Caribbean Airlines London service takes off today
The inaugural flight of Caribbean Airlines’ Limited (CAL) to London takes off today as flight BW
902 at 7.15pm using the B-767 aircraft. Checks revealed that the aircraft is 60 per cent booked with tickets costing about TT
$7000 but with hours to go before take off there are vacant seats in all classes.
Garvin Nicholas T&T’s High Commissioner to London, will not be attending the inaugural ceremony at Gatwick airport, London. In an interview with the Guardian, Nicholas said he was aware the flight was scheduled to arrive on Friday. “CAL decided to have a low-keyed reception since they are probably concentrating on service first, once up and running they would look toward having major celebrations,” he said.
Sources at CAL said the celebrations were “cut back” and the ceremony would be conducted by the marketing department of the airline. Guardian also understands no other dignitaries will be attending the ceremony. Ramesh Lutchmedial, Director General of Civil Aviation said there were no issues with the B-767 aircraft that CAL plans to use for the route. Lutchmedial added that routine checks were done yesterday and more would be done today (Thursday) before the flight leaves for London. He said the checks include a physical inspection of the aircraft.
Wayne Rodriguez, president of the Travel Agents Association of T&T said he was not surprised that the flight is not sold out. Rodriguez said CAL needed to rebuild the London route therefore, in the beginning the load will be low. He is hopeful that Olympics 2012 would be able to assist in building an interest for the destination as the overall travel market continues to remain low.
Opposition Leader, Dr Keith Rowley said: “This is an ill-conceived expansion and it has no sustainable future, but to be a reimposed drain on the Treasury at a time of chronic budgey deficits. I guess it will continue until once again we will come to a point where we can stand the haemorrhaging no more.” How profitable would this route be for CAL?
According to www.centreforaviation.com:
“While Trinidad and Tobago has a larger share of business traffic (than Jamaica), it seems risky to launch such an expensive long-haul proposition after attempts by Air Jamaica and Caribbean’s predecessor BWIA to operate transatlantic flights were less than stellar. British Airways, with an extensive feeder network, is already entrenched in the London Gatwick-Port of Spain route, offering daily flights through a stop-over in St Lucia.
Caribbean is already starting out unreliably, having altered its schedule after encountering certification obstacles that should have been factored into its launch plans.” In November 2006, the announcement was made that the airline would trade in its Heathrow spots to British Airways in favour of a code-sharing agreement with British Airways to Gatwick.
You are said to be a good pilot when your take-off's equal your landings.