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AIRLINES TIA 2000 Meanwhile, to better attract the


corporate travel market, he has made each of the routes’ frequencies twice-daily to ensure business travellers can complete a business trip in a single day. Kaufmann has also ensured that his schedules marry in with those of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic to offer inter- island transfers for tourists, meaning they are bound by less rigid schedules and can also choose twin-centre breaks. Looking further ahead he is confident that he can start expanding into St Kitts and Anguilla by April next year, while a flight from Barbados to Tobaga would be the only one in operation “In two to three years, we hope to go as far north as the Dominican Republic and as far south as Guyana and Surinam. The intention is never to fly a 30, 50 or 70-seat aircraft as we want to fly in the gaps. However, we would be looking at the Beechcraft 1900Ds with a 17-seat configuration. It is fast and it allows us to carry enough passengers to be profitable.”


Spreading the word One thing that Kaufmann is not concerned about is competition emerging from the low-cost carriers anytime soon, as the Caribbean’s unique circumstances prevent the model from working as effectively there as in other parts of the world. He adds: “You cannot run an old legacy airline by the old rules as they’re not there anymore, that’s why you have these Ryanairs and easyJets and they’re the airlines that are walking away with it all. “But in the Caribbean there won’t be a Ryanair or an easyJet for a long time. It has been tried, it lacks the one most important component and that’s the size of the available market. It just isn’t there so you can’t have lots of aircraft and fly them 15 to 17 hours a day. It can’t be done.” However, if he is to meet the success he is hoping for, Kaufmann admits there is one area of operations at TIA that has not been brought up to scratch. He adds: “My biggest problem is I am


not a marketing man but we’re working on it. We haven’t got the word out as well as we would have liked to. We are rethinking our campaign, especially to the local population and I can reach out to tour operators and agents. “I’ve got to do it on the newspapers and social media. It hasn’t gone as well as we hoped but we’re doing it now.” Which sounds good as we all know that the more time and effort you put into marketing, the more you will get out of it. However, whether the Caribbean governments Kaufmann is lobbying over LIAT follow the same formula is harder to say. £


30 ISSUE 5 ROUTES NEWS 2017 routesonline.com


Small aircraft are the key to success


Building a brand


Trans Island Air (TIA) 2000 originally started life in


1982 as Trans Island Air before CEO Bruce Kaufmann bought it


in 1999.


He says: “The airline didn’t do well, people wanted out and I took over the stress. “I came from a manufacturing


background, I knew as much about airlines as I did brain surgery but I am a quick learner. I had to be.” The airline rebranded with its


current name in 2000 when it operated a mixed fleet including Pilatus Britten-Norman Islanders, Rockwell Aero Commanders, a DHC-6 Twin Otter and an Embraer EMB-110. In 2004 it became a founding


member of the Grenadine Air Alliance, but then chose to leave it in 2015. Kaufmann says: “They were too happy and too satisfied. We wanted to expand routes and they didn’t. “Now, we’re not flying into the


Grenadines and we’re not interfering in their business, although they have new competitors on the route.” The airline then relaunched in April this year with flights commencing the following month. It currently operates two Beechcraft


99 Twin Engine Turbo aircraft with 12 seats, one DHC-6 Twin Otter with 19 seats and a King Air A100 with seven seats, although this is for private charter only. Kaufmann is hoping to start


operating a third Beechcraft in October this year as well as a second DHC-6. The business is registered in Barbados while it is registered for maintenance in St Lucia.


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