Perhaps the greatest comedy of errors on this side of the world was that concerning Carib Express. In 1994 a consortium of businessmen in association with British Airways and the Governments of Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, Barbados and Dominica got together to form a new regional airline, originally called "Project Sunshine". The impetus for it came from the Governments' dissatisfaction with the service provided by the long-existing regional airline LIAT (of which all 5 Governments were shareholders!) and their perception that this dissatisfaction also existed among travellers. Certainly LIAT had had a reputation for late flights and lost luggage (hence the nicknames "Leaving Island Any Time" and "Luggage In Another Territory") but, rather than try to sort out its problems, the islands jumped at BA's grand idea to the dismay of Antigua and Barbuda, in which LIAT is based and Trinidad and Tobago, joint largest shareholders with 15% (Barbados also held 15% at the time).
Carib Express (IM) was launched in April 1995 and started operations from its BGI hub to GND, SVD, SLU and DOM using BAe 146-100s - 3 of them. It then rapidly expanded its network to POS, TAB, ANU, CCS and GEO. For a while things seemed well but rumours circulated about the airline being in considerable financial difficulty. By late 1995 IM had grounded one of its jets (then subleased it to a European operator), dropped one of its shareholder destinations (DOM, along with TAB and ANU) and was laying off many of its staff. By January 1996 IM was searching desperately for a turboprop aircraft to serve the inter-island routes and had cut back service to one daily POS-BGI flight with links to SVD, GND and SLU with a weekly GEO flight. It tried unsuccessfully to get onto the lucrative POS-CCS route in February 1996. By June 1996 IM was gone from the sky, its only -146 grounded and it was reduced to providing ground handling services at BGI (which it still does).
Why did IM fail? The reasons are many. First, IM overestimated and poorly judged the Caribbean marketplace. Intra-Caribbean air services feature rather steady volumes of passenger traffic which flow along trunk routes (EG POS-GND, GND-BGI, GND-SVD); IM's attempt at hub-and-spokes operations from BGI was thus doomed to fail, as the interconnecting island flights were missing. At the same time, passenger loyalty to LIAT, with its long presence in the marketplace and its well-known schedules featuring trunk-route operations, proved impossible for IM to break. Indeed, LI actually shaped up its operations and ended up very well-run at that time and even earned its first profit while IM floundered. Furthermore, the massive increase in passenger capacity made available by IM was simply too much for the market to absorb.
Furthermore, IM's use of the BAe-146 jets was a major mistake. The short, up-and-down inter-island flights have always proved most economical to be serviced by turboprop aircraft, such as the Dash 8s LI uses. The 146s consumed much larger quantities of fuel and were very expensive to operate on the low-volume hops, thus adding to IM's financial woes. As a result, the frequency of flights was reduced very rapidly. IM's attempts to dovetail its services with BA in Barbados was also problematic; BA usually flies into BGI in the afternoon, meaning that IM flights to other islands were predominantly in the evening and night when Caribbean passengers are known to be diurnal in their flight patterns. Finally, IM's overenthusiastic expansion created a major strain on the carrier's resources and further complicated matters.
So, after all of that occurred within a 2-year period, IM bit the dust and is now a figment of Caribbean aviation history while LIAT is very much alive and well.
As for Ed Acker... well, he nearly ran BWIA into the ground after ruining Pan Am. That is another story though.