The Caribbean market is a very tricky area to master/conquer because of several factors.
1. Weather. Although the caribbean is recognized, the world over, for having some of the best weather anywhere, there is the problem of hurricanes. An especially difficult problem for the "upper" islands in the chain. The Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and further down to St. Maarten are in what is called "Hurricane Alley". The "threat" happens every year, and can have devastating results ex:Hurricane Andrew/Miami. The potential for a hurricane to visit and damage an airport is too great for a LCC to come in and set up shop. Damaged airport infrastructure, planes, and screwed up schedules, etc. Tourists tend to stay away from an island that has just suffered hurricane damage.
2. American Airlines.........nuff said! Well, I'll go ahead and say something. American and Eagle are the powerhouses of the caribbean. Any airline wanting to challenge them in San Juan will suffer. AA
has no problem in boosting existing frequencies and slashing prices to undermind the new carrier, they have the resources to do so. Eagle will do the same thing and follow "Big Brother." We, the caribbean people, prefer to pay for the cheaper flight. If an airline can come in and keep their fares low and offer a decent selection of flights to destinations that we would like, then we will fly.
3. Caribbean Airports. There are only a handfull of airports in the region that can handle the bigger jets. Space on these islands are limited, for obvious reasons and most island governments don't have the resources to expand the current facilities let alone out into the water. Gate space at the bigger airports are at a premium. AA
controls most gates in SJU
, who won't likely give them up too easily. If another airline comes in and sees potential on another island like St. Croix, which has a nice sized airport with little service, maybe they could move in there and build an empire airport similar to AA
The deck of cards is stacked up against the newcomer from the get go, but I say more power to the underdog.