St. Maarten Airline Winair Concerned About Caribbean Star Deal
PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten (AP) -- The manager of St. Maarten-based airline
Winair is concerned by Caribbean Star's plan to buy the regional operations
of American Eagle.
Such a deal, he said, could shut out smaller airlines and crimp their
``With the (landing) rights that American Eagle now has and with its fleet,
Caribbean Star would become not just a ..., but the dominant player in
Caribbean aviation,'' said John Strugnell, managing director of Winair.
Antigua-based Caribbean Star announced last week that it was considering
buying the San Juan, Puerto Rico-based operations of American Eagle, a
subsidiary of American Airlines.
Caribbean Star, which began operations in 2000 flying to most islands in the
region, said its chairman Allen Stanford has already begun preliminary
discussions with officials of Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines.
Winair is a small commuter airline that flies to the Dutch islands of Saba
and St. Eustatius as well as St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, Dominica, St.
Barths and Tortola.
Caribbean Star does not currently have landing rights in Dutch St. Maarten,
but American Eagle does -- and those rights would go to the new owner.
Strugnell said he feared that if Caribbean Star buys American Eagle, the
consolidation could push Winair out of business and raise fares.