Yyz717, yes PAP is very high-yielding. All four of AA's flights to PAP from MIA and JFK are A300s that fill up all the time. This summer's BOS-PAP is a 738 and the seasonal 4th daily MIA-PAP that runs during the winter is usually a 738. AA offers the only JFK-PAP service, but is one of four carriers on MIA-PAP (AF (both mainline and express), N8, and LM also fly it; N7 service is temporarily suspended on the route until they can find a plane to wet-lease).
FLYYUL, here is an article from yesterday's South Florida Business Journal. One error, though, is that it states that AA has only one daily MIA-PAP:
Haiti gets a lift: Family embarks on airline startup
A Haitian-American family living in South Florida is seeking U.S. approval to launch a new Port-Au-Prince-based airline to serve the passenger market between Haiti, the United States and Canada.
Harry V. Vieux, along with wife, two brothers and two cousins, plan to launch Haiti Caribbean Airline in June, flying four weekly flights initially between the island's capital Port-Au-Prince and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. The service is expected to increase to daily by the end of the first year.
The family-owned company also plans to add two-weekly scheduled services to Miami and Montreal in December.
Haiti Caribbean Airline is betting it can succeed by offering later departure times and larger luggage allowances.
American Airlines is the largest scheduled commercial carrier flying that route with a daily service between Port-Au-Prince and Miami (CORRECTION: THRICE DAILY). Air France and Dutch Caribbean, formerly ALM, offer regular service between Miami and Haiti.
Air d'Ayiti, the nation's only carrier serving Miami, suspended flying to South Florida in late 2001.
Departure times, rather than price, are what could distinguish Haiti Caribbean from industry giant American, Vieux said.
"I am not trying to undercut American," said Vieux, Haiti Caribbean's chairman and president. "I am not really running a competition with American. The strategy is to provide the Haitian community more options. Right now, they don't have that much."
American's daily flight leaves Miami at 1:35 p.m. and New York at 10 a.m. Vieux said he intends to set his departures no earlier than 3:30 p.m. to allow business people more time to conduct their schedules and catch a flight back the next day.
Another selling point, Vieux said, will be the airline's "flexibility" in accepting more and heavier passenger luggage for Haitians shopping in the United States and Canada.
Haitian nationalism is another factor Vieux said could help the airline continue beyond the first 18 months accounted for with startup money of $200,000.
"We don't have an airline that we can call our own," Vieux said. "It is very important to us. The Haitians have been complaining about it."
He estimated there are 100,000 Haiti expatriates in South Florida alone, said Vieux, who has a home in Plantation.
Besides continuous political and economic problems in the country of 8.8 million, another primary reason Haiti doesn't have its own airline relates to the country's questionable civil aviation authority, from a U.S. perspective.
The Department of Transportation has deemed Haiti a "category 2" country, meaning its civil aviation authority oversight doesn't meet international standards. That means any Haitian carriers can only fly to the United States if they use aircraft operated by companies, usually charters, based in category 1 countries.
This arrangement, known as a "wet-lease agreement," generally means higher operational costs for the startup airlines.
If granted U.S. approval, Haitian Caribbean Airlines proposes to partner with North American Airlines of Jamaica, N.Y., according to the DOT application.
Vieux knows North American Airlines from his current job where he is the manager of the New York-based tour company Travel Span, overseeing flight coordination, control and manifest responsibilities. Travel Span charters planes from North American Airlines.
Bruno Scaldaferri of North American Airlines, who negotiated the agreement with Haiti Caribbean Airlines, did not return several calls seeking comment.
The airline plans to fly a Boeing 757 airplane with all 214 seats sharing the same class of service, according to the application. All roundtrip tickets from New York are projected to cost about $450, but CFO Jacques Vieux said the company would remain competetive with American, the only other airline to fly from JFK to Port-Au-Prince. American currently charges about $400 with taxes.
The airline projects revenues of $1.01 million in the first month of service in June, before growing to $1.32 million in December. The first fiscal year's revenues are estimated to top $14.36 million with a net income of $1.18 million, according to the application.
"These projections are based upon conservative estimates but nevertheless project a modest and consistent profit in the third and succeeding months of service," according to the airline's application. If the airline's income is higher than what it projects after eight months, it will add a flight during the high season, beginning Dec. 15.
The U.S.-Haiti passenger market still has room to grow, said Stuart Klaskin, a principal in the Coral Gables aviation consulting firm Klaskin Kushner & Co. Haiti Caribbean Airline, however, should not automatically assume that Haitian-Americans will fly the carrier regardless of its service and price, he said.
"My experience is, initial operational forecasts are much more optimistic than reality proves them to be," Klaskin said. "While I think they are being optimistic, I don't think they are egregiously optimistic."
Haiti Caribbean Airline incorporated in October, and obtained necessary government approval from Haiti in November. On March 25, the airline filed its application with the DOT.
The application is now in a 15-day public comment period after which a decision will be made, said DOT spokesman Bill Mosley in Washington, D.C.
"If there are no objections filed and no other reason not to, we would act anytime after the 15-day period," Mosley said.
E-MAIL ASSOCIATE EDITOR Peter Zalewski at PZalewski@bizjournals.com.