Posts: 1281
Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 1:44 am

Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 11:33 am

I've been hearing reports that both of these shutdown. Any info on whats going on and who's picking up the slack? Should we be looking at increased POS-MIA service by BW, as the Air Caribbean flight is stopped. (I'm hoping for a BW restartup of the ANU-MIA route as AA's service on it is quite bad)

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 11:37 am

What does AA use for Antigua out of MIA? A 30 year old 727-200? Thats probably better than from SJU where crap AA prob uses an ATR.
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 1:44 am

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 11:57 am

Yeah, but what does BW use on their North American flights? An MD-80 or a brand new 737-800. And then there is the case of the meals: AA: yoghurt and bagel. BW: Eggs, Ham or Bacon, Bread etc. BW knows what they are doing, although they could improve on ontime performance. Oh, and don't get me started on the Eagles. Even LIAT is better. I regularly fly ATL-ANU (BW new route soon, yeah) and I usually take the back road and so ATL-MBJ-KIN-ANU on JM/BW because AA sux and AA charges more. I wish CO had a more favorable schedule to provide for connections from the East USA (now a 0750 departure). One other thing I really don't get is why ANU keeps on denying route rights (ECXpress, BWExpress, Helen Air, I think Gulfstream International) if they are trying to make ANU into a regional hub. They need to understand that with the state LIAT is in, ANU will not be a regional hub until one of the following happens: 1) LIAT gets a clue. 2) Caribbean Star gets enough planes, route rights, ticketing arrangements, and reputation. 3) They give more route rigths to other airlines. The one thing that makes LIAT so damn bad is their baggage allowance: 20KG for anyone. This means you cant take those 2 pieces that you can bring on the long haul flights onto LIAT into the small islands. Also, I believe that if LIAT is to survive, they need to do major codesharing with someone, or just plain merge into BWExpress. Tat alliance with TX/Winair just isn't gonna cut it. Thy have a head start over Star, but if they don't start acting global, they are going to end up flying to Redonda (i.e. straight into a big wall)

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 12:00 pm

TW will begin weekly ANU service from JFK in November.
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Joined: Mon Oct 23, 2000 1:44 am

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 12:04 pm

Yeah I should know, being the one who told you of them. Then again weekly service with an MD83 isnt so hot. The need something more direct, from either MCO or FLL, or get Gulfstream to fly from SJU. Also, AA needs to get some of those RJs down to San Juan pronto!

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Tue Oct 24, 2000 3:47 pm

The writing has been on the wall for Air Caribbean for a very long time now - they have had a B737 impounded by the company that did their hushkit installation due to non-payment of their previous bill; and had run out of Darts for their YS11s.

Unfortunately, people don't seem to understand that for new airlines, competing on price alone doesn't work when you're up against the majors, as they can afford to sell rock bottom fares and wait until the startup has evaporated as quickly as it arrived.
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Joined: Sun Apr 23, 2000 6:02 pm

RE: Air Caribbean And Air Aruba Shutdown

Fri Oct 27, 2000 1:38 am

The Caribbean seems to be inhospitable for its local air carriers. Air Caribbean gone, Air Aruba gone and Air Jamaica dropping its heavily-promoted KIN-BGI-POS route, all in one week. What a situation!

I will tell you more about Air Caribbean (C2). C2 was formed in 1993 by Leslie Lucky-Samaroo to run the domestic Trinidad-Tobago (POS-TAB) sector. It had won the exclusive right to the route over several other bidders, including LIAT. From the start it has had a rough relationship with its big neighbours BWIA. BW decided to relinquish the local sector because it found it uneconomic to service the route with the MD83s, which were the smallest planes in its fleet at the time. However, when BWIA actually ended service in August 1993 (by which time a leased Air Ontario Dash 8 100 was flown), they protested their limitation to 15% of the market (only 1 flight daily) and hence the tug-of-war began.

Air Caribbean experienced delays in getting its first 3 YS11s so a leased Dash 7 inaugurated the service. Subsequently C2 expanded service on the route when the YS11s came, with 8 daily roundtrips and more on busy weekends and holidays. With the increased capacity and on-time performance the route experienced a surge of growth; the hitherto languishing route thus became very strong. C2 however objected to the controlled fares on the route; although they got an increase in fare from TT$240 to $300 (one TT dollar= 17 US cents) it was not as much as they had hoped for. Meanwhile BWIA was eventually barred from the local route altogether, much to the chagrin of those who felt that their airlift could have helped out during the peak times. A war of words between the 2 carriers ensued, a war which continues today.

C2 decided to expand to the region in 1996 and, with the 6 YS11s they had obtained by then, opened service to Grenada and Barbados in 1997 and shortly thereafter to Georgetown, Guyana. They introduced low fares and open seating arrangements with a no frills service - only US$99 to any of the destinations, compared to, say, US$150 to Barbados on BWIA for 7 days or less. Additionally they linked Tobago to Barbados in cooperation with Danish charter Premiair. Their main ambition by that time, though, was flying to MIA with a fleet of 737-200s which they were acquiring. It was this shift of focus from being a strong regional carrier to flying internationally which cost them dearly and has floored them. It was also alleged by many that they were trying to subsidize their cheap regional flights by demanding more from domestic passengers.

Anyhow, T&T suffered under FAA Category 2 status at that time so that only BWIA could fly to the US. When that was lifted in 1997-8 C2 moved ahead and developed the MIA route, which took off in January 2000. The 2 737s received (the third was impounded and never came to POS as far as I know) had by then taken over the BGI and GEO routes and only 3 of the 6 YS11s were active; 2 were flown at a time on a rotating basis. The low US$299 fare charged by C2 was immediately matched by BW and AA, the competitors on the route.

Despite all of this show, C2 had serious problems. Its fleet was very old and inefficient and engine difficulties had grounded half of the YS11s. The impounded 737 was held because a hushkit upgrade had not been paid for. BW had launched BWee Express, a feeder service serving the nearby islands from POS, which ate into C2's regional business. In fact BW Ex started 3 flights into Grenada daily, causing C2 to cut from 2 daily to 3 weekly. Meanwhile BWee was gradually weaned back onto the domestic route from 1998 and, with the loss of the C2 monopoly in 2000, flew 4 daily flights.

C2 thrived in Georgetown; its low fares were a hit with the small traders who frequently fly between both countries. Barbados also fared reasonably well as a destination for them but MIA was not a success; by early October C2 had cancelled their daily MIA flight. The cash flow problems escalated from there, leading to First Citizen's Bank calling in the receiver this Monday. FCB had financed the 737 purchase.

C2 was done in by its persistent low fares despite spiralling costs and its old fleet. It also proved unable to withstand BWee's competition. POS thus loses 13 daily flights and much of its claim to being a regional hub - what is a 1-airline hub after all?

So long, Air Caribbean.

Hop to it, fly for life!

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