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Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:14 am

What do you Caribbean readers think about this proposal ?


Caribbean should look at Quantas - Air New Zealand alliance

''In the context of the current debate within the Caribbean over the future of the region’s three semi-privatised loss making airlines Air Jamaica, BWIA and LIAT and the two 100% government owned airlines, Bahamasair and Cayman Airways, the recently announced alliance between Quantas and Air New Zealand to create a strong Australasian regional airline group, may be of interest to your readers.

Under that proposed alliance both airlines would maintain their separate corporate and marketing identities with rationalised scheduling and planning in the initial stages followed by integration in other areas such as purchasing, aircraft, maintenance specialisation etc. to enhance efficiency and profitability with the option for complete integration left for later decision based on the success of the initial stages.

That two major international airlines in two mature economies see the need for such co-operation to remain competitive in today’s international aviation market should cause the airlines in the Caribbean to rethink their aversion to a similar solution.

Few disinterested observers now question the need for the airlines of the Caribbean to form a strong regional alliance with the network, size and scale to be profitable to end once and for all their common reliance on the region’s taxpayers for support.

One relatively modest practical step towards a regional airline solution for the Caribbean could be for the governments of Jamaica and Trinidad to transfer their airline shares (in Air Jamaica, Air Jamaica Express, BWIA and LIAT) to a jointly owned holding company ("Airlines of the Caribbean") to be established and owned by them with a specific mandate to work towards regional airline integration.

Other regional governments including those with a shareholding in LIAT could be invited to participate. The actual ownership percentage is probably not all that material in economic terms (although no doubt it will be politically) as all the airlines have a negative net worth. The Cayman Islands and the Bahamas which own their own loss making airlines could also be included within the proposed structure.

The "Airlines of the Caribbean" holding company would function as a private company working with the other shareholders of the airlines to achieve its objective.

The airlines involved would continue to operate as individual airlines with cost svaing integration in scheduling, planning, purchasing etc. developing through agreements fostered by the holding company backed by its shareholding powers.

An agreement between the shareholder governments that all future financial assistance for the airlines involved would be made through the holding company would give it significantly enhanced influence especially among the semi-privatised airlines who have come to rely on their government rather than their private sector shareholders for financial support when losses have been incurred.

I suggest this as a practical and painless initial step that the regional governments could make to underline their commitment to an integrated regional airline system which would give the proposed airline holding company considerable influence to move the airlines through agreement to greater integration and efficiency.

The integration of the three major semi-privatised airlines (Air Jamaica, BWIA and LIAT), either alone or with the addition of Cayman Airways and Bahamasair, has the potential to provide an integrated, efficient and profitable air transport system for intra and extra regional travel with the scale to compete effectively.

Competition intra regionally will continue to exist from the likes of Caribbean Star/CaribbeanSun and the newly independent AmericanEagle while extra regional competition will continue to be provided by the major US, Canadian and UK carriers.

Without some degree of integration the airlines of the Caribbean will continue to sustain losses that can only be covered by the taxpayers in a regime that if history tell us anything will involve a predictable cycle of increasing not diminishing losses.''

John P.T. Gilmore
Edinburgh, Scotland

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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 1:22 am

....or BWIA and Liat and Bahamasair and Cayman Airways could just fold up shop and let the only really viable carrier, AIR JAMAICA, rule the region as it should!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 5:57 am

I don't want to discourage or downplay your idea, but this had been brought up many a times in the caribbean aviation circle. I think anyone who's in aviation and moreso involved in caribbean aviation knows that it would never happen. A mixture of pilot senority issues, egos, management dilemas, politics, who flying what plane, where and this, that and the other will prevent all these airlines from joining and like I say, it might be a good idea on paper, remember these airlines are flag carriers for their respective countries/islands.
A great deal of patriotism is felt toward each carrier by the citizens of these islands, to see that go after all these years of having their "own" airline, is one other reason why it won't happen
Check www.caribbeanalpa.com, this site has an open dicussion forum and is supposed to be used by airline pilots in the caribbean. I'm sure this idea has been brought up before, do a search and you'll see.
Be careful if you post, because similar to airliners.net forum, you'll get some characters who don't understand what civilised discussion is and would flame you over stupid things in a second. Just my two cents......
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 7:51 am

A great deal of patriotism is felt toward each carrier by the citizens of these islands, to see that go after all these years of having their "own" airline, is one other reason why it won't happen

By this theory, Sabena should have not gone out of business.
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 8:05 am

In theory, integration according to the model proposed here works well. In practice, however, it breeds disaster, with the Sabena/Swissair debacle a prime example, as Phatfarmlines pointed out.

I think a more realistic picture is that entrenched U.S. and European carriers will continue to encroach on the Caribbean carriers' market share to the United States and Europe, providing access to an increasing range of onward connections.

I can't see any local or regional integration, furthermore, providing a competitive scale that would come close to that provided by other international carriers.
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 2:09 pm

I agree with Gnomon. While this idea looks good on paper I doubt it will ever happen. There is to many egos and pride at stake in these countries, to create one mega-carrier in the Caribbean.
Looks like the fresh wind has gone stale
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Sun Mar 28, 2004 4:49 pm

Why not just call an airline: "Pirates Airlines" LOL In case some of you missed the idea.....have you seen Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl then you'd get the idea. Im only playing so dont bash me for this.
A Safe Flight Begins With Quality Maintenance On The Ground.
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 4:15 am

RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Tue Mar 30, 2004 12:21 am

Let's not forget Universal Airlines, which has just picked up another aircraft and is looking at some expansion. There is also the issue of every country running many charters into the Carib, which handles a large part of the paxs into the Carib.
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Tue Mar 30, 2004 3:50 am

Well I think this topic should be rename Airlines of the English speaking Caribbean!!! I think we are forgotten here about the travel potential of the Spanish and French and Dutch speaking areas of the Caribbean basin. What about Cuba, or Aruba, Curacao or the Dominican Republic they are part of the Caribbean too and Cuban for example has a population of 11 million, and a lot of future domestic potential to travel as well as international. LAN Chile is trying to get into the Dominican market and DCA is taking over of the Dutch speaking areas. I think those players need to be taken in consideration when thinking in a regional alliance
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RE: Airlines Of The Caribbean

Tue Mar 30, 2004 4:00 am

One only needs to look at the former failed Air Afrique, and the equally disfunctional Gulf Air to see the problems of a single carrier serving multiple "home" destinations. Only SK has worked thus far, because national ego's have not overrule sound economic decisions as far as planning international routes from the three Scandinavian capitals. In addition to the significant practical hurdles mentioned by 9Y-ISA, the nations of the caribeean are to politically immature to accept with flight planning based on economics rather than politics. (Gotta have those daily nonstops to my nation's capital, regardless of losses). Everyone will want their home country to be a major hub. Noone will settle for mere feeder service. As a result, you get something like Air Afrique, one airline for 11 political masters, who could never get together and make it work.
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