westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 8:36 am

Hi, everyone! After years of reading the various posts, I've finally decided to sign up and join the fraternity.

So here's my first question -- just how are things going with the Caribbean airlines, particularly with LIAT, BWIA, Air Jamaica, and Caribbean Star? I'm not sure if my information is outdated, but I do believe that:

* Air Jamaica is still struggling financially, with a huge amount of debt owed to the Jamaican government on airport fees and taxes (correct me if I'm wrong). The one safety net in terms of capital that Air Jamaica has is Gordon "Butch" Stewart's Sandals and Beaches Hotel Chains throughout the islands, which are doing very well.

*LIAT & BWIA have formed an alliance, and there were talks of merging the two carriers into one airline. Both airlines are in terrible financial shape, though BWIA is expanding it's routes. (incidentally, I'm an avid BWIA lover, and would hate to see them go under)

*Caribbean Star has brought serious competition to the region, and can probably be termed the "JetBlue of the Islands" (first thing that pops in my mind), with lots of capital coming from billionaire R. Allen Stanford

I don't know too much about the other Caribbean airlines, like DCA, BahamasAir, and Cayman Airways. I'm sure there's someone in this fraternity that can shed some light and even bring me up to date on what's going on with "the big 4". Thanks in advance.

Neil

God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:09 am

Wow! You mean no one can answer my post?

That's okay. I hope sometime in the future a post will come up with some news on the caribbean airlines.

Well, it's good to be an A.net member!

By the way, in case anyone may be wondering about my screen name, West Indian is the ATC callsign for BWIA, and 425 is the BWIA flight number that serves JFK to POS non-stop.

Neil
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
Guest

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:12 am

Well, your post regards something very specific methinks... just imagine, in my case, a SouthAm aviation thread only comes up every week or so... don't worry though, sooner or later you will find a Caribbean thread.
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:15 am

PU151

Thanks for the encouragement. I'll be looking.

"The Great Cornholio", eh?! lol

God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
A330323X
Posts: 2666
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2003 4:06 pm

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:21 am

From what I hear, the US Airways codeshare with GoCaribbean network members Caribbean Sun and Caribbean Star is going pretty well, the codeshare with WINAIR less so.
I'm the expert on here on two things, neither of which I care about much anymore.
 
Guest

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:28 am

Hey, as Cornholio, I won't say what I need for a certain part of my body (that would get me banned at best).

Funny (or more probably tragic) thing is that I might have been able to answer your question, since I was really close to applying for an internship in Air France some months ago, to study their Caribbean network.. and therefore the entire aviation sector there.

Unfortunately, I decided against it, and settled for Paris (though not in AF).
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:35 am

PU151

Well you certainly would have been my inside man, as it were, had you done that. But I'm sure your experience in Paris was very rewarding.

Have you heard anything about any of the South American Carriers either expanding their caribbean presence, or at least looking to enter that market? Or is it not viable?
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
GARUDAROD
Posts: 1139
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 4:39 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:43 am


Are Caribbean Sun and Caribbean Star sister airlines? Shouldnt there be
another one called Caribbean Sea..LOL come to think of it, those would
make great names for Cruise ships
Cargo doesn't whine, moan, or complain
 
Guest

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:45 am

Yes, actually, there's a thread going on downstairs right now about Aerolineas Argentinas going to San Juan de Puerto Rico (saw it 30 seconds ago). Plus, there are real good guys when it comes to info there. Good hunting!

P.S: the thread is "AR to start flying to SJU" or something like it.
 
chepos
Posts: 5961
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:54 am

Hello WestIndian, another fellow Caribbean member, the last thing I heard from BWIA is a rumor going around this board a couple of months ago of them wanting to start flights to Prestwick from Barbados.
Garuda yes Caribbean Sun and Caribbean Star are sister companies, they are owned by the same Texas business man and have an Identical livery.
Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 10:54 am

GARUDAROD,

Actually, Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun are sister airlines. Caribbean Sun was initially created to provide a connection between the US and the Caribbean Islands via San Juan, which is where it's based. Caribbean Star, on the other hand, is based in Antigua. From what I've read last year (told you my info needs updating!! Smile/happy/getting dizzy), there were talks of having Caribbean Sun to operate regional jets, which is unheard of in the islands. So far, all I know is that they both operate Dash 8's.

PU151
Thanks. I'll look into that. That is interesting news. I wonder if the LAN conglomerate (that's the first word I could think of) would consider coming into the caribbean as well.
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
chepos
Posts: 5961
Joined: Sat Dec 02, 2000 9:40 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 11:02 am

WestIndian the LAN conglomerate more or less has ventured into the Caribbean with it's Lan Dominicana branch (which is soon going to disappear), they operate 4 weekly flights between SDQ and MIA with a 763. Due to extreme competition on the MIA-SDQ route the flight will be discontinued and they will pull the plug on any other future Lan Dominicana plans, in other words Lan Dominicana will disappear. But LAN Peru will continue to operate the MIA-PUJ rpute.
Chepos

[Edited 2004-05-15 04:07:33]
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sat May 15, 2004 11:54 pm

Prestwick, huh? That sounds like a good idea. I was thinking of doing an independent research to come up with possible suggestions for expansion and profitability. Perhaps someone can present an opinion on this:

*What if BWIA were to create a hub-and-spoke system either in Barbados or Trinidad (or both) and have connecting flights from South America to both North America and Europe? Could this be viable? Air Jamaica seems to be doing well with this system (though not financially, particularly with debt owed to the Jamaican government)

*Although I don't fully know the benefits when it comes to dollars, I do understand that the blended winglets on the Boeing 737 does increase fuel efficiency and range. Since BWIA has gotten brand new 737-800s, why not install the winglets (within a reasonable time frame, so as not to disrupt service)?


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Thanks for your opinions.

Neil
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
Southamerica
Posts: 2303
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 2:56 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sun May 16, 2004 2:21 am

WestIndian425,


Have you heard anything about any of the South American Carriers either expanding their caribbean presence, or at least looking to enter that market? Or is it not viable?


I expected that for instance, Avianca, had increased their presence in the Caribbean, at least for the upcomming mid-year vacation season. But they didn't. They just increased flights to/from MIA, and that's it.

Avianca's current presence in the Caribbean looks like this:

BOG-PUJ-BOG 3x week service. MD-83
BOG-AUA-BOG daily except mondays. MD-83/757
BOG-CUR-BOG 2x wekk service. MD-83

If we count MIA in the Caribbean, AV will offer 6 daily flights from Colombia.

As a side note, both Avianca and AeroRepublica will fly charters to the Margarita Islands throughout the whole summer. Additionaly, AeroRepublica will offer charter vacation packages for Jamaica this season also.

Hope this info helps.


SOUTHAMERICA


P.S.: A very warm welcome to the forums !


 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sun May 16, 2004 4:07 am

Thanks for the info, SOUTHAMERICA! I do appreciate the welcome as well. I'll keep looking forward to more info on the Caribbean.

Neil
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground
 
Gib
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 5:01 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sun May 16, 2004 4:18 am

Gentlemen.....

Consider this a STUPID response/post, but just go to the Turks & Caicos Islands (preferabaly MBPV/PROVIDENCIALES) and retire.......then you will no longer have ANY worries in the WORLD!! Believe me....THE most BEAUTIFUL place in the free WORLD!

Gib
 
captaink
Posts: 3987
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Sun May 16, 2004 9:41 am

Caribbean Star the JetBlue of the caribbean. Very interesting analogy. But it does make perfect sense coming to think of it.

Caribbean Star was not expected to last as long as it did, when looking at previous Caribbean airline startups. But they have a great financial backing, and are becoming quite of a household name in many islands.

Caribbean star isn't doing too badly in terms of passenger loads and maybe profitability, I haven't heard about whats really going on in their books. LIAT as messed up as their finances seem to be, are lucky to have some really diehard LIAT fans. There are some people in the region, and I can speak for Grenada, who would not leave LIAT for Caribbean Star. You find that LIAT has a bigger business passengers base from certain islands. THey close relationship with BWIA also is a benefit. On certain tickets/fares passengers have choices between actually flying BWIA or LIAT. Caribbean Star looses points, because it doesn't have interline agreements with other caribbean carriers. I prefer to fly Caribbean Star any day though. I think their overal product is much more appealing.

I agree with everything that has been said about BWIA. BUt like LIAT they have a diehard customer base. They will be around for a while, especially if left up the Trinidadian government. I honestly believe they will not allow BWIA to go under. I understand that BWIA is currently not doing too badly on meeting monthly operating costs. But past debt still has its hold on them.

I am a major BWIA fan. I loved flying on their old birds too, especially the MD83. Their new 737's arent too bad, but I think they are not taking great care of them. I dont like to see all the pen marks on the seats and panels. I havent flown on their A340 but dying to.

There is something special about planes....
 
BWIA 772
Posts: 1613
Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:33 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Mon May 17, 2004 11:22 am

Hi WestIndian 425
I miss when BWIA 425 was JFK POS BGI i dont know when it change but for sure it did.


LIAT despite all of its problems controls about 70% of the market in the caribbean so the customers are really diehard LIAT fans. Caribbean Star has some problems too. Star was also rumored to be operated at a substantial lost.

CaptK I have flown on TJN and the aircraft is really quiet, it is still has the Air Canada Interior and the seats are not as comfortable as those on the 737s. The green colour of the seats for me is just an over kill for me. I want to travel on JIL.
Eagles Soar!
 
captaink
Posts: 3987
Joined: Wed May 23, 2001 10:43 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Mon May 17, 2004 1:19 pm

Hey BWIA772,

From the new BW DVD I realized that it was indeed AC F/C cabin. Is economy like that too? What interior does JIL sport? I really hope it isn't in VS multicolor, cause that may not work well with BW.

What do I miss? BW 426/427 from GND to JFK with stops in BGI both ways. I did that flight once on the MD-83. Also did GND to JFK in the early morning through UVF and through ANU another time. Basically I really miss BW and their scheduled jet services to GND.
There is something special about planes....
 
globetrekker
Posts: 800
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2003 10:51 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Mon May 17, 2004 2:31 pm

Well I what I know is about the Dutch Caribbean. This includes six islands: Aruba (AUA), Bonaire (BON), Curaçao (CUR), St. Maarten (SXM), Saba (SAB) and St. Eustatius (EUX).

What I noticed is the expansion of the Exel Aviation Group in the Dutch Caribbean. http://www.exelaviationgroup.com/?lang=en

It started when BonairExel (9H) stationed itself on Bonaire to feed KLM's flight from other Dutch Caribbean islands. This is the same company that operates KLM exel in The Netherlands. KLM did all for the ticket sales and ground handling for the flight. BonairExel is concentrating on flight between the Dutch islands and later MIA.

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Now after de demise of Air Holland of the Netherlands and Sobelair of Belgium, the Exel Aviation Group took over some of their assets and started to operate as charter airline under the names: HollandExel and BelgiumExel to various tourist destinations in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

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Very soon a new partner will start operating within the Exel Group and that will be ArubaExel. They will mainly concentrate their flight to Latin America and as the name already says, it will be based in Aruba.


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Because their is a big market for flight operating between the Dutch Caribbean and The Netherlands, they will start a new company Dutch Caribbean Exel and they will initially operate flight between AMS-CUR and later AMS-Aruba and AMS-SXM, taking over where Air Holland left off. The strange thing in this situation is however that they will be competing directly with one of their partners, namely: KLM. The ArubaExel and BonairExel flights will no longer function as a feeder to KL, but as one to Dutch Caribbean Exel.

But their is more: The Exel Aviation Group is also interested in taking over Windward Island Airways, simply known as Winair, based in SXM to carry out flights between SXM to Saba and St. Eustatius. If everything goes as planned it will operate under the name StMaartenExel, with Twin Otters.

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KLM (the company I work for) is continuing their flights to Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (ABC Islands) and SXM, with a mix of MD-11 and 747-400 aircraft. The flight to BON are just tail-end flights with continuing service to Quito and Guayaquil in Ecuador and Lima in Peru.

I do not know what will happen to flights to SXM from CDG and AMS by KL and AF respectively, but time will show if one or both airlines will continue to operate the route. At this time KL serves SXM twice-weekly with a 747-400, continuing to CUR and AF has daily service.

As for Dutch Caribbean Airlines (ex-ALM Antillean Airlines), operating out of CUR to destinations like AMS, MIA, SXM, BON Aruba etc. well let's just say it is a complete mess with that company. This is my personal opinion: I do not think it will survive for long!

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GlobeTrekker.
The World Is A Book And Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only A Page
 
voodoo
Posts: 1959
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2001 12:14 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Mon May 17, 2004 7:00 pm

I would like to see POS linked to LAX and possibly South Africa. In fact, POS could be a decent stop for SAA if it was too ambitious for BWIA.



[Edited 2004-05-17 12:05:49]
` Yeaah! Baade 152! Trabi of the Sky! '
 
westindian425
Posts: 729
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 7:46 am

RE: How's Things In The Caribbean Aviation World?

Mon May 17, 2004 11:00 pm

Great Posts, Guys!!

I'm learning a lot so far. Now here's a question:

What about flights between the Netherland Antilles and the Leeward/Windward Islands? Is it just the language barrier? Or does it not have enough business potential? I know that there is (or used to be) flights between POS and either Curacao or Aruba, but that seemed to be it. What about the other islands (UVF/SLU, BGI, GND, ANU, FDF, DOM, etc.)? Couldn't there be a potential for these routes to even serve in a hub-and-spoke network to further destinations in North America, South America, and Europe?

I like the idea of flights to South Africa and Los Angeles (and would also suggest Houston) by BWIA, but I think that would require some more A340's (except for Houston, which the 738 could handle).

What say you?

Neil
God did not create aircraft pilots to be on the ground

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