if you expect the profit, and do not get it, then the investors move away. This is why our project is different. We anticipate the loss and try to finance it upfront. If no financing is available, this project will not exist. If financing is secured from government, international assistance and private sector, then it will work. This is what we are trying to do these days.

All comments are welcome.

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  1. zandoli
    March 29, 2011

    I dont think that a national airline makes any sense. A ninteen seater at that. We have had national airlines in the past and thy all failed. Hoe would you schedule a nineeteen seater to take 150 t0 200 passengers to dominica who arrive at barbados or St.lucia from an in etrnational destination. Last year I travelled to Dominica Via st.Lucia and there were over 100 Dominicans and others on that flight from miami. How would a 19 seater take care of that. We used tha ferry service to get to Dominica. A nineeteen seater aircraft is just not PRACTICAL IF YOU WANT THE CRITICAK MASS TO FILL YOUR HOTEL ROOMS ETC. wHAT ABOUT DIVERS COMING IN WITH EQUIPMENT . HOW WOULD YOU HANDLE THAT TOGATHER WITH OTHER PASSENGERS AND THEIR LUGGAGE. IF WE ARE TO GO THROUGH WITHTHAT SUGGESTION MORE CRITICAL THOUGHT IS NEEDED.

    • Nathaniel Peltier
      March 29, 2011

      Come on man give a better Idea.
      How often do a hundred people come to a hub and then to Dominica. Unless it is a holiday or something like that. HAHAH

    • Truth, Justice, Love, Peace and Unity
      March 30, 2011

      @ zandoli

      In any case, zandolis do not have sense. :twisted:

      Utilize your common sense. You know the size of Dominica’s airport. It is quite simple. If this airline is established, there will obviously be more than one flight a day. Did you ever consider this?

  2. Runkle
    March 29, 2011

    When ppl insist that a “70,000” person nation needs it’s own national airline to reposition itself in the tourism market (a fragile industry, that no country in the world has ever been able to build it’s fortunes on, not even the UAE and Greece) at a time when larger carriers serving larger markets are merging to stay alive, I cannot help but worry.
    Mayb i’m backward and dumb, but how does Jamaica (where I’ve lived), with Jamaicans who travel so much and a tourism industry among the best in the region have to sell out their NATIONAL AIRLINE, and WE still insist that this is the best way to increase Access to our country.
    Might I suggest a partnership with one of the airlines already of service to our great nation, whether it’s buying a minority stake or an MOU to increase flights, after we’ve provided 24hr ACCESS to our country.
    Finally, the idea of running an airline as a pseudo-business social entity is absurd. An airline will burn thru that thin treasury so fast it’ll take our heads clean off. Remember Runkle Seh Suh!!!

    • Beholder
      March 29, 2011

      What Runkie suggests, buying a stake in an existing carrier or by a lease arrangement seems like a much better idea than trying to recreate the wheel.

  3. Woozier
    March 29, 2011

    Befor spending money in this did u guys even bother to do research on the people who would use the service?? Ask the common tourists coming here how would they rate their travel experience. What can be improved and if they favor these suggestions.. I say this from personal experience over and over again. Alot of tourist are detered visiting cause of changing flights. Alot of people do not like taking propler planes at all! Ppl want one direct flight and be done with it. I like your idea but wow. You guys would either make a bigg impression or fail real real bad. How ever if you do go on with it I will support cause I support any positive action that rep Dominica and helps the ppl of the land. Good luck guys!

    • Herve Nizard
      March 29, 2011

      The world is vast. Dominica is a niche market and needs to be easily reachable from anywhere on the planet. You will probably agree we cannot expect direct flights from all major cities to Dominica . However, with such a local airline , we can market Dominica wherever there is a direct flight to one of the caribbean hubs.

  4. Ready 2 fly
    March 28, 2011

    …..Please let me know (via DNO) when you start selling shares…and do act reasonably fast otherwise the idea may be “stolen”. :mrgreen:

    • Herve Nizard
      March 29, 2011

      It is a VERY long term project, commitment and effort. We anticipate a 20 month set up period from financing secured and company launched to first flight !
      I’d love the project to be “stolen” but I doubt it…. It is not mine anyway, I am just here to help. I want to see proper air access to Dominica . That’s all. If it exist, we do not need to organize it ourselves. If it does not, we must do it.

  5. John
    March 28, 2011

    We cannot depend on LIAT, we have to move forward and stop the negative comments. If we put our shoulders to the task ahead we will succeed. I love this idea and want to encourage everyone who is behind this project FULL steam ahead don’t look back. The negative people as usual have nothing to offer cause all they do is hang out and never contribute meaningfully to society so FORGET them. I can remember the days I use to fly in the morning to St.Marteen and fly back home in the evening and also to Barbados. As the guy started all we need is the 19 seat twin otters, I’ve flown on them on numerous occasions they are slow but very reliable. We need at list two, one for SXM and one for BGI.St.Marteen will handle North America and Barbados will handle Europe and also North America and I also say YES WE CAN, lets move forward.

  6. Cultured man
    March 28, 2011

    What is the opportunity cost of such an idea. I ponder on the economic advantage in real terms. Any stats on this Herve?

    A sound proposal for significant consideration nonetheless.

  7. me R
    March 28, 2011

    With this great idea you will need honest and sincere management, `cause Liat `s crew are very, very well paid. :)

  8. Tony Ferroni
    March 28, 2011

    Mr. Nizard,
    I am an American who is considering retirement in Dominica. I read the online news to keep up with things in Dominica. One of my concerns about retiring there is the awkward airline access. I think your concept of Dominican controlled access through the other Carribbean hubs may have some merit. However, I think some of the comments concerning inefficient use of government funds also have merit. Have you considered using some of the existing government entities like the toursim board to coordinate chartered connections from the hub airports? You might reduce the expense of a fixed schedule with pilots and flight attendants by employing a charted style shuttle sevice based in Dominica. Travelers would book space whe available through the tourist board. This could lead to very few empty seats when travelers timetables could be coordinated. Many travelers have the luxury of a day or two flexibility on arrival/departure dates. If this service succeeds, it could be the forerunner to your Dominican air line. If it fails, the investment loss would not be too harmful to the government’s finances.

    • tiny
      March 28, 2011

      please come, we’ll have one in a few years

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Thank you for your contribution.

      Aircrafts available for charter are very scarce in the Caribbean . And those available are generally busy at the arrival time of an international flight .
      In order for such a governmental agency to act like that, it would legally need to be a travel agency.
      We are trying to find a long term solution.

  9. Support
    March 28, 2011

    As long as the people of the country shows their support, Anything is possible. We fail to succeed if we fail to explore.

  10. Herve Nizard
    March 28, 2011

    At least the number of comments shows there is an interest in the idea.
    I will try to reply directly to some comments made herebelow but to give additional details to the general discussion, please note :
    – “We” means so far : The group of people having worked on the project, or those having then “approved” it , or at least those supporting it now.
    – Financing . I agree with some comments that such an operation should be managed as a private entity with the aim of saving each and every dollar and with customer satisfaction in mind.
    – Short term or long term operating loss : If you start a business with financial partners and never reach to any profit, what will happen. Most of them, if not all, will run away from the venture and you will find yourself out of cash to compensate your losses, thus immediately out of business . This is what happened to most of the airlines serving Dominica , whether local or foreign owned.
    This is why it seems essential to us to find a suitable way to finance the expected operational losses on a long term before start, so the company can stay in business…… and may be if properly run and managed, reach break even, or a profit ….

    However when you closely look at the overhead expenses required and the very low aircraft net contribution (with a reasonable air fare and after deduction of all taxes and aircraft operating costs) you realize that profit will be extremely difficult to achieve.

    Both Canefield and Melville Hall are International airports: Meaning you can fly directly from these airports to any international destination.
    Melville Hall can handle larger aircrafts based on the length of its runway, and can now operate at night.

    The 7 large airports, less than 200 NM away from Dominica, we were referring to are :
    – St Maarten
    – St Kitts
    – Antigua
    – Pointe à Pitre
    – Fort de France
    – St Lucia Hewannora
    – Barbados

    These airports, as some comments below mentioned it, do already have International long haul connections to major North American and European destinations.

    I/we perfectly accept criticism or different opinions. We are ready to discuss any points we proposed. I have prepared this file based on my past experience, as a contribution to this wonderful country I now call home . I do sincerely believe Dominica needs such a service and it seems affordable for the country. However, what seems surprising to me is to see so many hotel developments taking place without any increase in the passenger capacity to reach Dominica? How are these hotels going to be filled ? Unfortunately I guess by taking the similar amount of tourists from the existing structures …..

    Finally, and simply : YES WE CAN …..

    Isn’t it worth trying ?

    • Moderate Citizen
      March 28, 2011

      I support you one hundred percent. I am from Scott’s Head and I know how much you have invested in the area. And your project will surely put Dominica on the map. What we need now is the connecting flights to bring in your customers to fullfill your business plan and create the much needed jobs in the area.

      Happy to hear that you have made Dominica your home.

    • Nathaniel Peltier
      March 28, 2011

      Regardless of all the skepticism I am interested in the project. It has a lot of Merit to my mind. And would be interested in contributing after I have seen and heard more.

      We need to start somewhere and I think this is a very good option. Looking forward to seeing the buisness plan and hope I am able to contribute positively to the project, when the time is right.

      • Herve Nizard
        March 28, 2011

        Thank you very much.
        As soon as possible, there will be a blog available online so you can follow what happens, contribute to it, and send your contact details.
        All good will are welcome.

        • Bragz
          March 29, 2011

          Please do make the blog’s URL available thr DNO!

        • Nathaniel Peltier
          March 29, 2011

          Looking foreward to that,

  11. Channel 1
    March 28, 2011

    I trust that if any government decides to set up a national airline, they would seek to acquire one or two aircraft at least of the Dash-8 size (similar to LIAT’s fleet) in order to make a meaningful impact on passenger transport. It would be a shame in this day and age to have a national airline made up of a fleet of little ‘toy’ planes each capable of transporting only 4 – 6 passengers.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      We based our study on 19 Seater aircrafts . We think it is the correct size for Dominican market and flown routes. They are cheaper to operate, easier to find pilots and more affordable when not full!

    • Dunce
      March 28, 2011

      Dominica cannot afford anything better than that! We were made to be LAST in everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…………………and our leaders have no quams with that!!!

      • Cerberus
        March 28, 2011

        My friend, there are solid economic reasons for this. For a start a 19 seater does not require a mandatory flight attendant, removing one cost factor for a start.

  12. Be2
    March 28, 2011

    Get real. Look at what happened to Venezuelas national airline’s. They aren’t allowed in the U.S. anymore. In this economy, starting an airline would be a bottomless money pit and where do you think the money would be coming from? All this govt. does is borrow money to no end.
    This is pie in the sky thinking.

    We need a national boat service, not an airline. Ferry jumping. With more than one port in which to disembark on an island. Here it would be Portsmouth and Roseau. 2 stops per island would be good. It is also more economical. A weekly run from DA and a few other island stops into Florida would be a good idea also. Think of it as a mini cruise.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      I do my best to stay real. And I agree with you a good and reliable ferry service would be a very interesting tool for development too. Different markets . So far, I have only worked on the airline file !

      • me R
        March 28, 2011

        Herve Nizard , very well said. Also, both markets would be a giant step and great achievement for us Dominicans leaving in the caribbean. I am ready to come back home and needs a dominican vessel to transport my cargo back home.

    • Cerberus
      March 28, 2011

      Ferry service is fine but that does not help me if I want to make a business trip to the U.S.A. or even Barbados. In an efficient scheme of things it should be possible for one to get to Barbados, or even St. Lucia in the morning, conduct one’s business and return to Dominica that very same day as is commonplace in N. America and Europe.

      • Be2
        March 28, 2011

        Then you are stuck with LIAT if you want to make it in 1 day. American takes 2 days.

      • Be2
        March 28, 2011

        A ferry or cruiser could also make it in 2 days if it left early in the morning from DA headed to Florida.

  13. Moderate Citizen
    March 28, 2011

    Please note that Anguilla is doing very well without an International Airport. I support National Airline fully. Government just have to ensure that It put a competent Management Structure in place to manage the company.
    One of the connecting hubs could be Barbados. For example during my frequent travel in the caribbean usually I am intransit in Barbados on a Saturday or on a Sunday from 11:00am to connect to Liat Flight 364 at 2.05pm. During that time period 2 Air Canada flights, 2 American Filghts, 2 Caribbean Airlines Flights, 1 Jetblue Flight, 1 British Airways, 1 Virgin, and 1 Thomas Cook Flights would land in Barbados. Now passengers arriving on these flights to Dominica will not be able to connect to the LIAT 2:05pm 364 Flight unless Liat change its schedule. Therefore a national airline leaving Barbados at 6:00pm can connect all the passengers to Dominica from these international flights.

    • Cerberus
      March 28, 2011

      Amen! Barbados is a fantastic hub but without appropriate feeder flights it is of little use to us in Dominica. Sooooo….frustrating!

  14. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    March 28, 2011

    To be honest with you, ‘ Papa Nizard idea is a bad one;’ anybody calling for a National Airline, to fly only within the Caribbean, without any International Flights, cannot be serious!

    The mentality of such persons seem warped, that is a very bad idea, and nothing more than wishful thinking, I would hope that someone is not trying to influence that the government to get into that sort of crap, because the idea seems to be a calculated one suggested by a few who has something to gain, and nothing to loose!

    That is Walsh’s idea, however; his idea is that Dominica needs National Airline, which definitely is not going to have any 747’s in the fleet.

    So, I ask this simple question, what is the purpose of an National Airline, it it will be limited to fly only to the destinations as stated by Walsh?

    The fact is someone stated that there are lots of unemployed pilots in Dominica, and I suspect the push for this already failed, national airline before it becomes into existence, is the brain child of those who wants to create employment for themselves, at the expense of the State.

    The reason there are so many unemployed pilots in Dominica, is because these so called pilots are only capable of doing visual flights only, if you put these Dominica top gun pilots into a cockpit to fly by instrumentation only they can’t function, they will not know how to begin.

    One can go to a flying school in Miami; to a crop duster training school, and in less than six months obtain a license to fly, however, that does not mean even LIAT is going to employ that one who calls himself pilot!

    There are no shortage of jobs for properly trained and qualified pilots: right now there are enough jobs in Alaska to employ every unemployed Dominica pilot, the problem is they will be contained to fly, bush flights in Alaska only: reasons, are they would be required to fly without instrumentation which to me is what they are trained to do.

    In Alaska, however, you have to be able to fly in heavy snow, and through some of the most worst weather on the planet. In any event this national airline idea, without international flights, is a bad idea, and we should be asking what has become of all the Dominica national airlines which has come before, and have all disappeared into oblivion!

    The last one to go under was the one created by the Ferreira, brothers, one of them a pilot himself, we will remember after one of their Aircraft’s piloted by the African, crashed in the mountains of Wesley, that brought an end to the last Dominica National Airline.

    Self interest is the concern here, and not Dominica, what is needed in Dominica, is an International Airport, that will solve the problem of people wanting to visit Dominica, and can’t get unto an international flight anywhere in Europe, the continental United States, and Canada, and fly direct to Dominica.

    That is our problem!

    Again I say we can invent ten million Dominica National Airline, without an International Airport, our situation will remain the very same.

    Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • warma
      March 28, 2011

      LOL…where do I even begin? Should I even bother?

      Francisco, for all the years I know about you, from the days you use to post on cakafete.com way back when, you talked crap then, you still talking crap now. You still haven’t learned anything? I hate to have to post a rebuttal like this, but when one reads what you write, they’re essentially taking a huge risk with their intelligence. After reading your post, one gets exhausted and flabbergasted – where and how does one even begin to respond? Let’s see how many people take up that challenge because having a cogent discussion with you is more hazardous than climbing Mt Everest; to say one will suffer from frost bite on the brain would be an understatement.

      Dominica had a national carrier? really? Do you even know what the word “national” means?

      Alaska? You lump Dominica with Alaska? Flying in snow? All I can say is – wow!

      LOL – I can’t even continue dissecting your idiotic comments….I just scrolled up and I got exhausted again. Nothing you said makes sense – it is all incoherent. There is no flow to your argument, you’re all over the place…am not even going to waste my time anymore.

      • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
        March 28, 2011

        If you knew how to read, you would understand why I brought Alaska into the equation, so I do not even know why I am dignifying your crap with a response.

        And by the way do not pretend that you know me because you do not!

        You perhaps here my name, but I have never seen your name written anywhere: However, since you mentioned Cakafete, I must also remind you that even in Cakafete days, I insisted on an International Airport, and my views and position on this subject is firm.

        And if I you think I spoke crap for all of these years, why has the Chines two or three years ago told our government, the only way Dominica will begin to make some progress, is when we build an International Airport?

        That is documented, and it was reported in the News on DBS Radio, of which I have a recording of the news cast.

        It was news aired twice, and someone in the government call the person who read the news and ask them ” who are you working for; the opposition or the government, ” and that was the end of that news, so if I am wrong, the Chines government is also wrong, you a nobody, with no name is correct.

        You are smarter than everybody else.

        You do not know me whoever you are, and I surely have no intention of finding out who you are, because I do not waste my intellectual skills, and abilities on people I perceive to be less intelligent than I am!

        All of mines are intellectual, read the over, and over, perhaps your shallow mind will expand a bit!

        My name is:

        Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

    • Cerberus
      March 28, 2011

      Correction, the last one was “Sisserou Airways” in 2008 I(Erwin Ferreira I believe), using a leased Jetstream. Don’t know how long it lasted but it definitely has disappeared from the horizon.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Well, I like it : “Papa Nizard” ! Why not ?
      Now, about what you mention:

      QUOTE: So, I ask this simple question, what is the purpose of an National Airline, it it will be limited to fly only to the destinations as stated by Walsh?”UNQUOTE

      The purpose of this Air Dominica project is simply to connect Dominica too the existing airline hubs in the region . These would be short flights hence not too expensive to connect with airliners serving major North American and European cities.

      QUOTE: The fact is someone stated that there are lots of unemployed pilots in Dominica, and I suspect the push for this already failed, national airline before it becomes into existence, is the brain child of those who wants to create employment for themselves, at the expense of the State.

      The reason there are so many unemployed pilots in Dominica, is because these so called pilots are only capable of doing visual flights only, if you put these Dominica top gun pilots into a cockpit to fly by instrumentation only they can’t function, they will not know how to begin. UNQUOTE

      I do not know if there are a lot of Dominican pilots unemployed . I know however that there are a lot of Dominican pilots flying for existing airlines in the Caribbean, in the US, in Europe, even in Africa . And when I speak to some of them, they seem to be very much willing to come back home to fly for a Dominican airline .

      Your statement of visual flight rules Vs Instrument flight rules is irrelevant. There might be some Dominicans with only VFR capability but they are not the ones we were referring to when mentioning them as Air Dominica pilots. Obviously Air Dominica pilots will have to be IFR proficient and current !

      QUOTE : Self interest is the concern here, and not Dominica, what is needed in Dominica, is an International Airport, that will solve the problem of people wanting to visit Dominica, and can’t get unto an international flight anywhere in Europe, the continental United States, and Canada, and fly direct to Dominica. UNQUOTE

      I HAD A DREAM . Let’s imagine Dominica has built a large so called “International Airport” with a 10 or 14.000 feet runway . It is there . Do you seriously think that all large carriers (American Airlines, British Airways, Air France, Virgin Atlantic, Continental ….. Just name them…) will immediately call the airport to apply for landing rights ? Do you think you will see all these large JETS circling around Dominica waiting to land ???
      This will not happen . What will happen is that now the airport is there and Dominica has to maintain it, someone from Dominica will have to call them to beg them to include Dominica in their timetable, and to guarantee them they will have enough seats sold to make profit ; Which means paying them all the unsold seats for flights to the US or Europe .
      Let’s go to the end of this scenario.
      How many flights a week do you want ? 1 to New York, 1 to Miami , 1 to London : Enough ?
      Ok you have 3 flights a week with a transatlantic airliner (Let’s say a Airbus A330 / 300 passengers capacity ) filled at 50% with average ticket price at 600 US$ R/T .
      If you have to pay only for 20 % “missing” passengers to break even, that means :
      (300 Pax x 3 flights a week ) = 900 Pax
      20 % of 900 pax is 180 Pax missing per week .
      180 Tickets at 500 US$ = 90.000 US$ to be paid to these airlines EVERY WEEK . That is more than 4 Million US$ per year ! Is this the type of risk you would like the Commonwealth of Dominica to take ? Only to serve 3 destinations ?
      Our project is different indeed . I am ready to bet the annual loss of an Air Dominica airline properly managed would be far less than simply maintaining a so called 12.000 Feet International airport.

      By the way .. We might not agree but we can still discuss without using bad words can’t we ?

      • Cerberus
        March 28, 2011

        Papa Nizard, I know you have done your calculations and they tell me that such an operation, with two 19-seaters would not cost much more to the public purse than maintaining the office of our President today.

      • warma
        March 28, 2011

        Your attempt at reason with Francisco is a noble endeavor, but I have engaged this individual in the past. Years ago we went back and forth on this on the old cakafete.com website – we’re talking at least 7 years. His position is consistent (i’ll give him that) but his analytical abilities are wanting. In my humble opinion, it’s all well and good for someone to stake out a position that may be contrary to mine, but let’s debate the pros and cons of each position and deal with it rationally. This individual is incapable of such. Not only is he unwilling to entertain any idea that is not in lock step with his, he isn’t even will to debate the merits and demerits of his position. Challenge him with this – considering ONE cruise ship in port has more cabins than Dominica has hotel rooms by a factor of at least 2, considering the passenger capacity of large commercial aircraft, where do you propose housing the overflow of passengers of only 2 or 3 of these aircraft were to deposit their passenger loads in Dominica on any given week. See what he comes up with. Then, suggest to him that this situation occurs during festivities like carnival or creole festival, see what he comes up with then again. These are questions I am yet to get a logical answer to for years; I am not holding out hope. This is an individual who resides I believe on the west coast of the USA, most likely California, whose sole purpose, insofar as an international airport is concerned, revolves around the ability to walk into LAX, catch a flight to DOM, maybe make one or 2 stops on the way, but then the jet would continue on its way and end up landing at DOM and he can walk out, breathe the clean air, and have his relatives in Wesley or somewhere around there come pick him up, and they can all hail hooray!! Cost be dammed, who cares, he’s not paying taxes in Dominica, he’s not paying VAT. The poor people in Dominica will pay that so that he can live his fantasy. Then he will go back and leave them with the bill for a $300 – $400 million US Dollar airport – he don’t care. But you know what, I care. When you’re in a hole, you stop digging – you don’t need a shovel, you need a ladder. Do we need better air access? Absolutely. Can Dominicans afford such an expensive white elephant? Absolutely Not! We got to creep before we walk. Simple as that.

      • Tourist
        May 31, 2011

        Mr. Nizard, I do agree with you. Mr. Etienne has always big ideas, as all Etienne’s have, but he can not back them up nor finance them. Furthermore, he does not like to be opposed. That tells you all you need to know.

    • Truth, Justice, Love, Peace and Unity
      March 28, 2011

      You who appear to be an expert but no expert whatsoever and extremely critical of a Dominica Airline, please tell us aside in the Caribbean where else does LIAT fly to?

  15. what nuh!
    March 28, 2011

    allu dominicans toooo like to critisize ..give the person a change nuh woy..i mean if MONTsErraT can have “Air Montserrat” (and keep in mind half of MNI is exclusion zone) then why can’t dominica? the plan needs a lil more ironing out, true, but i’m sure it will work much better than the international airport allu crying for cuz allu see it on tv!!!

    the airline is a good idea, enuf caribbean pilots flying for american or british airlines.some can fly here too…i just hope they doh hire airhostesses from the caribbean wif dere british-maybe-american-maybe-wtf?-everything-other-than-your-natural-accent Accent!

  16. Die Hard
    March 28, 2011

    That’s a good idea but the questions are:

    Does Dominica have the volume of people to travel?

    Will it be financially viable?

    Will it be Gov’t, or privately owned?

    What about maintenance and fuel cost, can we afford?

    These are the questions which needs to be answered

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Yes the volume is there for 19 seater aircrafts which can even be converted into 14 seats plus a wider cargo / Luggage area .
      No it will not be financially viable . But :
      – Is the Morne Paix bouche road linking Petite Savanne to Delices viable ?
      – What are the losses incurred by the Dominican economy with the existing limited number of seats available in and out ?
      – It should be privately owned with the Government as a shareholder and subsidizing part of the annual loss . All hotels, local beneficiaries of such a service should pay for it too at the level of their possibilities .
      – Maintenance and fuel costs are indeed part of the operating costs and have been taken into account in the budget .

  17. Piper
    March 28, 2011

    Why would the private sector which is profit driven be interested in a business venture that is destined to be a money loser from day 1 until its eventual demise? Unless of course the government is supposed to subsidize the private sector partners with taxpayers money.

    If the government wants to increase access to Dominica, they would be better off paying LIAT the subsidy to guaranty more and better access through Dominica.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Because an empty hotel cost far more than what they would have to pay to participate to the annual loss .

      • Piper
        March 29, 2011

        You should call Butch Steward about hotels ad airiines. I will give you a hint. Aair Jamaica is now owned by Caribbean Airies.

  18. Renard
    March 28, 2011

    Good Idea… Use one industry operating at a moderate loss in an effort to generate profits from other sectors above and beyond the losses experienced with the airline. I know of many companies which use this business model. I too have worked for several airlines. American, TWA, Continental, and some of the smaller regional airlines like Eagle, Skywest, Imperial. The profit margins are so small it is unbelievable.

    The fact that an independent, privately owned, company will not recoup losses or realize the benefits from other sectors is the main reason that a government owned or government subsidized company should run the connecting airline. We have heard many astute readers and bloggers on this site list the numerous ways that a connecting airline would help generate revenues for Dominica that I need not list them again.

    But here is one which resonates with most travelers from the US. Over 75% of passengers travelling to Dominica spend an extra $300US just because they must overnight in Puerto Rico each way. That is about EC$800 more disposable income to spend in Dominica. Do the math.

    The problems arise when unscrupulous and incompetent employees maintain the mentality that the company is “government owned” and run it to the ground. The problem therefore is not with the model. It is with the employee perception of the model.

  19. Big Toe Lee
    March 28, 2011

    Finally . . . That’s an idea we can work with and develop. let LIAT and WINAIR do what they do, and Dominica Air target European and American tourist market. We can target limited markets, like St. Martin, PR for American travel and Martinique or Guadeloupe for European travel. Please don’t look at red in the profit column, but consider it as an investment in Tourism Development. Dominica Gov’t should do a cost analysis on this idea. . . . the positives are enormous – job creation, tourism promotion, more access to Dominica, no more overnight stay . . .etc, etc.
    DA . . . Big Toe like that Idea!

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      The idea is not at all to do what others are doing.
      It is simply to put in place what we need in Dominica in terms of timetable, choice of airports, fares, additional flights when special events require it…..
      It is indeed a great tool for promotion and good jobs creation.

  20. Evolved
    March 28, 2011

    Poor man – he has no clue what he is saying – typical Dominican – ignorant about the entire picture

  21. Truth, Justice, Love, Peace and Unity
    March 28, 2011

    I do think a Dominican Airline is welcome news. I am elated to read about this. This would be another improvement to and for Dominica.
    The plan is being considered. You critics, give it a break!
    Why should Dominica need an International airport prior to implementing an Airline? LIAT and Caribbean Airlines fly to Dominica without D/ca having an International airport.
    In my simple terms, do those who make that statement consider that should Dominica be fortunate to have its own airline/planes that the airplanes will be constructed to suit the size of Dominica’s airport?
    A few years ago I flew to Dominica via Antigua for a death in the family. This was an emergency. To make this short :) , I booked with a travel agency, the owner is originally from Antigua. I personally know the owner. Many Dominicans book with this travel agency.
    Returning to Canada, I travelled from Dominica with Caribbean airlines to Antigua to board a flight to Canada. Caribbean airplane was practically empty. The service was excellent, on the Caribbean airplane more so than on LIAT. This is not a criticism but stating it like it is. I gave the air hostess a compliment.
    Did I hear that Caribbean airline is no more operating? Please correct me if I erred.
    From all of this, I gave it a good thought that because the owner is an Antiguan, LIAT will obviously obtain the business, a good reason why Caribbean Airline failed.
    In addition, due to my experience with an employee of that agency and dissatisfaction with the Canadian airline which happened to be a chartered one, I have no intentions of ever booking again with that Toronto agency. It was not as professional or that the employees are not as its professional name.
    Frankly, I was disappointed with practically the overall service which I received. I expect excellent service and courtesy for my money with no exception.
    To top it all, “some”, not generalizing all West Indians who own businesses in these City of Toronto and some of their West Indian employees are not as respectful to their people as they are to the so-called white people. I can assure you that this exists. In other words, they will kiss under the feet of white people and treat their West Indian people with discourtesy. Then they will turn around and state that West Indians do not patronize their business. Much more could be stated about that.
    I considered that if I owned a travel agency, I could do much better than that and ensure that my employees treat customers with due dignity and respect. Being the person whom I am, I would tolerate no less.
    Some years ago I took some computer courses. While this is important and necessary in today’s technological age, I was sorry that I did not take a travel agency course which would greatly assist me to own my own travel agency. It is not too late.
    You know, we consider undertaking certain courses but soon forget about it in our otherwise busy lives.
    Should Dominica have its own airline, I am once again considering taking that course and soon enough.
    I wish this new project for a Dominica airline well and success. It is worth pursuing.
    Dominicans should be encouraging. There is no doubt that Dominicans abroad would also be elated and encouraging.
    A lot of research has to go into establishing this airline. If established, rest assured that Dominicans will want to travel only on and with “our airline/plane.”
    My advice is should it be established that passengers are treated with courtesy as they deserve, the airplanes will be on time and that their luggage will arrive with them. This is not asking for too much. It must be considered that when people pay for a service, they expect to receive it. This goes for each and everyone one of us who are the world clients, customers and passengers. Therefore, we treat others as we expect to be treated with no exception. Sadly so, this is not always the norm. I am one, an advocate who will stand up and speak out for what is correct to do and say.
    May God bless this Dominica airline project. Do not abandon it.

  22. Keeping Them Honest
    March 28, 2011

    Mr. Nizard,
    Thanks for the explanation. It helps in the area of understanding our best cause of action.
    However it is very important to clarify what or whom you mean by “WE.” Are you representing some group’s interest or the country on a whole or both? In other words “WE” the people do not want to misconstrue “WE” to mean some particular interest group that would be funded by the people’s purse. Otherwise your points are well taken.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      I used “we” to refer to the group of people I have been working on this project with; As well as those who are now supporting it.
      I have just prepared this project because I have experience in this field and I think I understood why other failed . They simply failed because they were looking for profit where there was none, and eventually got exhausted and then died or flew away .
      It is my simple contribution to a country I now call home . I am ready to help. That’s all.

  23. wake up
    March 28, 2011

    Is this person serious? Why would someone or a Govt. go into business knowing you are going to loose money? You compared Dominica airline to a road but if i remember you need a road to get to the airport. If you take the tax payers money to finance an airline for people me like to go to DA every other month…… where is the Govt going to get money to pay it’s workers? I woked for TWA for 12yrs and my friend you have no idea what you are talking about. Let me just give you one example…..Airlines have to buy feul 5 yrs ahead and they don’t pay the current price they pay the projected price. Do the math. It is a great idea but Dominica have very little to attract the average vacationer. I love Da but i want to see DA move forward not backwards. Give me the website for Air Genada, AirStLucia, AirStVincent, AirStkitts etc……i hope you see where i am going with this. I would love to braggg to my co-workers about DA own airlines but would send da backwards.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Yes I am serious. I took a lot of my time to work on this project .
      Yes you need a road to go to the airport . But you then need to go elsewhere . Call it an international road or whatever else you like but it is something needed to increase the number of visitors into Dominica , or to increase the possibilities for Dominican businesses to travel around, to export their products…..
      I have not worked for TWA and do not know how did they manage their fuel . However, I can assure you that you can fly with an aircraft to any island having JET A and get it filled at today’s rate . Like a car .
      I do not agree with your saying that Dominica has very little to attract the average vacationer . Dominica has all to attract the type of vacationers looking for what Dominica has to offer . That’s far enough .

      • wake up
        March 28, 2011

        You guys come up with these ideas and want to break the backs of hard working Dominicans. I was born in Dominica and have been residing in the states for years. I am doing ok for myself and as a businessman i am always looking for a break. BUT why would i want to have an airline and depend on the taxes of the country i claim to love so much. Do your HONEST homework about the airline industry for an island with a population of 67,000 and get back to us that knows better. I would love to seat with you about this matter.

  24. warma
    March 28, 2011

    Your idea deserves a good look, I must say. I have always maintained that construction of an international airport, unless seeded with grant money, will be overwhelmingly burdensome on the people of Dominica. People love to point to other countries and, making unqualified comparisons, assert that the panacea for all our economic problems is an international airport capable of handling large commercial aircraft. What most people fail to recognize is that in order for such an airport to be successful, the country must have the supporting infrastructure; hotels, roads, etc. What good is it to have a brand new spanking international airport and you have no where to put tourists coming on ONE, just ONE large commercial jet? Dominica has less than 400 available hotel rooms; the passenger capacity of ONE Boeing 747-400 / Boeing 757 / Airbus A320 is 524 / 280 / 335 respectively. Where are we going to put them if only TWO show up in one week? Pitch tents in the Botanical Gardens? What we need is a first class regional airport, one with the ability to handle medium sized regional jets that can connect passengers quickly with larger aircraft at hub airports. Passengers want comfort and speedy travel, they want their luggage to arrive with them – thats the most important thing for passengers, and there are ways to do that without saddling Dominicans with massive debt. People crying things are hard, why take on more? Who’s going to pay for it? The taxpayers of Dominica, and that means a higher cost of living, which leads to more migration, which leads to less people staying, which leaves a higher tax burden for those left in the “gwaye”. So the concept of an airline in which the government of Dominica can invest in to the benefit of its citizens is very appealing to me. I was looking at flights flights from New York to Dominica the other day and I found very attractive rates into St Lucia Hewanorra on JetBlue – however to connect to Liat, I would have to travel to the other airport. There was no way to get that flight so that I could be in Dominica the same day, which means i would have spend a night in St Lucia, so I would have to catch the next morning flight. Worse, that Liat flight seems to be stopping in every country before it gets to Dominica. That’s ridiculous! A domestic airline that schedules flights to coincide with international flights into places like St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua and St Maarten is an idea worth exploring. Thats what I think.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Your comment about the New York to St Lucia fare is excellent.
      Cheap fares exist all the time by large international carriers.
      With such a tool as Air Dominica available, it would be easy to partner with X or Y airline to benefit from lower fares and increase in return the number of flights to that Caribbean Hub .

  25. james rahpael
    March 28, 2011

    I have always advocated for a national airline subsidized by Govt. It works from London. Various airlines used London as a hub e.g. Luxemberg. They take their people from this hub to luxemberg and it works. makes a lot sense. The Ferriera brothers had such an airline. worked well but should have been in partnership with Govt to work better. It is like roads, taxpayers have to pay for it. It is part of the infrastructure. Most persons will benefit, businesses etc. GO FOR IT. International airline not coming anytime soon. we have to explore alternatives

  26. Weh
    March 28, 2011

    ****************ONE REASON WHY WE DON”T***************************

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WE CAN NOT AFFORD IT!!!!!!!!!

    • under the radar
      March 28, 2011

      who is “WE”

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      You might be right. But I think it is worth positively looking at it. Never know ? I think Dominica can afford it and get in return tremendous benefits.

  27. cirrus
    March 28, 2011

    i am confused as well. do you mean a non profit airline? cause i get the idea that a loss is going to happen every time thus leaving tax payers with the bill.

  28. Nathaniel Peltier
    March 28, 2011

    While I agree with most of your points. I am interested to know more about why this cannot be profitable. In the short run I may tend to agree with you but in the long run????

    When are you going to make the business plan available? I am very interested in the Idea.

    Another question that is important for me is, WHO are WE?

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Thank you.
      Replied to both in the main comment.

      • me R
        March 28, 2011

        Can we look into this wonderful idea for the benefit of dominicans who wants to visit every two months like me being left behind by other carriers who dont care two spoons about how we get home? Let`s explore, let`s move on man. Stop the negative and look on the bright side of things, why not? :) :) :) :) :) :)

  29. URas Mango
    March 28, 2011

    It was only this weekend that reality stroke me about Dominica being the only Windward island without international air access capabilities.. This is “ unbewivable” – Bugs Bunny.

    • under the radar
      March 28, 2011

      is being left out the real issue, or is it working with what is necessary and justifiable? i think we make the wrong things the issue alot of times.

  30. chan chow dwet
    March 28, 2011

    if u read the article properly u all would understand what the person is tryin to say, international airports in small countries like ours just leave the country with more debt do some research on stkitts and st lucia and u’d understand why d points were made and stop being blind. some people suffer from
    Diarrhea of the mouth’ they dont study facts but just wait for opportunity to open their mouths let po come out

    • under the radar
      March 28, 2011

      i agree with you. its a matter of reading and comprehending what the article is saying instead of going “ape” and parroting another sources opinion.

  31. Glen Beck
    March 28, 2011

    Having 6 years in the airline field you make a good point. This is how LIAT operates with the goverments of ANU POS & BGI pumping money every year into it. Same thing with WINAIR the Dutch Govt. pumps money it to WINAIR so the can take people to Saba, St. Barts ect. and benifit from the spending the Rich and Famous in these islands!

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      what you point out is interesting .
      – Liat and Winair may both get government money , BUT .
      1/ Liat is a big spender . “Air Dominica” could be different…
      2/ Winair tends to stop routes when not worth it, or when not bringing anything to their governments. It is a fair operating practice, even if not to the advantage of Dominica,
      3/ These Rich and Famous contribute to the wealth of these islands, don’t they ?

  32. Cassandra
    March 28, 2011

    I think what mr. Nizard is saying is that a national airline like this should be seen as part of our infra-structure and should be supported through the public purse. This is no different from governments paying commercial airlines for calling at their airports, or waiving landing fees for instance in order to stimulate tourism (or subsidising events like The Creole Music Festival).

    • LawieBawie
      March 28, 2011

      Believe me, the losses which will be incured from such a venture would be astronomically greater than that incured from those events which you just mentioned.

  33. sianguk
    March 28, 2011

    What Dominica needs, is for LIAT to return to providing Dominica, with Direct airline service/schedule.

    Dominica to St Lucia
    Dominica to St Vincent
    Dominica to Grenada
    Dominica to Suan Juan

    Not Dominica to Barbados and then to……
    Not Dominica to Antigua and then to……..

    • ?
      March 28, 2011


    • Cerberus
      March 28, 2011

      Believe me, LIAT would do this in no time if it were a paying proposition. Unfortunately, we just don’t have the load factors to make this worthwile.
      PS. According to the latest U.N. figures our total population is down to 67,000.

      • Bragz
        March 28, 2011

        Does that 67,000 include the 12,000+ Haitians, the 6,000+ Chinese, the 4,000+ Domicanoes? If not, then they are wrong!

        • Cerberus
          March 28, 2011

          …”population” is exactly what is says i.e. the people who reside here, whatever their origins.
          PS. You did not mention the “caucasians”, of whom we have a fair number now also.

    • Anonymous
      March 28, 2011

      Good Idea…we also need
      – Dominica to Port of Spain
      – Dominica to St. Maarten

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      If the air service needed for Dominica was existing , reliable and fairly priced, none of us would have spent time and money working on this project.
      Liat operating costs are huge . They do not seem to be so much caring for every dollar they spend.
      Liat, or any other airline, will always give you what is good for them. Not what is good for you.

  34. Good suggestion
    March 28, 2011

    We need an international airport before we have an Air Dominica.
    Do not put the carriage before the horse.

    • Moderate Citizen
      March 28, 2011

      This is a very good article. Makes lot of sense. short, concise, precise and to the point. Again written in lay man terms. I am interested in seeing the business plans. You did not mention Antigua, because I kno that the Antiguan government was paying for the unsold seats on Delta, until a friend told me once, one morning he can just wake up an go to the airport and board a delta flight and away he goes, since the seat were already paid for with his tax dollars. Note he was just joking we kno it cannot happen so.
      This is also the case with St. Lucia and American Airlines especially during the jazz season. We need more factual articles like this one. Our people do travell alot but it seems they cannot comprehend the cost associated with an international airport. Right now Barbados is the only english speaking caribbean island who enjoys a fair amount of direct international flights and one of the main reason is because their are, some registered cruise ships from Europe boarding cruise passengers in Barbados presently. The idea of a national airport is good one for the tourism industry. On another note; another national investment also is A National Fresh Friut Juice Processing Factory subsidised by the Government with a strong management team. These two new initiatives can boost our national development.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      Could you tell me why ?

  35. sianguk
    March 28, 2011

    Start a Airline with a business plan, on a “No Profit” basis………Madness.

    So Government (tax payers) has to foot the bill for this bottomless hole of an airline.

    Back to drawing board, please.

    • Herve Nizard
      March 28, 2011

      I am just back from the drawing board Sir .
      Would you like a business plan showing profit ? We can do that too . Many do it .
      What we prepared is a fair business plan showing the reality.
      Our project does not consider the loss should be paid by government only. It only says Government should contribute to it so that it stays afloat. That’s all.
      As taxpayers, we have a high respect for taxpayers money…..

    March 28, 2011

    I AM CONFUSED…what are you really saying????

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