Last updated: 2006-02-12

Caribbean-Based Airlines

This is intended to be the most comprehensive list of Caribbean-based airlines. This first column is the 2-character IATA code, the second is the 3-letter ICAO code, the third is the 3-letter IATA code for the main airport base, the fourth is the airline's name and the fifth is the fleet summary..

List of Caribbean-based airlines
    MHH Abaco Air    
  ABZ SPR Aero Belize    
    CZM Aero Ferinco

On 12SEP01, Aero Ferinco's Czech-built twin-engine LET 410 (XA-TAU) with 16 tourists, a Mexican guide and two pilots crashed killing all on board. The crash occurred just before 1700 near the village of Tinum shortly after taking off from Chichen Itza on a 40-minute return trip under a clear, sunny sky to Cozumel. The aircraft was flying at about 500 feet when it began turning onto a course requested by the air traffic controller, but did not stop turning and suddenly plunged to the ground. The pilot Jose Luis Romero had 7,100 hours flying time and co-pilot Aurelio Perez Escalante more than 1,000.

The tourists, all Americans, had arrived on a cruise ship and had taken the Aero Ferinco-chartered plane to see the Mayan Ruins in the southern Yucatan state.

The airline, based on Cozumel, flies in the Yucatan Peninsula to Guatemala and Cuba. It specialises in chartered air tours.

    STI Aero Inter    
RE ACU CUN Aerocancun    
7L CRN HAV Aerocaribbean


15NOV02 Aerocaribbean will launch Santiago de Cuba (SCU) to Santo Domingo (SDQ) on 18NOV02. The one-hour flight will operate with an ATR-42 on Mondays and Fridays.

Operates scheduled flights within Cuba using ATRs and charters to the Caribbean and South America. Cargo charters are operated to Canada, the Caribbean, Europe and South America.

President: Julian Alvarez

1 x Antonov-An-248
3 x Antonov-An-26
3 x ATR 42-300
1 x ATR 72-200
3 x Ilyushin II-18D
3 x Yakovlev Yak-40

QA CBE CUN Aerocaribe    
G3 AHG SDQ Aerochago Airlines Description
Operates cargo flights within the Dominican Republic and to Puerto Rico.

Formerly known as Aerotours Dominicano.

9D   SDQ AeroContinente Dominicana


10MAY03 Deal with Viva has fallen through.

01MAR03 Sold to Viva Airlines.

08OCT02 AeroContinente Dominicana launched services on 04OCT02 from Santo Domingo to Havana. Flights operate on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using the Boeing 737-200. These flights follow the launch of a Santo Domingo-Aruba service on 09AUG02, also on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It seems as if one aircraft is used for all flights, ie Santo Domingo-Aruba return followed by Santo Domingo-Havana return.

Startup carrier AeroContinente Dominicana plans on operating a pair of Boeing 737-200s on wet-lease from AeroContinente Chile, with which the Dominican carrier is holding discussions on cooperative marketing arrangements. These aircraft are registered CC-CJP and CC-CJR and plans are to operate daily service from Santo Domingo to both New York JFK and Miami. AeroContinente Dominicana is also in discussions with the owner of AeroContinente Chile, Peru-based Aero Continente, which is developing a hub in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo, Havana.

1 x Boeing 737-200
  AZM CZM Aerocozumel    
    HEX Aerodomca (Aeronaves Dominicanas) Private Charter Service  
  GTV HAV Aerogaviota

Headquartered at Baracoa Military Air Base some 10 miles from Havana. Although it is incorporated as a private company, it is staffed completely by military personnel and is 100 per cent state-owned.

Operates domestic passenger charters for the Cuban national tourist authority as well as private airplane rental services to foreign businessmen.

These include Baracoa, Cayo Largo and Varadero.

12 x Antonov-An-26
9 x Antonov-An-268
1 x Antonov An-30
3 x ATR 42-300
4 x Yakovlev Yak-40
15 x Mil Mi-8-P

BQ ROM SDQ Aeromar Airlines

28JUN03 Aeromar will inaugurate service from Santo Domingo to four destinations using the Boeing 737-300 operated by another carrier. On 10JUL03, Aruba and onto Caracas will be served on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On 29JUL03, it will be Curaçao on the same days. Then on 15AUG03, it will be Havana on Mondays and Fridays.

10MAY03 Aeromar has returned permanently their leased 767-300ER from Air Atlanta. Aeromar will also reduce their JFK-SDQ (Santo Domingo) frequencies from twice-daily to daily on 03JUL03 and from daily to four weekly flights on 18SEP03. Aeromar will also go from daily to four weekly flights on the Miami-SDQ route on 04SEP03.

21DEC02 Aeromar is celebrating its first year flying to New York, having transported 100,000 passengers there from Santo Domingo, Santiago and Puerto Plata. Having chosen the worst moment to start -- right after the tragic events of 11 September and the AA587 crash, they only had a Boeing 727 with capacity for 170 passengers, which resulted in lots of luggage getting left behind. Little by little, however, the situation improved and today Aeromar passengers fly on wet-leased Boeing 757s and a 767s with increased capacity for 200 and 232 passengers respectively and more luggage. There are three daily flights from Santo Domingo (two operated by Icelandair with the 757, one operated by Air Atlanta with the 767-300) and two daily flights from Santiago (operated by Air Atlanta with the 767).

The airline pays commission to the travel agencies and has a special plan to encourage senior travelers. There are plans next year to start a frequent flyer club and incorporate first-class seats. Aeromar says that it challenged the "monster" American Airlines with service, with moro, mangú and Dominican flight attendants who cared for the passengers in a special way. The airline aims to transport 200,000 passengers in 2003.

23NOV02 Aeromar axed its service between Puerto Plata and New York Kennedy two days ago. However, a second daily service commences today between Santo Domingo and New York Kennedy using a Boeing 767-300 wet-leased from Air Atlanta.

27JUL02 From 08SEP02, Aeromar will add a Thursday and Sunday flight from Santigo to New York Kennedy to make it a daily service. Flights will be operated by Icelandair using the Boeing 757 on a wet-lease basis. Incumbents on this route are American (4 flights a day),

24MAY02 Aeromar yesterday inaugurated a service from Santo Domingo to San Juan and from San Juan to Puerto Plata. The flights operate four times a week using a wet-leased Boeing 727 of Planet Airways.

03APR03 Aeromar will on inaugurate the following flights from New York Kennedy to Dominican Republic using a wet-leased 727 from Falcon Air Express.

On 24MAY02: Santiago on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

On 25MAY02: Puerto Plata on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Flights will return the following day.

These flights will supplement those to Santo Domingo from JFK (five weekly) and Miami (three weekly).

The US DoT approved in July 1999 a one-year initial exemption for Aeromar to engage in scheduled foreign combination service between Santo Domingo and San Juan, Puerto Rico, but only under wet-lease with a carrier certificated by DOT.

Aeromar began scheduled passenger service between Santo Domingo and Miami in November 1998 and has also operated scheduled cargo service on this route for some years. Passenger Punta Cana and Puerto Plata flights are also now operated into Miami. All passenger flights are operated under a wet-lease agreement with Falcon Air Express using a Boeing 727.

Aeromar has been operating cargo services since 1968.

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations: Miami, New York Kennedy, Santo Domingo, Santigo

President: Rayan Polanco

  CNI CYO Aerotaxi

18MAR02 On 14MAR02, a chartered Antonov AN-2 (CU-T1020) was on a flight from Cienfuegos to the island of Cayo Coco when it broke up in midair at about 3,000 feet and crashed at about 1630 into a dam in central Cuba about 165 miles (265 km) east of Havana. All on board - two crew members and 14 passengers - were killed. The victims comprised a German couple, four Cubans, four Britons and six Canadians, including two children. A preliminary investigation indicated that the top part of the left wing was ripped off in high winds, causing the aircraft to spiral down out of control.

Although it was the first accident involving an An-2 in 41 years of use in Cuba, a 100 such aircraft, all run by the state and mainly used for transporting tourists and crop-spraying, were grounded during investigations.

The single-engine AN-2, first flown in 1947, is the world's largest biplane. More than 18,000 were built in the Soviet Union and Poland and several thousand remain in service around the world. The aircraft are not certified for commercial service in Canada or the United States.

Based at Cayo Largo and Varadeo, state-owned Aerotaxi operates basic services within Cuba and some Caribbean charters.

41 x PZL Mielec (Antonov) An-2
4 x Boeing (Douglas) DC-3

    FDF Air Alize Charter cargo from Antigua and Ostend.  

10SEP01 After extensive negotiations, Air ALM has wet-leased with effect from 11SEP01 64-seat ATR-72s from American Eagle for one month. The aircraft will be used to operate from Curaçao four daily flights to Bonaire and two daily flights to Aruba. Air ALM has a Dash 8-300 and an MD-82 in C-check and two Dash 8-300s grounded by its lessor, leaving the airline with only one Dash 8-300 and two MD-82s. This is causing capacity problems especially on the routes from Curaçao to Bonaire and Aruba.

The bankrupt airline is due to be dissolved in September 2001 and replaced by Dutch Caribbean Airlines.

The Island Territory of Curaçao quietly took over Air ALM's assets for 28 million guilders (US$15.7m) on 03MAY01. During an extraordinary meeting of the Executive Council, it was agreed that the airline's possessions, including the planes, would be purchased from the Central Government in an executorial sale. That sale was the result of the attachment placed on the company's assets by the Island Receiver on 17APR01 because of a tax debt of 44.3 million guilders (US$24.9m). This was followed on 07MAY01 by the Federal Receiver which slapped a lien on the airline's assets to protect itself against an outstanding debt of about 20 million guilders (US$11.2m) the airline owes the Central Government. The Federal Receiver and the Island Receiver, both preferential creditors, have agreed to proportionally divide the assets valued at 28 million guilders (US$15.7m).

Air ALM is in desperate financial trouble with debts of over 260 million guilders (US$103.4m), and had asked the government to provide the 40 million guilders (US$15.9m) to reorganise the airline and prepare it for privatisation.

In a bid to capture a share of the 700,000 passengers who travel between Europe and the Netherlands Antilles each year, Air ALM launched on 10DEC00 twice-weekly flights from Amsterdam to Curaçao using an MD-11 wet-leased from Belgian carrier Citybird in a 35/335 Business/Economy class configuration.

On 09NOV00, flights between Port-au-Prince and Miami were re-started, 6/week using an MD80.

In October 2000, the local Netherlands Antilles government announced the airline's privatisation and will retain a 20% stake. Private investors from the Netherlands Antilles will have 30%, overseas investors 30%, employees 10% and the remainder will be allocated. BWIA CEO Conrad Aleong is offering to bid along with a private investor.

In July 2000 ALM said it will eliminate 120 of 900 jobs, apply a fuel surcharge, reduce flight attendants, increase monthly pilots' flight hours from 55 to 80 and postpone painting their new name on the aircraft livery in order to reduce losses. This is part of Operational Plan 2000 whose aim is to reduce ALM's huge losses to one million guilders per month during 2000 on the way to profitability. Cuts in staff costs are planned to deliver approximately eight million guilders in reduced costs, while an additional six illion guilders in cost reduction will be achieved through better planning and efficiency in all departments and in particular the Maintenance Department.

On operations, the plan calls for the elimination of non-profitable routes and reduction of frequencies on routes that will not function without additional feed. Effective June 1, 2000 flights to Atlanta were axed and there were fewer flights to Maracaibo, Kingston, Bonaire and San Juan. The ending of the cooperation agreement with Martinair made it necessary to reduce the number of cabin attendants, while another reduction in this same group is imperative when the agreement with KLM expires in April 2001 after 21 years. ALM is planning to lay off 129 employees, half of its ground handling staff of 224 and 17 from the catering department. The lay offs are the direct result of the KLM ending its cooperation with ALM. Management expects a turnover loss of between 35 and 40 per cent as a consequence. The union NAPLB is conscious of the problem, but wants to present a counter proposal.

ALM has been spurred into action by its major shareholder, the cash-strapped Netherlands Antilles government, which has told the airline that it must make it on its own.

Pass: ALM offers a 30-day Caribbean Airpass

Alliances: WINAIR

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations: Curaçao, Santo Domingo

President & CEO Mario Evertsz

    AXA Air Anguilla

On 23AUG98, Air Anguilla flight 947 crashed in Dominica killing all 10 passengers on board and the pilot, Nigerian national Chris Elbouda. It was the worst crash in Dominican history.

The Air Anguilla Cessna 402 had been chartered by Dominican airline Cardinal Airlines to fly from St Maarten to Dominica's Melville Hall, but crashed into the mountains at Marigot on approach to Melville Hall.

Two years later, compensation still had not yet been paid to the victims' relatives.

Destinations (scheduled) Anguilla-St Thomas (Daily)

Destinations (charter) Anguilla to St Maarten, Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and San Juan.

3S   PTP Air Antillees Express

Description Guadeloupe-based carrier began operations in December 2002.

Destinations Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, St Martin (SFG)

FQ ARU AUA Air Aruba

On 23OCT00, Air Aruba suspended all operations after it was forced to return half its fleet to a lessor following a cash shortage. The carrier previously operated a fleet of six aircraft, but its three MD-90s were returned to Hwa-Hsia Leasing Ltd as payments were not made. Compounding its troubles, the airline has one MD-88 in the middle of C maintenance check and a second undergoing engine repairs. Both MD-88s are on lease from GE Capital Aviation Services. The sixth aircraft, a DC-9, is not hushkitted and cannot fly to US destinations.

The suspension occurs as traffic was growing and flights were pretty full for the winter season.

Air Aruba has not sought bankruptcy but says it is too early to determine if and when it will resume flights. However, four days after suspending flights, the US government suspended Air Aruba's licence to fly into the US and the Aruba government followed suit.

Aruba's Oranjestad airport has sued Air Aruba for $2.2 million in unpaid bills.

In July 1998, ASERCA Airlines of Venezuela took a 70% stake in FQ while the govenment of Aruba retained a 30% ownership in the airline.

LU   HEX Air Atlantic Dominicana    
  KLY PTP Air Calypso

Ceased trading.

Destinations: Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, St Martin

3 x Shorts 360-300
TX AGU PTP Air Caraïbes

31OCT03 Air Caraïbes will launch its first long-haul service from Paris Orly to Fort de France on 13DEC03 and to Pointe-à-Pitre on 14DEC03. Flights to Fort de France will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, flights to Pointe-à-Pitre will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. All flights will use the Airbus A330-200. It is not known who is the operator of the flights.

There will be three cabin classes: Madras, Caraïbes (Economy Plus) and Sun (Economy).

02DEC02 Air Caraïbes will launch a Santo Domingo-St Maarten service on 16DEC02. There will be three flights a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using a 50-seat jet Embraer ERJ 145. The flight takes 50 minutes. Flight TX7865 will depart Santo Domingo (SDQ) at 1055 and arrive in St Maarten (SXM) at 1200. The return flight TX7864 departs at 1240 and arrives at 1345. There is a promotional fare of US$220 plus taxes.

01SEP01 Air Caraïbes will launch a Fort-de-France-Port of Spain-Cayenne service on behalf of Air France from 29OCT01 using the Embraer ERJ-145. Flights will be on Mondays and Fridays.

Twenty people died after an Air Caraïbes DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed on 24th March 2001 into a house on the "Col de la Tourmente" in the upmarket French holiday island of St Barts killing all 19 adult people on board (17 passengers and two pilots) and a elderly man in the house. The man's wife was injured.

Flight TX1601 was scheduled to leave at 1600 from Princess Juliana airport (SXM), St Maarten, for the 15-minute flight to St Jean airport (SBH), St Barts, and crashed about 1,000 feet from the St Jean airport while on approach to the airport's Runway 10 in clear visibility at about 1630. The airport's runway is particularly short - about 2,170 feet - and pilots have to obtain a special DGAC certification to land there. Planes approaching the runway must make a quick descent and fly low over houses before landing. The airline has set up a crisis telephone number (00 33 590 211238) for worried friends and relatives and has chartered a plane to bring relatives from France to the crash site.

The airport's control tower gave the plane permission to land shortly before the crash. That was the last communication with the plane, which did not send out any distress signal. The aircraft had no cockpit voice recorder, which may hamper the accident investigation.

Most of the passengers are believed to be French, though there was an American woman, a Dutch woman, two Belgians and one person with dual French and American citizenship. A pilot from Guadeloupe was on board and another crew member, whose nationality was unknown.

The aircraft registration was F-OGES, construction number was 254 and the build date was 1969.

Air Caraïbes now has a timetable (see below) showing five daily departures from St Maarten to St Barts using 9-seat Cessna 208B Grand Caravans (Air Saint Martin's fleet of eight were acquired following its merger with Air Caraïbes). This is a much reduced schedule compared with the eight daily flights operated by Air Saint Barthelemy using 19-seat DHC-6 Twin Otters. Air Saint Barthelemy has also merged with Air Caraïbes.

  • TX1301 Depart 1300
  • TX1401 Depart 1400
  • TX1501 Depart 1500
  • TX1601 Depart 1600
  • TX1701 Depart 1715

The daily St Martin-San Juan service was started on 01FEB01, making it five daily flights from the Grand Case L'Esperance airport. TX decided on this new service after receiving news about the planned L'Esperance airport expansion.

The daily service into Union Island from St Vincent was axed after 14JAN01.

Formed through the merger of Air Guadeloupe (including its subsidiary Air Martinique), Air St Martin, Air St Barthelemy and Air Caraïbes in July 2000 using the name of the majority stockholder for the merged company, Air Caraïbes is now one of the bigger operator of regional flights although several aircraft and some routes were axed during 2002. The merger, strongly supported by island governments highly dependent on income from tourism, is expected to increase both regional traffic and connecting international arrivals from Europe and North America. Expansion is planned to Port of Spain, Santo Domingo, Brazil, Cuba and Guyana.

Air Caraïbes will also integrate its charter arm Caraïbes Air Transport.

All flights use the former Air Guadeloupe TX code.


Founding member of CaribSky

Main bases: Pointe-à-Pitre Le Raizet (PTP), Fort-de-France Le Lamentin (FDF)

Call Sign: French West

Destinations: Fort-de-France, La Désirade (DSD), Marie-Galante (GBJ), Pointe-à-Pitre, Santo Domingo, St Barthelemy (SBH), St Lucia George F L Charles (SLU), St Maarten (from 16DEC02), St Martin (SFG), Terre-de-Haute (LSS).

President: Eric Koury
CEO: Philippe Chevalier

4 x Fairchild Dornier 228-200
4 x Cessna Caravan
2 x ATR 72-500
2 x ATR 42-500
2 x Embraer ERJ 145

In August 2000, ordered six Embraer regional jets, with two ERJ-145s due in December 2000, two ERJ-170s due in September 2003 and two options.

XC CLT CUR Air Caribbean Adhoc cargo service from Curaçao.  
C2 CBB POS Air Caribbean

On 23OCT00, Air Caribbean was put into receivership by its major creditor, the government-owned First Citizens Bank, and all flights were cancelled until further notice. The bank had loaned the airline TT$100m (US$16m) to set up the airline in 1993. Also owing was TT$1.2 million (US$190,440) to the employees' pension plan. The airline's 300 employees face an uncertain future.

Flights between Port of Spain and Miami had already been suspended since late September.

One of the airline's three Boeing 737-200s has been reportedly seized by TACA Airlines which is owed US$1.4m for hushkitting the jet.

In June 2000, the US DOT granted Air Caribbean authority for service between Port of Spain and Orlando, via intermediate points Antigua, Barbados, Granada, St. Kitts and St. Lucia. Air Caribbean received a separate exemption for Georgetown, Guyana-Miami service via Port of Spain.

Started Miami to Port of Spain on 02FEB00, four times a week using 124-seat Boeing 727-200s, though payload-restricted to 80 seats (subsequently raised to 100).

Destinations: Barbados, Georgetown, Grenada, Miami, Port of Spain, St Lucia George F L Charles (from 28OCT00), Tobago

Chairman: Leslie Lucky Samaroo

3 x Boeing 737-200
1 x NAMC YS-11A-600 freighter
5 x NAMC YS-11A-500

    SJU Air Carolina

Charters from San Juan to BVI, USVI, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barts.

One of the only three companies in Puerto Rico capable and certified to handle emergency medical flights.

2 x Cessna
    NAS Air Charter Bahamas Miami-based operator specialising in private air charter service from Nassau to the Bahamas and Caribbean Islands.  
    STT Air Center Helicopters    
    HEX Air Century Private charters, sky photography  
    SJU Air Culebra    
H9   PAP Air D'Ayiti

15NOV02 Air D'Ayiti will increase its thrice-weekly service from Port-au-Prince to New York Kennedy to daily from 14DEC02-04APR03, after which it reverts to the previous frequency. All flights are operated by Falcon Air using a Boeing 727 on a wet-lease basis.

17MAY02 Air D'Ayiti is planning to resume operations on 15JUN02 by offering a daily service between Miami and Port-au-Prince. Flights will be operated on a wet-lease basis by Falcon Air using the Boeing 727-200.

Description aka Haïti Aviation. Charter airline launched in 1997 by Charles Voigt, used a Boeing 727 wet-leased from Allegro Airlines to operate 3/weekly Miami flights.

Its commuter shuttle Air d'Ayiti Express used to fly from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haïtien, Port-de-Paix, and Jérémie, but operations were suspended when its manager Antonin Voigt, brother of Charles, fled from a US Customs drugs bust in July 2000. Operations ceased in December December 2001.

Destinations: Miami, New York Kennedy, Port-au-Prince

Owner: Charles Voigt

TX AGU PTP Air Guadeloupe-Air Martinique Now merged into Air Caraïbes.  
GG GUY CAY Air Guyane

Operates scheduled flights within Guyane and charters to neighbouring countries. Bookings may only be made at the Air Guyane Voyages agency.

Destinations (domestic)
Cayenne, Maripasoula (MPY), Saul (XAU), St Georges de L'oyapock (OYP)

1 x ATR 42-500
1 x de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter series 300
  HJA PAP Air Haïti Operates cargo flights on an adhoc basis.  
JM JMX MBJ Air Jamaica

17APR05 Air Jamaica, which shocked the eastern Caribbean with its abrupt withdrawal of service on 18 March, will resume limited service on 17 April. On Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays there will be a Kingston-Barbados-Grenada-New York Kennedy service, with return flights the next day. Flights will be operated with a 150-seat Airbus A320. No service will be operated to St Lucia, even though this destination had had the greatest frequency with 12 weekly flights.

Noteworthy is the operation from Kingston rather than the Montego Bay base.

The woes of the airline had markedly increased earlier this year when the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority agreed with the Federal Aviation Administration that Air Jamaica had to observe a 15-month maintenenance rather than an 18-month maintenance schedule. The JCAA permitted the airline to operate 15 aircraft but Air Jamaica has been operating only 12. As the airline was operating 20 aircraft until recently, this suggests a huge maintenance gap between what the airline operated and what it could safely operate.

The airline has horrendous debts of over US$800 million, of which about half is due the government and its agencies. Some of the debt is in the process of being refinanced with guarantees provided by the Jamaica government.

The airline is seeking reducing costs in several ways, such as:

  • axeing destinations, including Manchester, Havana, Antigua and Houston
  • cutting the fleet, eg one Airbus A340 has been returned to the lessor
  • cutting staff, including pilots
  • obtaining guarantees from governments such as St Lucia and Barbados to pay for unfilled seats
  • reduction in landing fees.

23DEC04 Struggling Air Jamaica will pull out of Anigua again due to losses on the route. The airline currently operates a 150-seat Airbus A320 service four times a week from Montego Bay to St Lucia, Antigua and New York Kennedy, with the return flights the following day after an overnight stop at JFK. The last flight will leave JFK on 09JAN05.

Air Jamaica had restarted service to Antiigua in June 2002.

The Eastern Caribbean will then be served from Montego Bay to JFK on a daily basis with intermediate stops as follows:

  • St Lucia, Grenada (Monday, Wednesday, Saturday)
  • St Lucia, Barbados (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday)
  • Grenada, Barbados (Friday)

The Jamaica government recently disclosed that Air Jamaica had debts of US$560 million, of which US$236 million was owed to the government, and had lost US$682 million during its decade of privatisation. A team of management consultants had also projected that it would require about US$270 million in capital over the next five years.

It is now expected that the government will today regain sole ownership of the airline as its majority owner, the Gordon "Butch" Stewart-led Air Jamaica Acquisition Group (AJAG), will sell its 75 per cent shareholding back to the goverment. AJAG will also pay the airline (and therefore the government) US$20 million, and the goverment is expected to provide up to US$25 million in new loans to the airline as part of a restructuring plan. Chairman Butch Stewart and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Zacca are to resign with immediate effect and will be replaced by Dr Vin Lawrence and Aubyn Hill.

13NOV04 Air Jamaica is broke, owing its local bankers US$100 million and losing money as usual (it has costs of US$500 million a year but with passenger revenues at only US$440 million). In a bid to slash costs by US$50 million, the airline is to take some unpalatable steps. The oldest of the three Airbus A340s will be returned to ILFC, the lessor, upon the axing of two destinations (Manchester and Havana) and two of the current nine weekly Heathrow flights in February 2005.

The last of the twice-weekly flights from Manchester to Kingston will depart on 05FEB05, the last weekly flight to Havana will depart LHR on 07FEB05. And LHR will only see seven weekly flights after 18FEB05.

The two remaining A340s will be used on the LHR and JFK routes.

07JAN04 Air Jamaica will take over two routes from its subsidiary Air Jamaica Express. From Montego Bay, there will be a daily service except on Wednesdays from 29JAN04 to Grand Cayman (returning via Kingston), and there will be a daily service except on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 30JAN04 to Nassau. All flights will be operated with the 150-seat Airbus A320 and the 187-seat Airbus A321, replacing the 37-seat Dash 8s of Air Jamaica Express.

Both destinations had been dropped in 2002 because of declining passenger loads.

12OCT03 Air Jamaica has announced that it had completed its rationalisation programme which included the replacement of four Airbus A310 aircraft with more fuel efficient planes - one Airbus A320-200 (reported below) and three Airbus A321s - that would result in annual savings of J$1 billion (US$18 million). All are on lease from ILFC.

The airline now has a modern all-Airbus fleet of three widebody A340s and 17 narrowbody A320s and A321s.

26AUG03 Air Jamaica has leased an additional Airbus A320-200 from ILFC, thus bringing the number of this type in the fleet to 11. The aircraft is on a 10 and a half year lease and was delivered last month. It had been initially planned to lease to aircraft in November 2003.

11AUG03 Air Jamaica will launch service to Toronto on 05APR04, one day after the carrier's codeshare agreement with Air Canada is scheduled to end. The airline plans to operate daily service on a Kingston-Montego Bay-Toronto routing using Airbus A320 aircraft. This will represent a return to Canada for the first time in 13 years.

Air Canada still has its schedule of five weekly flights from Toronto into both Kingston and Montego Bay using Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

16JUN03 In an unusual move away from a code-share partner, Air Jamaica next month plans to relocate its operations from the Delta Terminal 2 at New York Kennedy to Terminal 4 to accommodate its growing operation. The move would come roughly at the same time as the rebranding of its first-class service.

The airline, which has served JFK for the past 34 years, has operated out of Terminal 2 since 1998. The carrier currently operates five daily return flights between Jamaica and JFK, and says it needs additional space to accommodate its schedule. Furthermore, T4 operates 24 hours per day and the Delta terminal does not. The terminal move will occur on 15 July.

Before that, however, the airline on 17 June plans to rename its first-class product Top Class and upgrade its meal service. Given that many competitors have downgraded their first-class products, the airline's goal is to distinguish its level of customer service. On its three-class long-haul Airbus A340 flights, the carrier will rename its business class Platinum Class and Economy Lovebird Class. The carrier plans to launch a new television advertisement on US cable stations and in specific markets such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and south Florida.

Like its competitors, Air Jamaica also struggles from weak revenues and traffic. Although low fares have kept up current load factors, overall bookings are still made at the last minute, including leisure traffic. Furthermore, autumn is coming, which historically is a very soft period.

24MAY03 Air Jamaica will axe its twice-weekly service from Montego Bay to Belize after 01JUN03. The route was inaugurated only last November.

02MAR03 Air Jamaica is planning to go to the market for US$35 million in another few months to cover an expected loss of the same amount this year. It is no surprise that Air Jamaica needs more money, having lost US$80 million in the 2002 financial year on a US$450 million turnover, not counting US$6 million in insurance or US$25 million in security. The airline has also seen a 10 per cent drop in UK traffic as a result of the decision by the UK government to impose visa restrictions on Jamaicans

Whilse Air Jamaica has been significantly affected by the fallout of 11 September (it carries 60 per cent of the traffic from the US to Jamaica), it has to be said that the airline has embarked on expansion whilst other carriers have been cutting back. Inevitably, yields have fallen as fares have had to be kept low to fill the aircraft. The bottom line is that revenues are not covering costs, resulting in more big losses.

The Jamaican government has had to support its national carrier since inception, and it is quite possible that more (reluctant) government guarantees will be needed to enable Air Jamica to get the funding it needs this year.

16JAN03 Air Jamaica, unable to obtain Heathrow slots for an additional Thursday service to serve mainly the Havana market, has opted instead to divert its existing Kingston Sunday flight (JM004) to Havana from 06APR03. The schedule will therefore be LHR-HAV-KIN. This will complement the existing Monday service to Havana.

07OCT02 Air Jamaica will double its frequency to twice-daily between Montego Bay and Los Angeles from 11APR03. Flights will be operated with the Airbus A320 with a 12 First/138 Economy configuration. The new daytime flights from Los Angeles will complement the current overnight flights. Schedule:

JM077 MBJ 1435-1825 LAX
JM076 LAX 0730-1515 MBJ

Los Angeles is a growing vacation market with more than 80 percent of all passengers being tourists.

28SEP02 Air Jamaica will inaugurate non-stop service from Montego Bay to Belize City on 21NOV02. Schedules as follows:

JM066 MBJ 1240-1330 BZE
JM067 BZE 1420-1705 MBJ

Flights will be operated on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays with the Airbus A321.

27JUL02 Air Jamaica will add a second daily service between Montego Bay and Chicago on 12FEB03 using the Airbus A320. The return flight, at 1335 compared with the current 0615, will enable more passengers to get same-day connecting flights from the Far East (especially Japan), Detroit, Vancouver, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. Schedule:
JM073 daily MBJ 0925-1230 ORD
JM072 daily ORD 1335-1840 MBJ

06JUL02 Air Jamaica has opted not to return its first A340 to the lessor. Instead, a daily A340 service was launched from Kingston to New York Kennedy on 28JUN02. The original Royal Jamaica First Class and Royal Jamaica Business Class cabins, with 12 and 28 seats respectively, have been renamed Premium First and First. The 254 Economy seating remains unchanged. The previous aircraft on the route had been the Airbus A310 with 18 First class and 200 Economy seats.

The A340 is the only 4-engine aircraft to fly between North America and the Caribbean, and looks an expensive overkill for an airline which is a perpetual money-loser.

Last week, Jamaican pilots Captain Marlene Smith and First Officer Melvina Anderson were at the controls of an Airbus A320 on a flight from New York Kennedy to Antigua, becoming the first all-female flight crew on an Air Jamaica international flight. The airline had launched the 3/weekly New York-Antigua-St Lucia-Montego Bay service on 20JUN02.

28APR02 Air Jamaica has signed a deal to take three new Airbus A321s and one new A320 from leasing giant International Lease Finance Corp. The A321s will be delivered in February, May and June of next year, while the A320 will arrive in November 2003. All four planes are powered by CFMI CFM56 engines and on 10-year leases. The two MD-83s will go, thus making the airline an all-Airbus operator.

06APR02 Air Jamaica will expand Montego Bay-Boston by adding a Wednesday flight on 17APR02 and a Tuesday flight on 25JUN02, thus making it a daily service. All flights are operated with the A320.

The route was launched in February 2001.

07MAR03 Air Jamaica is increasing flights from Montego Bay. From 19MAR, there will be an extra weekly flight to Curaçao (making it four times a week). And from 23MAR, there will be an extra weekly flight to Los Angeles (making it five times a week), with two more weekly flights added from 20JUN (making it a daily service). All flights are operated with the Airbus A320.

13FEB02 Air Jamaica will restore service from Montego Bay and New York Kennedy during this summer to Antigua, abandoned five years previously due to lack of financial support from the Antiguans, and add capacity to its other Eastern Caribbean destinations of Barbados and St Lucia. All flights will be operated with the Airbus A320 configured with 12 First and 138 Economy seats. JM is not selling MBJ-JFK or JFK-MBJ routed via the Eastern Caribbean.

From 20JUN-05SEP, there will be a Montego Bay-St Lucia Hewanorra-Antigua-New York Kennedy flight on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays, departing at 1250 in order to connect with inbound US flights. On the same days, another flight will leave JFK at 0700 on the reverse routeing.

Barbados will, from 20JUN, go from five times a week to daily. The routeing will be Montego Bay-Barbados-New York Kennedy, with another daily flight on the reverse route. The routeing up to 19JUN will be Montego Bay-St Lucia Hewanorra-Barbados-New York Kennedy, so Barbados will gain both a frequency and a capacity increase.

Grenada will get a doubling of flights to four a week from 21JUN with Montego Bay-St Lucia Hewanorra-Grenada flights, with flights leaving JFK on the same days on the reverse routeing.

Amidst all the changes, St Lucia will retain its daily flights from both MBJ and JFK, except that all flights will be shared with Grenada and Antigua instead of Barbados and Grenada.

11JAN02 Air Jamaica plans to restore its operations, curently 8-10 percent down since 11SEP01, to normal from April 2002. The reduced operation, which had peaked at 15 percent just ofter 11SEP, has cost Air Jamaica at least US$25-US$30 million in lost earnings.

Apart from the significant UK expansion already announced, the airline aims to launch flights to Belize in May 2002 and Washington DC in June 2002. The latter flights had been planned to start in mid-November 2001 but had not taken off.

Also planned is a doubling of the airline's Caribbean market which only accounts now for 3-5 per cent of its business.

10JAN02 Air Jamaica has scaled back its planned weekly flights between Jamaica and Heathrow from nine to eight next summer. Manchester flights will be twice-weekly as planned, so there will be 10 weekly UK flights (a doubling of existing frequency). The two A340s will therefore be under-utilised as 12 weekly flights are possible, though 11 flights are a sensible maximum.

Havana The situation on the Heathrow-Havana flights, although strangely not yet on sale, is now clear. One of the three weekly non-stop LHR-Kingston flights will, from 22APR02, be diverted on Mondays to Havana to carry Havana passengers in both directions. Here is the schedule:
JM004 1 LHR 1515-2000 HAV 2050-2130 KIN

Passengers who boarded in Havana to return to LHR will then have to change aircraft at Kingston:
JM003 1 KIN 2320-1430+1 LHR

So, although Air Jamaica will be operating the only scheduled flights from the UK to Havana after the pullout by British Airways after 30MAR02, returning passengers will have a long trip home of 12h 50m from Havana to LHR.

The airline is launching the Havana service after having struck a deal with tour operator Kuoni, which will be taking a large allocation of seats. Other tour operators are being signed up, essential as the route cannot be supported by the small seat-only traffic.

New A340s The two A340-300s (currently operated by Air Canada), which will be put into service on the LHR routes on 23MAR02 and 31MAY02, were ordered from lessor ILFC at the end of September 2001. This looks strange in view of the reduced demand for travel following the events of 11SEP but the airline, which had started negotiating with ILFC in June, decided to take advantage of the greatly reduced leased prices compared with before 11SEP. The current A340 will be returned three years early to ILFC in May 2002

The new A340s will have different cabin configurations compared with the current A340.

  • First class will still have 12 seats in a 2-2-2 configuration but the current sleeperettes will be replaced by flat beds, and the seat pitch will rise from 60in to 80in.
  • Executive class will have 14 seats (only half the current 28) in a 2-3-2 configuration but the seats will be sleeperettes and seat pitch will rise from 48in to 63in. The airline is hoping to fill these seats more easily than the currently under-occupied business class cabin.
  • Economy class will reduce slightly from 254 seats to 252 seats in a 2-4-2 configuration. Seat pitch will remain at 33in.

Curaçao After a 10-year absence, Air Jamaica will return to Curaçao on 22NOV01 with flights from Montego Bay on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturday. The Monday and Thursday flights will be operated with 187-seat A321s and the Saturday flights by 150-seat A320s.

10NOV01 From 31MAY02, Air Jamaica will launch a twice-weekly Kingston-Montego Bay-Manchester-Kingston-Montego Bay on Tuesdays and Fridays. Schedule:
JM005 25 KIN 1740-1820 MBJ 1910-1020+1 MAN
JM006 36 MAN 1220-1605 KIN 1645-1725 MBJ

With these Manchester flights, Air Jamaica will be operating 11 times a week to the UK, the other nine flights being LHR. These 11 flights will be the sensible maximum for two A340s, as an extra weekly flight would provide no contingency at all against delays.

08NOV01 From 23MAR02, Air Jamaica will launch Kingston-Heathrow-Kingston flights on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays using a second A340-300 (the first currently on order), with a Monday flight added from 22APR02. Flights will return the following day. These flights will supplement the existing five weekly LHR flights. The current A340 will be used up to 26MAY02 (LHR-MBJ) and then replaced by the second A340-300 currently on order.

There is, however, no selling yet of the weekly Heathrow-Havana flights from 22APR02 for Kuoni (to replace the axed British Airways flights) nor of the promised Manchester flights.

24SEP01 Air Jamaica lost US$11m shortly after the terrorist attacks in the US in September 2001, and will be one of the most concerned of the Caribbean carriers as it carries over half of US vistors to Jamaica from 13 US gateways. Cutbacks to the downturn in demand include the axeing of the twice-weekly Montego Bay-Phoenix service after 13th October 2001 and flight reductions to Houston, New York, Newark, Los Angeles, Barbados and St Lucia. Further blows, shared by all other carriers, include a big increase of 300 percent of its insurance rates and having to foot higher security bills to meet new standards being demanded by the US Federal Aviation Authority. It is now inconceivable that the airline can slash its losses - US$45m was lost in 2000 - and return to profitability by 2003 as planned.

03SEP01 Air Jamaica is planning to double its Airbus A340 fleet in a deal with leasing company ILFC. Air Jamaica would lease two Airbus A340-300s that were previously operated by Air Canada and would return its sole A340 - leased in June 1999 for six years - to ILFC ahead of time. The airline is looking to take delivery of the A340s in March 2002 and May 2002.

12AUG01 Air Jamaica will axe its four-weekly flights from Montego Bay to Panama City after 26AUG01, blaming the reduction in traffic on the stagnant local economy and the downturn in the US economy. COPA will be left as the only operator on the route. The route had been started on 23JUN00. It had actually been a relaunch as the airline had started Kingston-Panama City shortly after its Montego Bay hub launch in June 1997, but the flights had been axed after only a few months.

25JUN01 On 30JUN01, JM will add a weekly Saturday Montego Bay-Havana flight using a 150-seat Airbus A320, bringing its service to five flights per week on this route. CUBANA code-shares on these flights. These jet flights complement the daily turbo-prop flights (Montego Bay-Kingston Norman Manley-Havana) of subsidiary Air Jamaica Express.

16JUN01 JM will resume service from Montego Bay to Curaçao on 27SEP01 after a 10 year break. Schedules as follows : JM065 MBJ 1125-1405 CUR 1500-1540 MBJ JM064 .Flights will be operated with an Airbus A321 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Took delivery in June 2001 of a new Airbus A321 registered 6Y-JMH, replacing the smaller A320 on the Montego Bay-Philadelphia route. The aircraft is leased from GECAS for 10 years.

Air Jamaica will increase service to Barbados and Grenada with two additional weekly flights to both destinations from JFK and Montego Bay between 28JUN01 and 08SEP01. Barbados will therefore receive a daily flight from both JFK and MBJ (up from five per week) whilst Grenada will receive four flights a week from both JFK and MBJ (up from two per week). The Barbados flights will be non-stop four times a week in both directions, with the other three flights shared with St Lucia Hewanorra. This compares with the five current weekly flights which are all shared with St Lucia, resulting in about 600 extra weekly seats to Barbados in both directions. The four weekly Grenada flights will all be shared with St Lucia, which also means that St Lucia will retain its daily service in both directions.

Air Jamaica will launch a daily (except Tuesday) service from its Montego Bay hub to Washington Dulles on 15NOV01 using Boeing MD-83s configured with 12 seats in First and 135 seats in Economy. These flights will complement the existing daily Montego Bay-Baltimore/Washington flights operated by Airbus A310-300s.

Coinciding with the fifth anniversary of the relaunch of its Heathrow service in May 1996, Air Jamaica has upgraded its premium cabins on the Airbus A340-300 which is dedicated to the route. Seat pitch in Royal Jamaica First Class, which has 12 fully reclining seats, has increased from 58 inches to 60 inches. The Royal Jamaica Executive Class has been reduced from 35 to 28 seats, enabling a seat pitch increase from 40 inches to 48 inches. This new seat pitch is more in line with what the airline had in the two Airbus A310-300s which were used on the LHR route until replaced by the A340. The Economy cabin is unchanged with 251 seats.

The airline carried about 120,000 passengers between Jamaica and LHR in 2000.

A daily Houston-Montego Bay service will be launched on 07JUN01 using A320s. Houston will be the airline's 13th US point.

Montego Bay-Boston service was launched on 15FEB01 using an A320, initially six times a week, then daily from 28JUN01.

Air Jamaica axed its Kingston-Barbados-Port of Spain service after 22OCT00 after only four months due to increased competition from BWIA.

The Airbus A340-300 used for the Kingston/Montego Bay-Heathrow service was replaced by a Boeing 767-300ER operated by Citybird from 24OCT00-10NOV00 inclusive whilst the A340 underwent a C check.

In July 2000, the Jamaica government announced that it would increase its stake in JM from 25% to 45%, with the Butch Stewart-led Air Jamaica Acquisition Group reducing its holding from 75% to 55%.

At the same time, Parliament approved a guarantee for a US$45m loan to the airline, which will be used to pay down a US$33m short-term loan that the company acquired last year, as well as meet other operational costs. This US$45m is part of a US$100m longer term Government-guaranteed refinancing package which will be used to tackle well-documented cash flow problems and recapitalise the national carrier. The latest deal comes 18 months after Air Jamaica detailed its three-year business plan, which runs from 1998 to 2000, in which the national airline said it would need US$135 million on top of the US$114 million already laid out by the government. The airline has pushed back the date to profitability to 2003.

In January 2001, US$30m of the US$45m was paid to JM, thus enabling the airline to pay off part of the US$7m owed to the government in travel taxes.

It is estimated that the government has pumped upwards of US$150m into the airline and some of that, in the new arrangement, will likely to be converted to preference shares, giving the government first lien on any future profits from the airline from its ordinary and preference shares.

Description The airline employs 2,400 people (as at March 2001) and carries more than half of all airline passengers to Jamaica. Jamaicans at home account for 35 per cent of the airline's business, 60 per cent is taken up by foreign travel from outside the Caribbean with 3-5 percent in the Caribbean.

Alliances: Delta Air Lines

Pass: Caribbean Hopper Program

2002 ex-UK Schedules

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations: USA: Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, Belize (from May 2002), Boston (from 15FEB01), Chicago, Ft Lauderdale, Houston (from 07JUN01), Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix (up to 13OCT01), Washington Dulles (from February 2003). UK: London Heathrow, Manchester (from 31MAY02) Caribbean: Antigua (from 20JUN02-09JAN05), Barbados, Belize City (from 21NOV02-01JUN03), Bonaire (from June 1999), Curaçao (from 22NOV01), Grand Cayman, Grenada (from 03JUN99), Havana, Kingston, Montego Bay, Nassau, Panama City, St. Lucia Hewanorra

Chairman: Dr Vin Lawrence
CEO: Aubyn Hill

1 x Airbus A340-300 (F12/B28/E254)
2 x Airbus A340-300 (F12/B14/E254)
6 x Airbus A321-200 (F12/E175)
11 x Airbus A320-200 (F12/E138)


Air Jamaica Express

03MAY03 Air Jamaica Express relaunched flights to Nassau last month as Air Jamaica cut back its service to Nassau to just a Sunday flight. Air Jamaica Express flies from Kingston, daily non-stop except Sundays and four times a week one-stop via Montego Bay.

18NOV01 The existing flights from Montego Bay to Santo Domingo will, from 10DEC01, be routed via Port-au-Prince. Flights will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and will continue to be operated by Dash 8s.

Air Jamaica Express will introduce service to three new islands - Grand Cayman, Nassau and Santo Domingo. Flights to Grand Cayman (Mondays and Wednesdays from 30APR01) and Nassau (Fridays and Sundays from 18MAY01) will operate from Kingston Manley and complement Air Jamaica's existing jet services to these islands. (Air Jamaica uses the Airbus A320s and Boeing MD-83s to Grand Cayman from Montego Bay on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and from Kingston on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, and to Nassau from Montego Bay on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.) Service from Montego Bay to Santo Domingo from 30APR01 will be daily except Thursdays and will be the only scheduled service between the countries. All flights will operate with 37-seat Dash-8 aircraft.

The three Dash 8s were recovered in April 2001, having being subleased to collapsed carrier EC Express. These aircraft will help the airline to operate planned, additional flights into Nassau, Grand Cayman and the Dominican Republic as well as new destinations such as Haïti.

Air Jamaica Express will launch its first scheduled international flights -- Montego Bay-Kingston Norman Manley-Havana -- on 09NOV00 (daily except Wednesdays) and to Providenciales on 11NOV00 (five times a week). Flights will be operated with 37-seat Dash 8s. The Havana flights complement the existing 5/weekly Montego Bay-Havana jet flights.

The airline is a subsidiary of Air Jamaica.

Air Jamaica Express earned in 2001 roughly US$10 million a year, five times the revenue generated in its first year of operation in 1996. Easily Jamaica's largest domestic carrier, the airline carried in 2001 about 177,100 passengers (126,100 domestic, 51,000 international) compared with about 132,000 in 1997.

Pass: Caribbean Hopper Program

Destinations: Nassau (from April 2003), Boscobel, Grand Cayman (from 30APR01), Havana, Kingston Norman Manley, Kingston Tinson Pen, Montego Bay, Negril, Port Antonio, Port-au-Prince (from 10DEC01), Providenciales, Santiago de Cuba, Santo Domingo (from 30APR01)

Chairman: Gordon "Butch" Stewart
President and CEO: Timothy Coon

5 x De Havilland Dash 8 series 100

    SBH Air Mango    
5T MAG MBJ Air Negril A division of Runway Tours which was bought out by Jamaica AirLINK in November 1999.  
OJ BTH SBH Air Saint Barthelemy Now merged into Air Caraïbes.  
    SKB Air St Kitts & Nevis    
S6 ASM PTP Air Saint Martin Now merged into Air Caraïbes.  
ZP STT STT Air St Thomas aka Virgin Air 1 x Cessna 402
EX SDO HEX Air Santo Domingo

11MAY03 Air Santo Domingo has launched a double-daily service from its Herrera International (HEX) hub near Santo Domingo to San Juan's Isla Grande (SIG) using an 18-seat Beechcraft 1900. The flights will serve the large Dominican community in Santurce, cruise passengers in San Juan, as well as corporate travellers who prefer the convenience and proximity of Isla Grande to Luis Muñoz Marin.

Rates from Isla Grande vary between $200 and $275, depending on the season. These are the only 56-minute flights to Santo Domingo that serve food.

08NOV02 Air Santo Domingo will inaugurate two routes on 01DEC02, both using Boeing 757s wet-leased from Transmeridien Airlines.

There will be a double-daily service from Santiago (STI), DR to New York's JFK. Incumbents on the route are American (10 times a week), Aeromar (10 times a week) and North American (two times a week). Continental also flies daily from Newark to Santiago.

There will be a daily service from Santo Domingo to New York's JFK on 01DEC02 Schedules as follows: EX701 JFK 0800-1230 SDQ
EX702 SDQ 1410-1640 JFK

Incumbents on the route are American (thrice daily service), Aeromar (double daily) and North American (four times a week). Continental also flies daily from Newark to Santo Domingo.

29OCT02 Air Santo Domingo will inaugurate its first intercontinental operation with a daily dervice from Santo Domingo's Las Americas to Miami using a Boeing 727 wet-leased from Transmeridien Airlines. Incumbents on this route are American (four daily flights), Aeromar (one daily flight) and North American (three weekly flights).

09AUG02 Air Santo Domingo inaugurated on 25JUL02 a daily service from San Juan to Santo Domingo's Las Americas (SDQ). Flights are operated by Pace Airlines. These flights complement the existing thrice daily service (operated by owner SAP) between the airline's Herrera base and San Juan.

06SEP01 Having carried 46,114 passengers during January-August 2001, President Henry Azar said, "We are growing at a rate of 100% over year 2000, our first year of operation of the airline. Look for us to add frequencies in markets we currently serve, new routes and larger aircraft. Air Santo Domingo is emerging as an important player in the Caribbean airline market place."

Domestic Dominican Republic flights from Santo Domingo's Herrera and also to Puerto Rico (launched 20JUL 2000).

Description Air Santo Domingo was a venture of Dominican investors with Spanish airline Air Europa. The Spaniards pulled out when the governmental efforts lagged in eliminating the Category III status imposed by the US FAA that prevented Dominican flag airliners from flying to the US. The company was sold to the Grupo Servicios Aereos Profesionales in December 1999 that registered the airline in the US to get around the ban.

President: Henry William Azar

Destinations Arroyo Barril, Barahona, El Portillo, Herrera, La Romana, Miami (from 01DEC02), New York Kennedy, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, San Juan (SJU and SIG), Santo Domingo (from 25JUL02)

5 x LET L 410 UVF-E
1 x Beechcraft 1900
1 x Embraer 120

    OGL Air Services Ltd

On 17JUL00, an Air Services Ltd (ASL) aircraft crashed on the Essequibo Coast. It was piloted by the owner of the company Yacoob Ally and had four passengers on board. They all escaped unhurt. The Cessna 206 with the registration 8R-GMA was about to take off from the company's Spring Garden airstrip located about one and a half miles from Supenaam when the mishap occurred. According to the reports, the aircraft was racing at full power along the runway when it reached a bridge that is part of the airstrip and bounced on the incline. The Cessna veered slightly from the impact on the bridge and Ally, an experienced pilot, was apparently not in full control when it landed back on the airstrip. He could not stop the plane before running out of runway, reports stated, and the Cessna ended up in the adjacent rice field. The nose gear, wing and the propeller were badly damaged but the pilot and the passengers escaped with just the worst scare of their lives. Personnel from the Civil Aviation Department conducted investigations. The aircraft was dismantled and was lying at the airstrip.

Domestic Guyana flights

Owner: Yacoob Ally

4 x Cessna Stationair
1 x Cessna Stationair II (Amphibian)
3 x Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander
1 x Piper Seneca II (executive)
1 x Cessna 310P (training)
    KTP Airspeed Jamaica Managing Director: Keith Charles 3 x Cessna
    NAS AirStream Airline Executive charters and air ambulance throughout The Bahamas and South Florida.  
YI   SJU Air Sunshine

14JUL03 A nine-seat Cessna 402 operated by Air Sunshine crashed yesterday in the water nine miles west of the airport in Treasure Cay, Bahamas, killing a woman and a 3-year-old girl. Eight survivors, including an infant and the pilot, clutched one another for 80 minutes in warm water until two US Coast Guard helicopters used aerial baskets to pluck them from the ocean. The survivors were being treated at Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport.

The pilot, the lone crew member, reported trouble with the right engine at about 1535 before all contact was lost. The plane took off from Fort Lauderdale at 1435. Moments before the crash, the pilot issued a mayday call, which was picked up by another plane in the vicinity and relayed to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Air Sunshine also suffered a Cessna crash in February 1977 in the US Virgin Islands when two people were killed and three injured.

09FEB03 Air Sunshine will on 03MAR03 launch three daily flights on two routes: San Juan-Vieques and St Croix-Vieques. The service is in conjunction with the opening of the Wyndham Martineau Bay Resort.

This follows the launch on 23JAN03 of the Ft Lauderdale-Guantanamo Bay (NBW), Cuba, service on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

    STI Airo Taxi    
C4 COU GND Airlines of Carriacou Bought and absorbed by St Vincent & The Grenadines Air in late 1999.  
RW APQ HEX Alas de Transporte    
  ALW HEX Alas Nacionales

On 06FEB96, Alas Nacionales flight ALW301 operated with a Boeing 757-200 (TC-GEN ) for the German travel company Oeger Tours crashed eight minutes after take-off from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, killing all 176 passengers and 13 crew. The aircraft reportedly had not flown in the two weeks prior to the accident. Alas Nacionales, a Dominican Republic airline, had hurriedly leased the aircraft from Turkish airline Birgenair for the flight to Berlin and Frankfurt with a technical stop in Gander after its own Boeing 767developed mechanical trouble. At the time, all airlines from the Dominican Republic were not allowed by the US government to fly to the US because of sanctions imposed by the FAA Foreign Assessment Program.

The circumstances surrounding the demise of Alas Flight 301 may have been all too typical of the shaky finances and corner-cutting pressures on some charter operations. Alas had been in business limbo since 1993, when it stopped operating following a US ban on all Dominican air carriers because of the island republic's inadequate safety and maintenance standards. It resumed flights in December, using planes rented from a Turkish firm, Birgen Air, which itself operates close to the margins of profit, hiring out its three-plane fleet--a Boeing 737, the fatal 757 and a Boeing 767--to small airlines serving as middlemen dealing with tour-group operators. The doomed flight was originally to have been aboard a Boeing 767, but the 757 was substituted at the last minute--so hurriedly that the airline failed to obtain the necessary landing clearance for Germany.

LL GRO CUN Allegro Airlines

Operates scheduled domestic and regional charter flights. Carries out wet-lease operations for Aeromar.

Destinations (domestic)
Cancun, Ciudad Victoria, Monterrey, Tampico

2 x Boeing 727-200
11 x Boeing 727-200 Advanced
AA EGF SJU American Eagle Airlines

22JUN03 American Eagle will launch a daily non-stop service from St Maarten to Santo Domingo on 03JUL03 using the 64-seat Super ATR. The 2-hour flight compares with the 1hr 5m flights of Air Caraïbes which operates a thrice-weekly service using the Embraer ERJ 145 regional jet.

11MAY03 American Eagle axed service between St Thomas and St Croix after last April, having operated a weekday double-daily service and a weekend daily service using 46-seat and 74-seat ATRs. It has been a vital link between St Thomas, which is the capital, and the larger island of St Croix, and has been used by both government officials and businesspeople.

The suspension of the flights follows the decision by the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) to increase landing and passenger fees at the two airports in the U. Virgin Islands. When the VIPA announced the fee increase, Eagle's reaction was to initiate a review of its flight scheduling into the territory and of its staffing at the two airports. One USVI government official has insisted, however, that the Eagle announcement has more to do with the financial difficulties of financially troubled American Airlines than with the fee hikes in the USVI.

In a further cost-cutting measure, nine of the airline's employees were made redundant at St Croix as at 15 April. Also, as reported elsewhere, Eagle has taken over ground handling for American Airlines at St Thomas and St Croix. This includes the flights from Miami (double-daily to St Thomas, daily to St Croix) and New York Kennedy (daily to St Thomas).

American Eagle will continue to serve both destinations from its San Juan hub (10 daily flights to St Thomas and eight daily flights to St Croix).

Although the other two airlines on the route, Cape Air and Seabourne Airlines, both announced an increase in service, a number of hoteliers is concerned that carriers operating with small (nine and 17-seat) aircraft would be hard pressed to provide adequate service, especially in the winter months.

09MAR03 American Eagle will from 15MAY03 launch a daily San Juan-Nevis service using a 40-seat ATR42. Schedule:

AA5110 SJU 1200 NEV 1318
AA5111 NEV 1350 SJU 1503

This route will serve the popular Four Seasons Nevis resort and bypass the formerly required stop in St. Kitts.

06NOV02 AMR Corp, the parent of American Airlines, said today that it will spin off regional carrier Executive Airlines, which operates under the name American Eagle, in a move that could bring the struggling company about US$700 million. American Eagle Airlines has signed a letter of intent to sell Executive Air back to Puerto Rican businessman Joaquin Bolivar, who is the chairman and chief executive of the Water Club Hotel and the Excelsior Hotel, both in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bolivar founded Executive Air Charter in 1979 and owned Puerto Rico's largest chain of travel agencies, Bithorn Travel, from 1990 to 1999. The sale of Executive Air is expected to be completed near the end of the first quarter of 2003.

American Eagle has been forced to sell Executive Airlines to meet scope obligations in the contract between American Airlines and the Allied Pilots Association which limit the amount of flying which can be done on the American AA code. The scope obligations aren't the typical limits of regional jet flying; instead they are linked to the number of American pilots still on furlough.

There is a limit to the number of available seat miles that can be flown under the AA code while American pilots are still on furlough. Eagle and Executive fly under the AA code regardless if the flying is done with a jet or turboprop.

American Eagle already has taken several steps to reduce available seat miles, ie capacity in AA's system, including grounding turboprops and removing seats from other aircraft. No route changes are planned for the 40 destinations in Florida, the Caribbean and Bahamas that Executive serves from its hubs in Miami and San Juan.

The transaction will include a marketing partnership under which Executive will continue to provide feed traffic to American – but using its own designator code (OW), rather than American's – to and from San Juan and the American Airlines hub in Miami. Its operations will use the AmericanConnection service mark, a service mark licensed by American to independent regionals that provide American with feed.

Gary Ellmer, Executive Airline's president, will remain at Executive after the sale.

American Eagle President Peter Bowler said the sale "preserves jobs at both Executive and Eagle by avoiding the necessity of grounding additional aircraft."

This news has, however, gone down badly with the American Eagle pilots who first heard of the deal by reading it in the morning newspaper. They claim that management has failed repeatedly for months to respond to their offers to engage in meaningful discussions over the direction of American Eagle so that the pilots can assist management in the growth and stability of American Eagle. They also claim that it is apparently AMR's plan is to sell off, downsize and outsource the most profitable portion of its operations, American Eagle, in order to sustain its least profitable subsidiary, American Airlines.

The pilots go on to say that in "1997 American Eagle pilots and management reached an agreement that eliminated the possibility of strikes for 16 years. In exchange for this agreement, a merger of the four then-separate American Eagle carriers with a single pilot seniority list was negotiated. The sale of Executive repudiates the basic promise made by American Eagle at the heart of that agreement -- a single carrier, a single contract and a long-term commitment to the development and growth of the American Eagle system. The irony here is that the sale of Executive will cause American Eagle to incur millions of dollars in training costs as Executive pilots exercise their seniority rights to re- position themselves within the American Eagle system."

Executive flies a mix of ATR 42 and 72 turboprops.

09OCT01 American Eagle will launch a three-times daily service from Bonaire to Aruba using ATR 72s. The flights will commence just after the end of the contract to operate wet-lease flights for Air ALM between the ABC islands.

From 02JUN01, American Eagle will launch three non-stop flights a week from its Caribbean hub in San Juan to Bonaire, one of the premier dive destinations in the world and also a popular wind surfing destination. The flights to Bonaire on 64-seat ATR 72 turboprop aircraft will depart San Juan on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and return on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

On 17MAY01, American Eagle will launch four nonstop flights a week from San Juan to Canouan Island (CIW), located in St Vincent and The Grenadines. Two of these flights will continue onto Barbados and return early the next morning. All flights will operate with 46-seat ATR-42 turboprop aircraft. AA expects that Carenage Bay, a five-star luxury resort on Canouan, should benefit.

From 01APR01, American Eagle will start a daily St Maarten-St Thomas service.

From 01APR01, American Eagle will convert the current one-stop service to Curaçao (via Aruba) to four non-stops a week.

American Eagle launched a daily service between Fort Lauderdale and Freeport with 46-seat ATR-42 turboprop aircraft on 02DEC00. On 06DEC00, American Eagle launched a daily service between Tampa and Nassau with 64-seat Super ATR turboprop aircraft.

From 01OCT00, Eagle extended its daily San Juan-St Vincent flight to St Lucia (SLU) and its daily San Juan-St Thomas flight to Anguilla (AXA). However, the airline was forced to axe its St Vincent flights from 04JAN01 by the US FAA on safety grounds. American Eagle, which introduced its daily service into St Vincent in November 1997, was responsible for moving up to 50 percent of passengers into the ET Joshua airport.

From 30OCT00, the daily San Juan-Beef Island-St Maarten flight (started 06SEP00) will extend to St Kitts (SKB). All the new flights will operate with 46-seat ATR-42 turboprops.

From 01NOV00, Eagle will launch a daily Santo Domingo (SDQ)-Mayaguez (MAZ) service using the airline's largest aircraft, the 64-seat Super ATR. This service should benefit the business community and students who fly often to the Dominican Republic.

From 01NOV00, Eagle will launch a daily (except Sunday) San Juan-St Maarten-Santo Domingo flight using a 46-seat ATR 42.

From 02NOV00, Eagle will launch a daily San Juan-St Kitts-St Thomas flight using a 46-seat ATR 42.

Operated by subsidiary Executive Airlines, American Eagle from San Juan has 93 daily flights to 22 Caribbean destinations, and is an affiliate of American Airlines.

Flights to the Caribbean

Description Biggest regional airline which carried 1.9 million passengers in 2002 and more than 1.5 million pounds of cargo in 2001. It employs 1,525 people in the Caribbean (October 2002) including 1,200 at San Juan. Flights are operated by Executive Airlines, the Puerto Rico-based company which owns the rights to operate American Eagle's Caribbean flights. The airline has been operating from San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marin Airport since 1991 and has been expanding its route network since 1989. Eighty daily flights depart from Puerto Rico to Eastern Caribbean islands with a total of 174 daily departures throughout the region during the 2002/03 season.

Contribution to the Puerto Rico economy includes an annual payroll of $35 million, local purchases of fuel and parts of $24 million a year and the maintenance base at Luis Muñoz.

Executive began scheduled air service in the Caribbean in 1985, taking over routes from Prinnair after that regional airline went out of business. In September 1986, Executive was awarded an American Eagle franchise service agreement, and the regional carrier began co-ordinating its flights to enable its passengers to connect with American Airlines flights into and out of San Juan. In December 1989, AMR Eagle Inc. purchased the stock of Executive Airlines. Today, Executive flies as American Eagle in Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean, but the airline manages its own operation, closely co-ordinating scheduling and other functions with American Eagle and American Airlines.

Destinations: San Juan to Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire (from 02JUN01), Canouan Island (from 17MAY01), Dominica Melville Hall, Fort de France, Grenada (from 06SEP00, second daily from 03NOV00), Point-à-Pitre, La Romana, Mayaguez, Nevis (from 15MAY03), Ponce, Port of Spain, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, St Croix, St Kitts, St Lucia George F L Charles, St Maarten, St Thomas, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Tortola Beef Island.

St Maarten to Santo Domingo (from 03JUL03).

Miami to Freeport, Governors Harbour (up to 07JAN01), Marsh Harbour and Nassau.

Tampa to Nassau (from 06DEC00).

Caribbean Explorer: American Eagle offers Caribbean Explorer fares from San Juan

President: Gary Ellmer

22 x ATR-72
13 x ATR-42

  MUQ SDQ AMSA Aerolineas Mundo Cargo-only. In June 1998, signed a wet-lease deal with American International-Kalitta to provide a DC-8-63F between the Dominican Republic and Miami.  
7P APY SDQ APA International Air

Operates regular flights between Santo Domingo and Miami using a leased 737-400 as required


  AGQ HEX Argo    
    AUA ArubaExel    
3R ARB AUA Avia Air

25NOV03 Burdened by debts it cannot pay, Avia Air has ceased trading. Its creditors have seized all assets.

08DEC01 Charter airline Avia started scheduled flights from Aruba to Curaçao on 22NOV01 using EMB110s. There are four daily flights and, from 02DEC01, there was an additional flight on Thursdays and Sundays.

Destinations Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Las Piedras

President: Efi Tromp

2 x Embraer EMB110P1 Bandeirante
1 x Cessna 402B

UP BHS NAS Bahamasair

03DEC05 The woes of Bahamasair increased when earlier this week several of the airline's aircraft were impounded in Miami due to the late payment of a bond to US Customs.

Although the airline has been cutting costs and expanding its international business such as adding Santo Domingo to its route network, it is in serious trouble. Since the mid-1990s, the perpetual lossmaking carrier has lost $200 million, has huge debts and negative net worth. In the current 2005/06 financial year, the Bahamas government will have to support its national airline with $17 million. There is no realistic prospect of achieving the government's objectives of profitability and privatisation, especially given high fuel prices and competition from low-cost carriers JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines.

03NOV03 Bahamasair has taken delivery of the first of two 50-seat, 1992-model Dash-8 aircraft, at a cost in excess of $7 million. The second is due later this month. Both aircraft were purchased from a Canadian company and will increase the Bahamasair fleet to nine aircraft, including five 1990-model Dash-8 planes and two Boeing 737 jets. While the newly acquired Dash-8s are similar in configuration to the other five, they are said to be more efficient for the short hauls between the islands.

The airline is seeking to use these aircraft to:

  • improve the reliability and on-time performance at Bahamasair in order to regain customer confidence
  • reduce the level of financial demands of the Bahamian taxpayers by upgrading and modernizing Bahamasair
  • expand into new markets, and increase its flight frequency to the high demand markets like Freeport, Exuma and Miami

01JUL03 Bahamasair's 30 years of operations can only be mutely celebrated as it announced that the national flag carrier will cease operations to all four airports of Andros, the largest island of The Bahamas chain, and open them to private air services. The airports are San Andros, Andros Town, Mangrove Cay and South Andros. Other island destinations expected to be outsourced by Bahamasair include North Eleuthera; Arthur's Town, Cat Island; and Treasure Cay, Abaco.

The airline is well aware that it has an obligation to ensure that whoever flies the routes that has its name attached to it must meet insurance liability tests, maintenance and safety tests.

Bahamasair has been pushed into this action by government pressure to stop the red ink on its accounts. The carrier has always lost money, totalling $338 million since day one. Bahamasair was started with just $9 million and the government has had to inject a total of $247 million to keep it running.

Some of the problems which have bedevilled Bahamasair are:

  • unreliable aircraft
  • too many different types of aircraft, leading to more engineers and pilots than is desirable
  • high utilisation of aircraft
  • salt-laden sea breezes that cause rust
  • costly C-checks

03MAY03 Cash-strapped Bahamasair lost $86 million over the last three years. The reasons included:

  • Salaries of staff and consultants
  • High maintenance requirements because of the ageing aircraft fleet
  • Leases of foreign-owned and operated aircraft
  • Hushkits to reduce jet engine noise
  • US Internal Revenue Service and Immigration and Naturalisation Service interest and penalty costs
  • Increased insurance premiums after the 11 September 11 terrorist attacks

08DEC02 The board of directors is seeking annual staff savings of $4.5m in an effort to stem the red ink of this perpetually loss-making airline. The staff count of 716 is planned to be reduced to 564, which should save $3.5m. The other $1m is to be achieved by bringing management and pilots' salaries in line with the current industry standard.

01NOV02 Bahamasair today resumed its Freeport-Miami service with double-daily flights operated with the Dash-8. Incumbents on the route are American Eagle and Continental (operated by Gulfstream).

12OCT02 In collaboration with Canadian tour operator Havana Flying Club, Bahamasair will provide regular charter service from Nassau to Havana from 17OCT02. Flights will operate on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays using a dedicated 120-seat Boeing 737-200. Norway-based Scand-America Tours also is a partner in the deal.

Havana Flying Club is selling seats from Miami, Ft Lauderdale and Orlando, with flights connecting at Nassau. The operator is not imposing any early booking or minimum stay requirements and offers travel packages, including accommodation and tours, for both The Bahamas and Cuba.

Key to the arrangement is the use of a non-Cuban carrier as there is no prerequisite for a licence to book or board flights in Florida or Nassau. There are no applications to make or fees to pay. As Bahamasair is a non-Cuban carrier, licensed travellers can fly without concerns that they might be violating US law. US citizens, with few exceptions, are prohibited by law from spending money in Cuba (though not, theoretically, from traveling there). Nevertheless, tens of thousands visit Cuba each year, travelling via Mexico, Canada or other third-country gateways. By connecting through The Bahamas, where passengers will clear customs, the new charter flights stay within the rules. "We have bilateral rights with the United States and bilateral rights to Cuba through The Bahamian government, which allow for these flights," Havana Flying Club said. Another airline, Cubana, also flies between Havana and Miami, but US citizens are not allowed aboard because the planes are Cuban-owned.

In June 2000, Bahamasair signed a 10-year, US$15.4m deal with Sabre for the provision of systems for reservations, check-in, reward loyalty scheme management and aircraft utilisation.

Formed in 1973, Bahamasair, the national carrier of The Bahamas, is wholly owned by the Bahamian government and carries over 1.5 million passengers a year. Staffing was 716 people as at December 2002.

Flights to the Caribbean

Managing Director: Paul Major

2 x Boeing 737-200
7 x de Havilland DASH-8 series 300

    PLS Blue Hills Aviation Charters between the Turks & Caicos Islands. Ceased trading in 1994  
    STX Bohlke International Airways Fixed base operator at St Croix doing charters, day trips, especially to Virgin Gorda and to St Maarten, ambulance service and refueling at both St Croix and St Thomas. Bohlke has a 9-seat Beech 99 and an 8-seat Commander.  
9H   BON BonairExel

19AUG03 After a delay of eight months, BonairExel launched yesterday from Bonaire seven daily flights to Curaçao and three daily flights to Aruba. Some of the flights connect with those of KLM from Amsterdam.

The airline wishes to extend the Bonaire-Curaçao service to Aruba twice a day, but is prevented from doing so by the government which is protecting Antillean aviation companies, specifically Dutch Caribbean and WINNAIR.

Description BonairExel is the operating name of Dutch Eagle Express, a carrier which is a joint venture between KLM (through its alliance partner Air Exel which set up the airline and provided the fleet) and the island of Bonaire, the only shareholder of BonairExel.

BonairExel's flights carry mainly local traffic and also connect with KLM's international flights to other islands in the area. Passengers with BonairExel are eligible for KLM's Flying Dutchman programme.

The airline employs about 40 staff, of which the Cabin Crew in particular and most of the administration staff are born in the Dutch Antilles.

Managing Director: Raymundo Saleh

2 x ATR 42
2 x Embraer 145

C7   BON Bonaire Airways    
3B   SIG Borinquen Air Aircraft training, airline education, air taxi  
    POS Briko Air    
BW BWA POS BWIA West Indies Airways

16OCT05 The Trinidad & Tobago government announced two days ago that a new board of directors has been appointed by Cabinet to restructure BWIA and ensure a smooth transition into a new company. The new board is comprised of businessman Arthur Lok Jack (who is the chairman), economist and chief executive officer of Guardian General, Dr Terrence Farrell, attorney and bpTT chairman Robert Riley, engineer and executive chairman of Neal and Massy Gervais Warner and accountant and retired senior partner at PriceWaterhouse Cooper Limited, William Lucie-Smith.

The government had announced at the end of September that it intended to deal the problems of its beleaguered national airline by creating a totally new company, injecting a staggering US$250m and bringing on board prominent businessman Arthur Lok Jack to lead the charge in the transition process. The intention was to create a new airline designed ab initio as a regional carrier which would also be open in due course to participation from regional governments and the regional private sector.

The plans are:

  • Recapitalisation of approximately US$250 million to ensure this new entity could manage its operations. The new entity would continue to be majority owned by the Government with a plan for further divestment to the private sector.
  • A significant change in the management of the company and improvement of corporate governance
  • To ensure that the new entity is not put to a disadvantage to charter flights.
  • A restoration of maintenance capability in the entity.
  • Fundamental changes in the work rules and culture of the airline.

Details of the plan have not been revealed. It is unknown, for instance, what route network it would operate or what aircraft it would have in its fleet.

15APR05 Under instruction from the Trinidad government, BWIA has announced the cancellation of service from its Port of Spain base to San José (after 18APR05), Santo Domingo (after 16APR05), Havana (after 30APR05) and Curaçao (after 17APR05). The first three are political routes which are government-subsidised, and Curaçao is only a weekly service.

Meanwhile, there is uncertainty about the twice-weekly flights to Manchester, of which one continues to Prestwick and the other to Belfast. It had seemed as if all three destinations would be axed as well, but they are on sale. However, as there is an eight-week period up to 18 June when no seats are on sale for any of these three destinations, one does wonder whether the airline can be trusted to operate a service.

In the meantime, the airline is surviving due to a recent US$18.8 million loan to BWIA by the government, which has appointed a six-man task force to review the consequences of one of these options:

  • closing the 65-year-old airline
  • establishing a new state airline
  • keeping BWIA but with a new structure.

The government bailout follows several made in recent years. These are:

  • November 18, 2001 Cash support of US$1.4 million in the days following 9/11
  • January, 2003 US$13.5 million state loan after BWIA met Government demands to reduce its operating cost
  • May, 2003 Cabinet gave BWIA a letter of comfort worth TT$32 million out of a TT$116.8 million loan to clear its debt with International Leasing Finance Corporation after two of its airplanes were seized
  • June 30, 2003 Cabinet released $30 million out of the $TT$116.8 million loan for operational expenses, while it kept $55 million to ensure no further aircraft were seized.
  • July, 2004 Government spent US$40 million to purchase additional BWIA shares which private investors chose not to buy during a rights issue which resulted in the State regaining majority control of the airline.

07NOV04 BWIA will launch from its Port of Spain base a weekly service to Glasgow on 15JAN05 and a weekly service to Belfast on 16JAN05. Both new flights will be an extension of the current twice-weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester service with the return flights being routed via Barbados the next day.

Both flights are scheduled to operate with the Airbus A340-300 aircraft in a two-class configuration, with introductory fares from Glasgow and Belfast starting at £299 in Economy and £999 in Business/First.

The Glasgow flights will use Glasgow Prestwick International Airport (PIK) which, although 32 miles by road from Glasgow city centre, has a rail link to the city.

The Belfast flights will use Belfast International Airport (BFS).

The airline also has a daily Heathrow flight

20JUN04 BWIA has this week announced a Rights issue of 27 shares at TT$0.20 for each common current share. This will raise TT$254,523,822 (US$40,594,516) which the airline has said it urgently requires to "reduce some critical liabilities and to stabilise the company". Opening of Rights Issue is 28 June, 2004 and the Close of Rights Issue is 16 July, 2004. The airline has 47,133,856 paid up shares, and the Rights issue will increase the share capital to 1,319,747,968.

The Trinidad & Tobago government has guaranteed the Rights issue and will become the majority shareholder again if existing investors fail to take up the offer.

This comes after an announcement only two months ago whereby the Trinidad & Tobago government had agreed to convert US$30 million of the airline's debt to equity and to inject US$10 million directly into the company.

19JUN04 BWIA will today add a second weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester flight using the Airbus A340-300. The return flights will be on the following day (Sunday).

The existing Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester flights operate on Thursdays.

As BW operates a daily service into LHR, this will be the airline's ninth weekly UK flight. This still means that the airline's two Airbus A340s are underutilised, although the A340 will replace the Boeing 737-800 this summer on the Monday Port of Spain-Toronto flights (returning on Tuesdays) from 05JUL04-13SEP04.

13FEB04 BWIA will today launch the only non-stop service from its Port of Spain base to Heathrow using the Airbus A340-300. The airline already operates a daily Heathrow flight.

Flights depart on Fridays at 2320, arriving Heathrow at 1200 the next day. The return flights from Heathrow depart on Saturdays at 1545, arriving Port of Spain at 2045.

The airline has secured Heathrow slots for this winter only, but plans to maintain the service during next summer subject to obtaining the necessary slots.

This new service makes it nine weekly UK flights as Manchester is served weekly.

The airline's second Airbus A340, 9Y-JIL, was operated by Virgin Atlantic Airways as G-VKY. This aircraft still has 255 seats in its original 40/28/187 Upper/Premium/Economy configuration. It was first pressed into service on 02FEB04 and will be reconfigured in due course. There are no fares for the Premium cabin seats, so some lucky Economy passengers find themselves upgraded to seats with 38" seat pitch compared with 31" seat pitch in Economy. The Economy seats in the airline's first Airbus A340 have 34" seat pitch.

20JAN04 BWIA will resume non-stop flights from St Lucia Hewanorra to Heathrow on 17FEB04, following the arrival of its second Airbus A340-300. Flights will be on Tuesdays and Fridays, the routing being Port of Spain-St Lucia-Heathrow and the reverse on the return. Currently, the airline flies non-stop from Port of Spain to Heathrow on these days and returns via St Lucia. This means that passengers who board at St Lucia must return home via Port of Spain, a journey of 12h 40m instead of 8h 25m for direct flights.

BWIA has operated to St Lucia from the UK for over 20 years.

The other scheduled players on the London-St Lucia route this winter are Virgin Atlantic Airways (three dedicated flights a week from Gatwick using the Boeing 747-400) and British Airways (two flights a weeks shared with Antigua using the Boeing 777-200ER).

16JAN04 BWIA has signed an agreement for the lease of a second Airbus A340-300. The aircraft will be added to BWIA's fleet in mid-February 2004 and will be deployed on the carrier's routes between Port of Spain and the UK, namely Heathrow and Manchester. The new aircraft is two-class, with a capacity of 40 in Business and 215 in Economy. Although BWIA offers eight weekly trans-Atlantic flights, its sole Airbus A340 can provide at most six, thus forcing the carrier to lease aircraft for at least two weekly flights, including the Manchester flights which are currently operated with an Airbus A310. The acquisition of the new aircraft will enable BWIA to return to a full in-house operation on these routes.

In view of BWIA's dire financial position, it is reasonable to assume that the lessor would not have signed the deal unless the Trinidad government had guaranteed that all lease payments would be made.

A review is being carried out of possible new destinations for the deployment of the extra capacity. The transatlantic schedule is currently a daily operation from Port of Spain to Heathrow (two weekly flights are nonstop and the others are via Barbados three times a week and Antigua two times a week, with two weekly return flights via St Lucia) and weekly to Manchester via Barbados.

04NOV03 BWIA plans to launch a twice-weekly service from Port of Spain to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on 25NOV03. Flights will be on Tuesdays and Saturdays using the Boeing 737-800.

This will be the third and last political route that the airline will operate at the government's request. Flights have already been launched to San José, Costa Rica, and Havana.

27JUL03 Earlier this week, BWIA belatedly released its annual accounts for the year ended 31DEC02. It makes for grim reading, as the airline suffered losses after taxation and extraordinary items of US$34.2 million last year and has current liabilities which far exceed its current assets by US$49.8 million at 31 December, 2002.

BWIA's current debt burden is probably in excess of US$110 million.

Despite being in receipt of US$9.8 million in loans from the Trinidad & Tobago government in the past two months, many of BWIA's 471 employees who were retrenched last January are still awaiting the payment of their severance benefits.

There is no prospect of alleviation from the crushing losses and debts. BWIA has already suffered from having two of its aircraft seized this year, has costs which are still too high and faces competition from the charter carriers this summer from New York and Toronto and from carriers which are adding capacity this winter, such as American Airlines (from Miami), British Airways and Virgin Atlantic Airways (both from Gatwick).

21JUL03 BWIA plans to add a second weekly service on its Manchester-Barbados-Port of Spain route. From 26OCT03, there will be a Sunday flight in addition to the current Friday flight. Furthermore, from that date, all flights will be operated with the Airbus A340-300. Currently, the airline wet-leases a TriStar for this route.

As BW also offers a daily A340 service from Heathrow to Port of Spain, but has just one A340, there will be the continuing need to lease a second A340 and have it operate an extra weekly return flight.

29JUN03 The Trinidad & Tobago cabinet has agreed to a request by BWIA to provide US$4.8 million to meet its operating costs. The government had pledged US$18.5 million subject to cost reductions, and has already been forced to provide US$5m following the seizure of two aircraft. BWIA has not yet met its cost reduction targets, but has now obtained a substantion proportion of the funds.

However, there has been agreement with the Aviation Communications and Allied Workers Union which represents the cabin crew to reduce the stay of the crew at Heathrow from two nights to one night. This will save £1,000 for the 10 cabin crew on each flight.

25JUN03 BWIA launched its inaugural service from Port of Spain to Havana, the Boeing 737-800 touching down at José Martí International late on Wednesday night. Flights will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays and non-stop in both directions. Approximately 23 companies made their way to the communist island in the hopes of forging strong business ties with their Cuban counterparts as part of the five-day trade mission organised by the Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers' Association in collaboration with Tidco and Republic Bank.

31MAY03 Bankrupt BWIA, struggling under the weight of US$100 million of debt, has been rescued by the Trinidad & Tobago government which has effectively taken over the running of the airline. Furthermore, chief executive Conrad Aleong has informally tendered his resignation, which the BWIA board has accepted.

The airline was plunged into crisis after two of its Boeing 737s were recently seized by lessor ILFC, which then threatened to seize its remaining five aircraft unless US$5.5 million was paid. The government stepped in last Thursday and negotiated a reprieve for BWIA: the aircraft would be returned, ILFC withdrew its demand that BWIA enter into a US court and accept judgement against it for outstanding monies, and no more seizures would be made until the end of September. In exchange:

  • BWIA must pay off outstanding arrears to ILFC for months March, April and May which equals the US$5 million letter of comfort the State gave the airline last week
  • Pay US$2.3 million per month to ILFC over the next four months to service the lease and keep it updated
  • Have a look at the US$8 million maintenance reserve BWIA owes ILFC

In the event that any payments will not be made, the government guaranteed that ILFC would be paid.

This reprieve may also help keep other creditors at bay, as they had been stepping up their demands for payment.

The airline expects to put the 737s back into service tomorrow and Monday.

The government also demanded an immediate restructuring of BWIA's management a condition of further a state support for the airline, which was followed hours later by Aleong's resignation.

Doubts still hangs over the head of chairman Lawrence Duprey who reportedly said last Wednesday that he was too busy building his own global company to have attended any of BWIA’s recent crisis Board meetings.

26MAY03 Despite the seizure of two of its aircraft, BWIA's inaugural flight to Costa Rica went ahead last Thursday. Launched with much fanfare in the Central American country, the three-and-half-hour flight is expected to be the start of a twice-weekly service on Mondays and Thursdays for the cash-strapped airline. The Boeing 737-800, scheduled to arrive at 1000, touched down at the Juan Santamaria International Airport in the nation's capital of San José after midnight.

The airline is getting support from the Trinidad & Tobago which, through Tidco (the government's tourism agency), had purchased 67 seats on the 154-seat inaugural flight and would continue to provide that support until the fight becomes profitable. Furthermore, the Costa Rica government declared that it was prepared to spend US$14,000 per week until the airline can fill all the seats.

23MAY03 BWIA is in increasingly dire straits after two of its seven Boeing 737-800s were seized this week in Miami by the lessor, ILFC, for non-payment of lease rentals. The first seizure took place last Tuesday, forcing the airline to place its 103 passengers in an airport hotel for a night until they could be flown back to Port of Spain the next day. BWIA claimed that this was an isolated incident, and that a US$5 million letter of comfort from the Trinidad & Tobago government would enable the aircraft to be returned.

ILFC leases six Boeing 737-80s and an Airbus A340-300 to BWIA. The airline's other operational aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 (9Y-GND), is leased from GECAS.

But a second seizure took place yesterday as no payment had been made. Prime Minister Patrick Manning feels misled, saying that his goverment had been approached for US$5m but were told the next day that only US$3.5 million were had been applied to outstanding lease payments and US$1.5 million to severance payments.

This was denied by BWIA CEO, Conrad Aleong, who said that the money was still in the bank as the airline cannot give money and not be assured that the planes will be released. He disclosed that the lease rental is overdue by US$3.5 million and, in another two weeks another US$800,000 is due, so US$4.3 million is due. Furthermore, the airline owes ILCF approximately US$16 million in outstanding maintenance reserves. What ILFC is now saying is that they want their outstanding rental plus US$8 million of the reserves, amounting to US$12.3 million.

This amounts to over US$20 million to a single creditor, which is more than the US$18.5 million (of which the US$5 million was the first unplanned slice) which the government had agreed to loan to the airline. The US$5 million was going to be used for severance but with this crisis US$3.5 million has been earmarked for lease rental.

BWIA is very short of money and has been racking up losses, including an estimated US$30 million in 2002. The war in Iraq caused further harm to the airline because of an additional five to seven per cent decrease in passengers. The airline now has a staggering US$100 million debt burden.

ILFC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American International Group (AIG), which is also the parent company of American Life and General Co. The insurance company has three directors on the board of BWIA, and Aleong believes that the whole thing is a set-up to extract the money from the government without BWIA first meeting the government's conditions for the US$18.5 million payment. This money had been pledged to the airline subject to conditions, but US$5 million was hurriedly released in view of the crisis which is overtaking BWIA.

It has to be said that BWIA would have collapsed had ILFC demanded that payments be kept up. However, the lessor's patience has clearly run out, leading to to the seizures this week. So, not only is BWIA short of two 737s, it may also have another in the hangar awaiting an engine which the airline cannot afford. It is therefore impossible to maintain a full schedule with the remaining four 737s.

22FEB03 BWIA will launch non-stop service to three Spanish destinations from Port of Spain, all operated with the Boeing 737-800. From 25MAR03 it will be Santo Domingo on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Then it will be San José, Costa Rica, from 31MAR03 on Mondays and Thursdays. And Havana has been pencilled in from 07MAY03 on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

These are all political destinations, part of the Trinidad & Tobago government's plan to deepen ties with hemispheric nations as it has been proposed as the site of the headquarters of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas.

It is unclear how the airline will find the aircraft and crew for these flights, not to mention how much money will be lost on these routes.

19FEB03 Judging from BWIA's summer schedule, the airline does not appear to be planning to operate a second Airbus A340, whose delivery has been deferred at least twice due to financial problems. BWIA is offering its daily Heathrow service with its sole A340 being used every day except Wednesdays when a wet- leased L-1011-500 Stristar from Portuguese-based Euro Atlantic is used instead. There is also a weekly Manchester-Barbados-Port of Spain flight, also operated with the Tristar.

31JAN03 The four unions representing BWIA's employees have reacted angrily to the dismissal notices sent out last Tuesday to 617 employees, representing about 26 per cent of the airline's 2,400 staff. Only about 1,800 will remain. The cutbacks will take full effect from 15 March on a last in, first out basis. The staff reduction will save about US$8 million.

Although CEO Conrad Aleong said that the redundancies had to be made, unions claim that Aleong told them that he estimates by the third quarter in 2003 there will be a saving of US$1.5 million per month, excluding employee concessions. The airline has to save US$1.4 million a month from now in order to continue receiving disbursements from a US$13.5 million State assistance. The unions also complained that the airline had presented these staff cuts to the unions without a formal cost saving plan and said that they were not given sufficient time to make savings suggestions.

The airline has now unveiled its "New Business Model 2003" to meet targets set by the government. To meet cost reductions, the airline has focused on its ramp, maintenance and duty free operations. Part of the maintenance department and the entire ramp and duty-free operations have been outsourced to independent contractors.

Maintence will be hard-hit with the formation of the Aircraft Maintenance Technical Company (ATMC) at Piarco, a three-way joint venture between the Government, BWIA and an unnamed external partner. ATMC is supposed to repair and overhaul airframes, avionics, components and specialised air transportation equipment. All the heavy maintenance on aircraft is going to be outsourced overseas, with only refueling and minor repairs being carried out in Trinidad. This in turn has raised concern amongst the Trinidad and Tobago Pilots Association (TTALPA) that the airline's fine safety standards will be adversely affected.

In a further twist to this affair, BWIA engineers who received their retrenchment notices were shocked to learn that British engineers began repair work on one of the carrier's aircraft the same day. Fifteen engineers from the United Kingdom arrived in the country a few days before BWIA retrenched 617 of its staff, and were staying at a hotel near Piarco. Among those retrenched were a significant number of BWIA's mechanics, aircraft inspectors and engineers. The airline defended its action, saying that an MD-83 aircraft being repaired for return to the lessors would not be ready in time due to a sick-out action. On 22 January, a third of the BWIA's maintenance and engineering department night shift did not report for work and were accused of taking sick-out action by management.

But the the Aviation Communication and Allied Workers Union said BWIA had no right to contract the UK engineers just as it was about to retrench 617 of its local employees. The union will ask the government how come the UK engineers were granted work permits as they are now doing work the regular BWIA staff would have been doing, when work permits are only granted if the skill doesn't exist in the country.

A local service provider has entered into a franchise arrangement with BWIA to operate the duty-free store.

13DEC02 BWIA took delivery yesterday of a new Boeing 737-800 on lease from GECAS. It is the airline's seventh of the type. The cost will be about US$230,000 a month and is financed by a trade-in of an MD-83. The remaining MD-83 will cease operation on 08JAN03, after which the entire narrow-body fleet will comprise 737s. The 737 will be the last of the airline's narrow-body acquisitions. In future, the fleet will comprise two Airbus A340-300s (one is due for delivery next year, the remaining TriStar will be retired) and the 737-800s.

The airline is also hoping to belatedly receive next week the first US$2m of the US$13.5m loan guaranteed by the Trinidad and Tobago government. It has taken some time for Government machinery to come up with the required comfort letters which BWIA could use to go to the bank

14NOV02 BWIA has deferred again the delivery of its second Airbus A340-300. It had first been put back from November 2002 to January 2003, now the lessor ILFC has been asked to deliver the aircraft in March 2003. The fleet plan is now to phase out the current TriStar, acquire a seventh 737-800 and the A340 in March 2003.

The airline has been forced into this deferral due to its financial woes. Indeed, BW has been struggling to meet the lease payments to ILFC for the past 18 months, with an unspecified but considerable amount outstanding. The debt even includes payments for the A340 which only arrived in June 2001.

Each A340 will cost BW about US$90 million.

ILFC owns the airline's existing A340 and all six Boeing 737-800s, and would bring down BW should the aircraft be repossessed for non-payment. It is looking, however, as if ILFC will continue to support the troubled airline.

10NOV02 BWIA is planning to take delivery of its second Airbus A340-300 next January, whose delivery had been put back due to the airline's parlous financial state, and to also retire its sole remaining TriStar (9Y-THA). The TriStar is currently used twice a week on the Heathrow route and weekly on the Manchester route. The last scheduled flight of this aircraft will be on 28JAN03 (Heathrow-St Lucia-Port of Spain), after which only A340s will be used on the daily Heathrow service. The airline will also stop using the Tristar on its weekly Manchester flights after 26JAN03 (Manchester-Barbados-Port of Spain) and resume a twice-weekly service by reinstating its Thursday flights to Manchester.

This does mean that BW will use the two A340s for only nine weekly return flights from Port of Spain (seven Heathrow, two Manchester) when 11 weekly return flights should be feasible. Unfortunately, the airline cannot use the A340s on US routes as the Trinidad & Tobago Civil Aviation Authority is still rated Category 2 by the US FAA, which prevents any of that country's airlines from adding capacity or new routes on flights to or from the US. And expanding at Heathrow by one or two weekly flights is probably not an option because, even if there were a good business case, suitable slots are hard to obtain.

At least BW should still be around for a while as it has obtained a US$13.75 million loan from the Trinidad & Tobago government. This is on top of the $US22 million which the airline still owes government from a similar bailout after the September 11 terrorist attacks, being US$8.3 million to relieve the company of losses directly attributed to September 11; US$7.4 million to help meet the increasing cost of passenger insurance premiums and $5.5 million to meet the increased cost of annual insurance premiums.

There will be an immediate injection of US$2 million into the airline with US$8 million to be paid by 29 November 29 "in a manner to be determined by the government". US$3 million will be paid over a period of six months from January 2003 and US$750,000 to finance the government's risk insurance cover. This loan will have a repayment period of ten years, with interest at the prevailing market rate and payments on a semi-annual basis. It will be secured against the airline's landing slots in Heathrow. BW has only recently turned down a US$12 million offer for these slots.

The loan has come with two tough-looking conditions, though. Firstly, the government is looking for monthly savings of US$1.4m, compared with BW's target of US$1m, of which only US$856,000 have so far been found. Secondly, the national carrier must agree to a Memorandum of Understanding that will tie the airline to assisting the government in a number of areas. The most significant of which is to participate in a study by external consultants who have the mandate to recommend further cost efficiencies in BWIA. The consultants will also have the job to advise on an appropriate structure for the airline including the concept of a one Caribbean airline or regional carrier. The 6-month study will start by January.

The demand for additional cost savings has gone down badly with BW's employees, who feel that they have already made concessions despite being underpaid, and are fearful of more job cuts.

03NOV02 BWIA's woes continue with the continued cancellation and delays of its UK flights. Although (as reported yesterday) there were plans to operate two flights into Heathrow yesterday, the scheduled flight (BW900) was cancelled and the special flight (BW3800) is due to arrive from Antigua at 2350 today instead of 0715. An arrival this late is not good (it is an hour after the last scheduled flight will have landed) and the Tube network will not be operating by the time that passengers have cleared Immigration and Customs.

This is now the third consecutive day day that no scheduled BW flight has arrived at Heathrow, even though the Airbus A340, last used on Thursday afternoon when it arrived at its Piarco base from Heathow and Barbados, should have been mechanically fit to fly to Heathrow on both Friday and Saturday night.

Information is scant, but it appears as if on Friday night the A340 did take off from Port of Spain (the schedule is Antigua and Heathrow) but returned after half an hour because of oil leaking from an engine. If true, then both of BW's widebody jets are now grounded due to engine trouble.

As for the TriStar which returned to Port of Spain last Thursday: it may return to service on Monday by flying to Manchester. It had looked as if it would arrive at 2000 today, was put back to 0200 on Tuesday and was put back again to 0415, which is very late as its scheduled arrival time is 0725 on Sunday.

02NOV02 BWIA, whose survival is uncertain due to reaching agreement with its unions of only US$160,000 of the US$300,000 per month reduction in employee costs, is also suffering serious operational problems on its UK routes as both its widebody jets cannot be flown. This is also a time when flights are packed with British families returning home after a school mid-term break.

The problem began on Thursday evening when the Barbados to Heathrow flight suffered engine trouble shortly after takeoff. The captain decided to fly the TriStar back to its base at Port of Spain and told the passengers that an Airbus was waiting to take them home. There is also a report of about 35 passengers who were left behind at Barbados, which suggests that BW had planned to substitute the usual Tristar on the Thursday flight with the bigger Airbus A340, but was unable to do so.

On arrival at Port of Spain, passengers found that there was no Airbus flight and had to be accommodated in hotels. Most of them then believed that they would depart on Friday night's flight to Heathrow. They were wrong again: this flight, scheduled to be operated with the A340, has been cancelled as well, affecting also the Antigua passengers who would have been expecting to board the aircraft. Of course, as two flights were cancelled, the return flights (Heathrow-Antigua-Port of Spain on Friday and Heathrow-Barbados-Port of Spain today) have been cancelled as well.

Furthermore, the TriStar is still on the ground with an engine problem much more serious than had originally been envisaged, so tonight's Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester flight has been cancelled. This comes on top of a problem on landing at Manchester a month ago which required replacement brakes, wheels and tyres.

It seems that BW has chartered an aircraft from Britannia Airways (flight BW3800) to bring Friday's stranded passengers from Antigua back to London today, with an expected arrival of 0715 into Heathrow tomorrow. It also seems as if normal service has resumed for the A340, with BW900 (Port of Spain-Barbados-Heathrow) due to arrive at Heathrow at 0825 tomorrow.

16OCT02 BWIA will double its frequency to Washington Dulles to four weekly flights from 25OCT02. On this day, a weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Washington flight will supplement the existing two flights. Then on 01NOV02, a weekly Port of Spain-Tobago-Washington flight will be launched, returning the same day on the reverse routeing. All flights are operated with the Boeing 737-800.

12SEP02 BWIA is planning to operate Grenada-Port of Spain-Miami on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 20SEP02. The return service will be daily. This will be the only same-plane jet service between Grenada and Miami, and will partly restore the capacity on the daily non-stop service that Grenada had from Miami until it was terminated by American Airlines a few years ago.

The BW flight numbers, 484/483, are currently marketed as Tobago-Port of Spain-Miami and reverse for inbound, with the POS-TAB flights operated by Tobago Express. There is now no mention of Tobago Express after 20SEP with respect to these flight numbers.

After today, BW will axe its Thursday Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester flight (returning next day), leaving it with only the Saturday flight. The Thursday flight will be reinstated on 31OCT02. The airline has a problem with this route and was forced to ask the Barbados government for financial assistance to continue to operate it.

On the operational and financial front, BW has had a bad summer. Instead of making millions in this peak season, the airline has lost US$2.5 million due to cancelled flights - at least 52 between 12JUL-04AUG. Management has blamed pilot sick-outs, an allegation strenuously refuted by their union TTALPA which claims that the airline's tight scheduling and the training of 18 of BW's 225 pilots on the Airbus A340 had cost it the benefit of pilots who would often forfeit their off-days and blank days. BW is now back to where it was in 1998, ie on the brink of collapse.

Plans are afoot to cut costs further by US$1m a month, including the proposed sale of all three Dash 8s and the TriStar, and the return of both MD-83s when their leases expire. However, it looks as if two more Boeing 737s and one more (currently deferred) Airbus A340-300 will be acquired, making it an all-jet fleet of two A340s and eight 737s. The fleet cutback would cause crew cutbacks as well, including 40 pilots. There would be route cuts too, but these are currently not known.

25JUL02 BWIA, pressured by losses since 11 September (and estimating losing US$8.4m for the first half of 2002), pilot problems (work-to-rule and sickouts) and competition from other airlines, has postponed delivery of a second Airbus A340-300 due in November 2002. This means that the ageing TriStars cannot be got rid of as at least one will have to be retained for both Manchester flights and some Heathrow flights.

20JUL02 BWIA has been hit by pilot work-to-rule and sickouts over the past fortnight - right in the peak summer season when the airline makes much of its money. Although fewer than 10 percent of the airline's more than 260 pilots are refusing to assist when mechanical failures require extended flying hours or are calling in sick, dozens of flights have been cancelled on almost all of BWIA's route network. It appears that pilots have interpreted the airline's stated aim of keeping all staff motivated and the arrival of the Airbus A340 as reasons for pressing for an average minimum salary of up to $TT775,000 (US$127,300) a year.

But the airline is losing money and faces even more competition from charter flights operating between New York and Trinidad. So, as even one cancelled BWIA flight to any of its North American destinations costs it as much as US$60,000 in lost revenue, this is something that BWIA can ill afford these days.

18MAY02 Following permission from the UK government for Manchester operations, BWIA will launch a weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester service on 13JUL02, becoming twice-weekly on 25JUL02, with flights returning the next day. Flights will initially be operated with the L-1011-TriStar, but the arrival of the second Airbus A340 this November will enable BW to replace the TriStar with the A340.

BW990 47 POS 1625-1715 BGI 1800-0730+1 MAN
BW990 57 MAN 1015-1400 BGI 1440-1535 POS

Although not marketed by BW, the 1715 arrival at Barbados enables Manchester-originating passengers to connect same-day onto BWee Express flights to St Lucia, St Vincent and Georgetown. Furthemore, those bound for Grenada and Paramaribo can connect at Port of Spain (again not marketed).

28APR02 BWIA has pulled its jet Tobago flights. The only Tobago flights offered by BWIA are on the Port of Spain-Tobago bridge operated by its subsidiary Tobago Express and its regional arm BWee Express (but for international connections only). Despite a promise by BWIA CEO Conrad Aleong that BW would have four weekly jet flights on the bridge to "provide for the fish and the cargoes on Mondays and Thursdays and the high volume passenger demands on Fridays and Sundays", this has not happened.

BWIA lost US$4.3m after tax in 2001 compared with a profit of US$7.4m in 2000, with the fallout from the terrorist attacks of 11 September being blamed for turning a profit into a loss. Operating revenue was US$276.1m (2000: US$261.4m). The balance sheet is not strong as total assets (US$179.7m) are the same as total liabilities, and current assets are lower than current liabilities.

BWIA is planning to launch a twice-weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Manchester service in July 2002 following the introduction of its A340. This is subject to approval by the UK government.

14APR02 On 27JUN02, BWIA will become the second Caribbean airline (after Air Jamaica) to operate the Airbus A340-300 when the aircraft is used the Heathrow-Barbados-Port of Spain flight. The Airbus will be operated every day except Tuesdays (Port of Spain-St Lucia-Heathrow) and Wednesdays (Heathrow-Antigua-Port of Spain), when a TriStar will continue to be used. The airline is due to receive its second A340 in November. Both aircraft are on a lease deal from ILFC.

Unlike Air Jamaica, no first class seats are on sale - just business and economy. It is believed that the aircraft will each have 288 seats.

08APR02 BWIA's regional arm BWee Express will launch on 17APR02 a service from Port of Spain to Paramaribo using the 50-seat Dash-8. Flights will depart late on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays (timed for good connections from a number of points such as Miami, Washington Dulles, Toronto and Kingston) and return early the next day. The only other airline operating this route is Surinam Airways which has two weekly non-stops and two weekly one-stops. Surinam's Boeing 727 is noticeably quicker (1hr 30m) compared with the Dash-8 (2hr).

BW883 357 POS 2130-0030 PBM
BW884 146 PBM 0400-0500 POS

03MAR03 BWIA has announced job cuts which it admits should have been made earlier. There will be a 7.4 percent reduction of the 2,513 workforce, representing 181 positions, 150 of which are in Trinidad & Tobago. There will not be 181 jobs lost as some 40 positions are vacant and another 14 jobs will involve non-permanent, contract employees who were hired in 1999 to bridge the gap until the L-1011s are replaced, so some 140 employees will be laid off. The airline is trying to cut its daily operational costs of US$700,000, of which $US200,000 goes on pay, in response to the events of September 11th which caused lowered passenger numbers and revenue compared with last year.

The top-heavy management of 300 positions will be cut by 11 percent and other staff, such as pilots, general administrative and maintenance staff will be cut by six percent. Cabin crew and the 150 Trinidad reservations staff will not be affected.

Another cost-cutting exercise will see the fleet reduced to 13 aircraft in the near future by the return of two MD-83s to its lessors. Furthermore, the ageing TriStars are already up for sale, which may fetch US$3m each.

These measures come on top of earlier cost-cutting moves such as the reduction in Trinidad & Tobago travel agents' commission from nine to six percent in January and the removal of flights between Trinidad and Tobago from the SABRE reservations system last month.

25JAN02 BWIA has leased two Airbus A340-300s, currently operated by Air Canada, from ILFC for five years. They are scheduled for delivery in June and November 2002. The Airbuses will replace the ageing TriStars which are used primarily on the daily flights between Port of Spain and the airline's sole European gateway (LHR), with stops at Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia.

It is probable that the two aircraft will be used for up to 11 weekly European roundtrips. Possibilities include more LHR flights, a restart of a Frankfurt service and the launch of Manchester flights. (put on hold after September 11).

10JAN02 BW announces a strategic alliance with LIAT.

02JAN02 A BWIA MD-83 ran off the shortest runway at Miami International airport yesterday. None of the 120 passengers aboard the aircraft were injured. Flight BW432 had originated in Georgetown and had landed in Miami via Barbados. An airline official said that the pilot's landing was "not executed well'' and that the pilot then decided to let the slowing plane run into soft sand off the runway. The plane's front wheel apparently hit hard, causing a long landing runout on the runway.

26NOV01 BW should benefit from being the general sales and ground handling in Trinidad & Tobago for the twice-weekly Air France flights into Port of Spain from Fort-de-France and Cayenne. Apart from the payments received for this service, the JFK-POS flight connects with the Air France flights to Fort-de-France.

11NOV01 BWIA, which had lost US$1.5m shortly after the terrorist attacks on 11SEP, received aid from the Trinidad government of US$1.3m. The government also granted a short-term, interest-free loan of US$1.2m to cover higher passenger insurance premiums. The airline will impose a US$5 regional surcharge and a US$10 international surcharge which will be used to repay the loan.

17JUL01 The code-sharing deal between BWIA and United Airlines appears to have been abruptly terminated with no press release. This is a further blow to BWIA which has recently seen Trinidad & Tobago downgraded to Category 2 by the US FAA, thus preventing BWIA from expansion or changes in services to the United States if using its own aircraft.

BWIA posted better than expected results for the financial year ended 2000. Profits before taxation of US$9.5m were announced on turnover of US$257.7, with profits after taxation of US$7.4m. However, BWIA earned US$18.4 million from the disposal of fixed assets and US$15 million from the sale of investments, and the company's operating margin has not exceeded one per cent in the last two years.

BW is planning to launch a 3/weekly Port of Spain-Barbados-Atlanta service on 21MAY01, delayed by four months, using Boeing 737-800s configured for 16 first and 138 economy seats. This plan depends on the US FAA not downgrading its category 1 status of the Trinidad & Tobago civil aviation authority. By June, flights had not been launched.

For 1999, turnover of US$225.1m and net profit of US$3.7m were announced "despite new charter competition which cost us US$12 million in lost revenues in 1999".

BW has been planning two initial public offerings for some considerable time: one of US$15m to prop up balance sheet in December 2000, another of US$60m in early 2001 for replacement of the four Tristars through brokers Cabot Aviation from mid-2002. Eventually the first IPO raised only US$9m, and even then required the Trinidad & Tobago government to take 50 percent of the shares.

The airline has operated these Lockheed 1011s since 1980 on its long-haul routes to Europe, New York and Toronto. The retirement of the L1011s is part of BWIA's fleet replacement programme which has already seen the introduction of new generation B737-800s. A decision was to be made in late 2000 for 2-3 Boeing 767/777s or Airbus A330/A340s to be used for Heathrow and other long-haul flights from mid-2001, but no decision has been announced.

All the MD-83s will be retained as no more than six 737s are due to be acquired.

BW aims to be on NASDAQ by 2001.

The alliance with United Airlines, centred on BW's US gateways of Washington Dulles (a United hub), New York Kennedy and Miami, is seen as crucial, a good fit as UA hardly serves the Caribbean. Code-sharing will begin on 01JAN01. Also, a deal is sought to enable UA's 9.7m FF members to use their miles to make BW bookings.

As at April 2002, BW earns US$276m per year, employs 2,350 staff, has 70 daily flights, carries 1.4m passengers and 8.1 million kilos (17, 857, 260 pounds) of air cargo per year. The London route contributes 25 per cent of BWIA's revenues.

2002 ex-UK Schedules

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations Antigua, Barbados, Curacao, Georgetown, Grenada, Havana (from 25JUN03), Kingston, London Heathrow, Miami, New York Kennedy, Paramaribo (from 17APR02), Port of Spain, San José (from 22MAY03), Santo Domingo (from 25NOV03), St Lucia Hewanorra (UVF), St Maarten, Tobago, Toronto, Washington Dulles

These destinations are served by turboprop Dash 8s operated for BWIA by Tobago Express: Caracas (all flights), Georgetown (some flights), Grenada (all flights), Port of Spain (some flights), Tobago (some flights).

Pass: BWIA offers its 30-day Caribbean Traveller pass

Chairman: Lawrence Duprey
General Manager - Corporate: Nelson Tom Yew General Manager - Operations: Paul Schutz
Vice President, Procurement and Material Administration: Brenda Billy

1 x Airbus A340-300 (B32/E252)
1 x Airbus A340-300 (B40/P28/E187)
7 x Boeing 737-800 (on lease, option to buy after 10 years)
2 x De Havilland Dash 8Q series 300 (not being operated, for sale)

    XSC Caicos Air Services Charters between the Turks & Caicos Islands  
CG   PLS Caicos Caribbean Airways Cargo between the Turks & Caicos Islands and Miami  
    GCM Cancun Express

Owner: Jeff Walsh

1 x BAe 3201 Jetstream 32EP
9K KAP SJU Cape Air Flights from San Juan to Tortola, St Croix and St Thomas.  
NN DCF DOM Cardinal Airlines Currently grounded  
  CAT FDF Caraïbes Air Transport Charter airline, to be integrated into Air Caraïbes. Member of CaribSky alliance.

5 x Fairchild Dornier 228

K7 DEL ANU Carib Aviation

Parent organisation/shareholders Bruce Kaufman

Alliances Member of CaribSky alliance.

Description Antigua-based airline which operates scheduled flights using its 19-seat Twin Otters on behalf of LIAT as follows.

  • Antigua to Point-a-Pitre, Dominica Cane Field, St Lucia George F L Charles.
  • Antigua to Point-a-Pitre, Dominica Cane Field.
  • Antigua to Nevis, Anguilla.

The contract with LIAT is that the airline is paid by LIAT for hours flown on an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance) basis.

Its scheduled routes from Antigua are to Barbuda (twice-daily), St Kitts and Nevis.

The airline made a small profit in 2000 (one percent of turnover), and still makes money, largely due to its deal with LIAT.

The Twin Otter had been operated by HelenAir and purchased by Kaufman. However, after Trans Island Air pulled out of St Lucia, the aircraft was sent to Carib Aviation.

The airline has 14 pilots based at Antigua (as at November 2003).

History Purchased on 01NOV00 by Bruce Kaufman, owner of Trans Island Air 2000

4 x BN-2B-20 Islander (8 seats)
1 x DHC-6 Twin Otter (cost US$1m) (19 seats)
1 x De Havilland DHC-6 Vista Liner 300 (converted Twin Otter) (19 seats)
1 x Cessna 402 (7 seats)
1 x Beechcraft Queen Air Excalibur 8800 (refurbished in November 2001) (7 seats)

B9   HEX CaribAir (Caribbean Atlantic Airlines) Regular scheduled service to Haïti, private charters for local and international destinations, helicopter service 3 x L410
9T CRB RTM Caribbean Air Tours aka Caribbean Air  
    SIG Caribbean Helicorp    
    ANU Caribbean Helicopters

Subsidiary of Skytech Aviation, Canada

Manager: Michael Fleming

2 x Bell 206B
1 x Bell 206L

8B   ANU Caribbean Star Airlines

10NOV03 Caribbean Star plans to have a fleet of nine 50-seat DASH 8 series 300s and one 37-seat DASH 8 series 100 by the Spring of 2004. The 37-seat aircraft will partly be used for marketing puposes during the Cricket World Cup 2007 by being repainted to reflect the occasion.

25MAY03 The board of Caribbean Star Holdings, which comprises Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun, has recently authorised the acquisition of six 50-seat DASH 8 series 300s to replace the six 37-seat series 100s operated by Caribbean Star. It is planned to introduce these aircraft by the third quarter of this year.

In addition, the board also endorsed Caribbean Star's practice of paying all taxes, fees and charges due to regional governments in a timely manner. It was noted that in some islands Caribbean Star was the only airline paying fees to help sustain airport operations, while its competitors no longer did so.

12NOV02 Caribbean Star, which launched operations just over two years ago, claims to have captured 50 per cent of the eastern Caribbean market, having doubled its passenger numbers in the past year and carried about 500,000 passengers since its inception. Its load factors are cuurently running at about 60 per cent, judged excellent by the airline for this time of the year.

This comes on top of the permission obtained last September to operate revenue flights between the Trinidad and Tobago airbridge. Previously, the only foreign carrier on this domestic route was LIAT, which has a daily flight. Caribbean Star inaugurated an airbridge service on 03OCT02 with two daily flights. The second actually starts from Barbados at 1630, timed to pick up connecting passengers from Gatwick (British Airways and Virgin Atlantic), New York Kennedy (Air Jamaica) and Philadelphia (US Airways), and continues onto Grenada, Tobago and Port of Spain.

Not all route permissions have been obtained, especially Antigua-St Maarten, a profitable route which has just one carrier - LIAT. Currently, Caribbean Star is forced to operate its two daily flights between these points via St Kitts, but confidently expects to get its route rights "very soon".

The airline has been attacked for trying to drive LIAT out of business and refusing to collaborate with LIAT. The LIAT CEO Gary Cullen has reportedly said that every effort to get dialogue and co-operation with Caribbean Star had been rejected. This allegation is strenuously refuted by Caribbean Star which in turn claims that its own overtures have been rejected.

14MAY02 Caribbean Star added St Kitts-St Maarten to its route network on 04MAY02 with a daily flight. The routeing is Antigua-St Kitts-St Maarten-Tortola.

07MAR02 On 15MAR02, Caribbean Star will launch a daily Barbados-Dominica-St Maarten service.

On 06APR02, the airline will launch a weekly Antigua-Nevis service.

21JAN02 On 04FEB02, Tobago will be added to the route network when the daily 755 and 757 flights (Barbados-Grenada) will continue onto TAB. The 755 connects with Air Jamaica's five times a week service from JFK (though JM's agreement with LIAT at Barbados will make this a difficult connection to sell) and the 757 connects with British Airways and Virgin Atlantic (daily and five times a week respectively from Gatwick).

8B755 daily BGI 1405-1455 GND 1510-1535 TAB
8B757 daily BGI 1700-1750 GND 1805-1830 TAB

On 20FEB02, the airlines's second hub will be established at Barbados, where there is already its biggest activity with 20 daily flights. Eight people will be employed. A sales office is currently established in Bridgetown. The hub will deal not only with operations but also work with the various hotels.

Apart from Antigua and Barbados, two more hubs are planned, one in St Lucia and the other in Dominican Republic (probably Santo Domingo).

December 2001 was the best month in terms of pax carried (43,000), on time over 60% and dispatch reliability over 98%. In BGI, market share increased 15% in December. The five times a week daily BGI-GEO service is claimed to be "extremely successful" with loads of 65 to 75 percent.

02DEC01 Caribbean Star is taking steps to address its poor reliability in summer 2001, when several flights were cancelled due to crew or aircraft shortages, by recruiting crew, adding to its fleet and establishing new bases to supplement its existing Antigua base. Furthermore, leather seats are being fitted to all aircraft, a job which should be completed by the end of 2001.

The airline has already taken delivery of a sixth 37-seat DASH 8 series 100 in November 2001 and expects delivery of another this month. The crew hirings comprise 12 pilots and five flight attendants by November 2001.

There will be new crew bases in St Vincent, Grenada and St Lucia, and a maintenance base will be established in Barbados.

Barbados-Grenada flights were increased from 16NOV01 by the introduction of two daily flights and increasing the two previous daily weekday flights to daily. So, the airline now has four daily flights on this route.

Georgetown, Guyana, is being added to the route network by the launch on 07DEC01 (had been originally planned for 16NOV01) of a daily (except Wednesday and Thursday) Antigua-Barbados-Georgetown service. From 01FEB02, there will three changes: the flight will be daily, but the routing will change to Antigua-Barbados-Port of Spain-Georgetown, and a new, daily Barbados-Georgetown flight will start.

Future growth plans include Antigua-St Maarten (a lucrative route served solely by LIAT but blocked by denial of route rights in September 2000 by the Antigua government whose Aviation Minister Robin Yearwood, who is also a director on LIAT's board, is the main objector to Caribbean Star being given permission to fly that route) and Barbados-Tobago.

06SEP01 On 16NOV01, a daily Antigua-Barbados-Port of Spain-Georgetown service will be launched. On the same day, a daily Barbados-Georgetown-Port of Spain service will be launched. This will be the first time that the airline will fly to Georgetown.

06AUG01 Four executives - CEO Gilles Filiatreault, vice-president of operations, Anderson Begg, director of Human Resources, Imtiaz Rajab and chief financial officer and vice-president of Finance, Heeralal NandlalIn - were sacked by owner and Chairman R Allen Stanford. No reasons have been given for the dismissals. The recently-recruited vice-president of marketing, sales and service, Paul Moreira, former CEO of Air Jamaica Express, will be acting CEO.

In early July 2001, one DASH 8 series 100 arrived and an interline agreement was signed with Continental.

On 01MAY01, double-daily Antigua-St Lucia and daily Barbados-Grenada services were launched. The St Lucia flights became possible when the St Lucia government gave permission to fly in only after St Lucia-Headquartered EC Express ceased operations in April 2001. The latter route is the first southbound from Barbados as the airline had previously only had permission from the Barbados government for northbound flights.

Caribbean Star has recently signed interline agreements with Virgin Atlantic Airways, British Airways and Air Canada. The agreements allow passengers travelling in and out of the Caribbean to be ticketed for travel with Caribbean Star from their point of origin to their destination, and also enable baggage to be tagged to final destination.

On 06MAR01, Port of Spain was added to the route network with the "early riser" POS-Grenada- St Vincent-Antigua-St Kitts-Tortola service departing at 0655.

On 13NOV00, the double-daily Antigua-Tortola service was launched.

On 15NOV00, three daily flights from Antigua to Barbados were launched: one non-stop, two via Dominica.

Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Vincent, the BVI, St Maarten and Dominica have granted route rights, and Caribbean Star is attempting to get permission to fly from Antigua to St Maarten, Puerto Rico and St Thomas. However, approval has been granted to fly between Dominica and St. Maarten.

Caribbean Star has also signed a Letter of Intent with the Miami-based carrier Gulfstream International to do a feasibility study of the possibility of setting up an alliance to handle operations out of Puerto Rico to the southern Caribbean.

The airline has introduced "Starfare" which calculates fares from origination to destination in the entire Caribbean Star network on not more than EC$0.99 (US$0.37) per mile. This fare structuring claims to bring many more island destinations within reach of more people travelling around the Caribbean, either for business or pleasure. For instance, here are the roundtrip Starfares from Antigua: St. Kitts EC$125; Tortola EC$402; Dominica EC$248; St Lucia EC$459; and Trinidad EC$513. One-way fares are exactly half that of the roundtrip fares. These prices are in effect until 30NOV00, when it is expected that Caribbean Star will introduce its special Christmas fares.

The airline is seeking to establish a Miami-based cargo service for the Caribbean.

Work began on an 11,000 sq ft hangar at Antigua's V C Bird International airport in September 2000 for completion two months later, but was only approved by the Directorate of Civil Aviation on 19APR01.

Parent organisation/shareholders R Allen Stanford

Alliance GoCaribbean

History Set up in January 2000 by R Allen Stanford to operate services from Antigua to CARICOM countries in competition with LIAT. Flights were planned for April 2000 but the inability to obtain an air operator's certificate, finally granted by the Civil Aviation Directorate of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States in September, and delays caused by LIAT's objections to most of Caribbean Star's route licence applications meant that flights commenced on 18OCT00 on the Antigua-Grenada-Port of Spain route. Five days later, Dominica was added followed by St Vincent on 10NOV00. The Antigua-Dominica-St Vincent-Grenada-Port of Spain route is now flown double-daily.

By March 2001, Caribbean Star was carrying 13,000 passengers a month. By October 2001, 180,000 passengers had been carried in its first year of operation, of whom 30 percent were connecting - which is where the airline sees growth.

Its fleet of nine DASH 8s is typically deployed as follows: seven for scheduled flights, one being maintained and one used for charters. Although the charter flight service is not highly publicised, the airline says that they are profitable.

Interline deals have been struck with British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways, US Airways and Air Jamaica.

Some 220 employees were on the payroll by November 2002, including 40 pilots and 30 flight attendants.

Destinations: Antigua, Anguilla (from 09JUL01), Barbados, Dominica Melville Hall, Georgetown (from 07DEC01), Grenada, Nevis (from 06APR02), Port of Spain, St Kitts, St Lucia, St Maarten (from 15MAR02), St Vincent, Tobago (from 04FEB02), Tortola

Pass Caribbean Star offers its Starpass

Chairman: R Allen Stanford
Vice President Flight Operations and Technical Services: Gerald Fredericks
General Manager Commercial: Edward Gilkes

7 x de Havilland DASH 8 series 300
3 x de Havilland DASH 8 series 100
Photo of a DASH 8

ZQ    SJU Caribbean Sun Airlines

19JUN04 Caribbean Sun will add a flight from San Juan to Antigua on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 02JUL04 to cater for heavy weekend traffic. The airline currently has two daily flights on this route, one non-stop, the other via St Thomas.

The new flights will depart San Juan at 1400 and will arrive in Antigua at 1530 in time for passengers to make a connection on its sister airline Caribbean Star to other islands in the Eastern Caribbean, namely Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada and Trinidad.

In addition to Antigua, Caribbean Sun Airlines now flies to St Maarten, St Kitts, Tortola, St. Croix and St Thomas.

05FEB04 From 01MAR04, Caribbean Sun will be increasing its service from San Juan to St Thomas from three to four times a day. Furthermore, this extra daily flight will continue onto Antigua. The airline will be providing the only nonstop St Thomas-Antigua flights as the incumbent on the route, LIAT, has flights which make one or two intermediate stops.

Caribbean Sun already operates a daily nonstop service from San Juan to Antigua.

10NOV03 Caribbean Sun will launch from its San Juan base a new route on 11DEC03: a daily service to St Vincent. No other airline operates this route. All flights will be operated with the 37-seat Dash 8.

This will be the airline's seventh destination from San Juan. Other destinations being considered are Dominican Republic cities of Santo Domingo, Santiago and Puerto Plata.

Furthermore, it is planned to increase the fleet from four to six 37-seat DASH 8s by the middle of 2004.

06NOV03 Caribbean Sun will launch from its San Juan base two new routes on 11DEC03: a triple daily service to St Thomas and a daily service to St Croix. The current incumbents are American Eagle and Cape Air (on both routes). All flights will be operated with the 37-seat Dash 8.

25JUN03 Caribbean Sun launched two days ago a daily service from its San Juan base to Antigua, its third destination. Flights depart at 1945, arriving 2110. The return flights depart Antigua at 0700, arriving San Juan at 0825. The airline says that as flights leave early in the morning, passengers will be able to connect to all the international carriers. It is also good for business travellers because they will have a full business day in San Juan.

The airline also plans to fly to Dominica, St Vincent, St Croix, St Thomas and other islands within the next six months.

06MAY03 Caribbean Sun launched its second route on 16APR03 with two daily flights from its San Juan base to St Kitts. The airline also operates a daily flight to Tortola.

There are plans to increase its fleet of Dash Eight aircraft in time for the summer holidays, not only to accommodate the heavy holiday loads expected but because the airline has plans in place to add two new destinations to its schedule in the very near future - St Maarten and Antigua. Currently, the airline has three aircraft in service operating 18 flights per day, seven days a week.

Caribbean Sun is offering an introductory return fare from St Kitts and St Maarten to San Juan of just US$100.

21JAN03 Caribbean Sun made its inaugural flight today from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The flight was operated with a 37-seat de Havilland Dash 8.

The plan is to operate a twice-daily service, increasing to eight roundtrip flights a day in February. The carrier's Web site, toll-free booking number and commission structure will be announced shortly. Two months ago, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded the new Ft Lauderdale-based carrier a certificate of public convenience and necessity covering services from San Juan to Antigua & Barbuda, St Maarten, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and St. Kitts & Nevis. DOT also allowed the carrier to upgrade to 60-seater regional jets.

12NOV02 Startup carrier Caribbean Sun is looking to launch service from its San Juan hub in early December. Planned destinations are Tortola, Antigua, St Maarten and St Kitts. Santo Domingo is also being seriously looked at, but a decision has not been made as to whether this airline or Caribbean Star (from Antigua) will serve this destination. Kingston and Havana are also under consideration.

The airline will operate a fleet of 37-seat DASH 8s.

It is intended that Caribbean Sun will serve the northern Caribbean and will be a complementary carrier to Caribbean Star, which serves the northern and eastern Caribbean. The two airlines will have integrated schedules.

As the airline has a US base, it can operate routes involving US territories such as San Juan-Antigua, which are forbidden to Caribbean Star which is based in an FAA-rated Category 2 country.

Parent organisation/shareholders R Allen Stanford (100 per cent)

History Set up in Ft Lauderdale in late 2002 by R Allen Stanford, owner of Caribbean Star, to operate services from San Juan. Stanford is the sole shareholder. It is a sister airline to Caribbean Star.

Destinations San Juan, Antigua, St Kitts, St Maarten, St Croix, St Thomas, St Vincent, Tortola

Chairman: R Allen Stanford
President and CEO: Yolanda Suarez

8 x de Havilland DASH 8 series 100
    BZE Caribee Air Service    
  CRT   Caribintair Charter/air taxi from Port-au-Prince's Aviation Generale  
    NAS Cat Island Air Daily flights to Great Harbour Cay, Moore's Island, Abaco Sandy Point, Abaco Rum Cay, the rest of The Bahamas and the Caribbean.  
KX CAY GCM Cayman Airways

15DEC03 Cayman will tomorrow launch its Cayman Airways Express Service from Grand Cayman (GCM) to the Sister Islands. This will be a double-daily turboprop service to both Cayman Brac (CYB) and Little Cayman (LYB) using two leased Twin Otters. Flight KX4121's routing will be GCM-CYB-LYB, departing 0730; flight KX4121's routing will be GCM-LYB-CYB, departing 1620.

The aircraft are equipped with quick-convertible seating, which allows the airline the capability of providing cargo flights as well.

The airline already operates five jet flights a week on the GCM-CYB route.

This news is not welcome to private operator Island Air, which feels that it is disadvantaged by the government-subsidised Cayman airways.

17NOV03 Cayman will launch a service every Wednesday and Saturday from Grand Cayman to Chicago O'Hare on 17DEC03. Flights will be operated with a Boeing 737-300 leased from ILFC. The aircraft is to be registered 'VP-CKY' will be delivered in Grand Cayman shortly.

09FEB03 Cayman will launch a service every day except Saturdays from Grand Cayman to Ft Lauderdale on 06APR03. Flights will be operated with the Boeing 737-200.

21NOV02 Cayman will launch a twice-weekly service from Grand Cayman to Havana on 06DEC02 using the Boeing 727-200. Flights will be on Fridays and Sundays.

30OCT02 Cayman inaugurated a Monday service on 28OCT02 from Grand Cayman to Montego Bay and onto Kingston. Then, on Wednesdays and Fridays, the routeing is Grand Cayman-Kingston-Montego Bay. All flights are operated with the Boeing 737-200.

03APR02 Worldspan signed an agreement last month with Cayman Airways to host a reservations and departure control system for the airline. Worldspan also is introducing electronic ticketing for Cayman Airways flights. The agreement extends a partnership that started in 1996.

The entire three­plane fleet of Boeing 737s was grounded effective 10JUL01 after two of its aircraft encountered mishaps within four days, with the last one being on 07JUL01. Two days later, KX confirmed the resignation of Vice-President Maintenance and Engineering, Derrick Tibbetts, and announced that he had been succeeded by Fabian Whorms. On 21JUL01, the aircraft were cleared to fly again after an audit by the UK CAA. In August 2001, the government agreed to award NCB Consulting an 18-month contract to restructure and manage the airline.

By mid-August 2001, the airline's current bank debt stood at $21million, while the projected loss for 2001 is $13million. There are some deep misgivings about an airline which has racked up continued losses estimated to be between $150 million to $200 million dollar since the national flag carrier began operations in the early 70s. Industry insiders say that KX's aircraft continue to fly with passenger loads of just about 30 per cent but, that to merely break even in the airline business of today, a company must have its aircraft flying with at least 60 per cent of load capacity.

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, Chicago (from 17NOV03), Ft Lauderdale (from 06APR03), Kingston, Montego Bay, Havana (from 06DEC02), Houston, Miami, Tampa.

Chairman: Roy McTaggart
CEO: Mike Adam

2 x Boeing 737-200 Advanced
1 x Boeing 737-200QC
2 x Twin Otter DHC-6-300

1 x Boeing 737-300 (delivery due Nov 03)

    SJU Charter Flights Caribbean St Thomas day trips, cargo. 2 x Cessna (one cargo, one passenger)
    MHH Cherokee Air Charter service from Marsh Harbour to Nassau, Freeport, other Bahamas islands, Miami, West Palm Beach and beyond.  
    EIS Clair Aero    
    NAS Cleare Air Charters in The Bahamas  
    STT Clint Aero    
    PMV Conviasa

16MAR04 The Venezuala government is investing US$60 million to create its new state airline, Conviasa. It will be a successor to the failed VIASA.

It is planned that Conviasa be based at Porlamar and that operations will commence on 05JUL04. Initially, national routes will be flown with plans to operate internationally to Grenada, Bogota and Managua later this year. There are also plans to fly to Madrid, Milan and Germany in 2005.

DQ CXT STX Coastal Air Transport    
    NAS Congo Air Scheduled and charter service, twice daily to Andros, services to Freeport, Ragged Island, Mangrove Cay and Miami.  
    SIG Coptco Helicopter Service    
    HEX Coturisca    


09FEB03 Cubana will launch a weekly Havana-Holguín-Madrid service on 07JUL03 using the DC-10-30.

26DEC01 Cubana will return to the UK market with a weekly Havana-Gatwick-Holguín-Havana service between 05APR02 and 18OCT02 using a DC-10-30 configured with 32 seats in Business class and 265 seats in Economy class. The flights will be scheduled with most of the passengers on holiday packages sold by operators such as Cubanacan and Havanatur. The Gatwick-Havana flights will help fill the gap left by British Airways's pullout from Havana at the end of March 2002 and compete with Air Jamaica's launch of their Heathrow-Havana service on 22APR02.

CU400 5 HAV 2055-1040* LGW
CU401 6 LGW 1430-1835 HOG 2005-2120 HAV

* next day

20AUG01 Cubana will withdraw from Peru after October 2001 because Peruvian civil aviation authorities have not responded to its request for fifth freedom rights on the Lima-Santiago route beyond the current Havana-Lima. Cubana has just addressed a petition to Peru's new president, Alejandro Toledo, to review this issue as vital to the tourist interests of both countries.

In conjunction with Aerocaribbean, Cubana transported 810,000 passengers on its international flights in 1998, or 28% of visitors to the country.

2002 ex-UK Schedules

Flights to the Caribbean

6 x Antonov-An-24/-24B/-24RV
1 x Antonov-An-26
5 x F27-400
1 x Ilyushin II-18
10 x Ilyushin II-62M
2 x Ilyushin II-76
4 x TU-154
3 x TU-154M
5 x Yakovlev Yak-4
4 x Yakovlev Yak-42

    HAV Cubanacan Express Associated with Aero Caribbean and CUBANA.  
9H   CUR CuraçaoExel Description
Set up by ExelAviationGroup, the airline operates flights from its Curaçao base to Aruba, Bonaire and St Maarten using the 46-seat ATR.
8U     Dolphin Express    
YU ADM STI Dominair (Aerolineas Dominicanas)

 20NOV02 Dominair commences a daily except Sunday service tomorrow from Santiago, DR to Port-au-Prince. Flights operate with a Let 410. No other airline flies this route. Schedule:

YU855 STI 0800 PAP 0800
YU856 PAP 0830 STI 1030

DO DOA SDQ Dominicana

05FEB02 The Civil Aviation Board has annulled Resolution 281 issued in 1999 that granted the bankrupt state carrier, Dominicana Airlines, exclusivity on routes to the United States for a seven-year period. The measure had been enacted to make Dominicana more attractive to investors during its privatisation. Aeropostal, a Venezuelan private airline, won the privatization bid in September 2001, despite doubts that Aeropostal would have the resources to successfully operate the airline. But the airline has not met contractual obligations stipulated in the privatisation plan. Airline spokesmen have already protested the change in the rules of the game. Now it seems unlikely that Aeropostal will be Dominicana Airline's next partner.

11SEP01 The bidding tender for long-grounded Dominicana de Aviacion has been awarded to Aeropostal Alas de Venezuela. Aeropostal, the only bidder that qualified for the tender, will invest US$10.6 million - the minimum tender price - and provide three 111-seat DC9-31s to begin regional service from Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana.

Grounded in 1997, the airline is equally owned by the state and Aeropostal. To make its privatisation especially attractive, the Dominican Aviation Board granted in 1999 the exclusive right among Dominican airlines to fly to the United States for seven years, of which only two and a half had expired at the time of privatisation. This was opposed by hotel and airline trade associations in the Dominican Republic.

Dominicana's main assets are its routes and a headquarters in Santo Domingo. However, it has US$4 million in accumulated debts which Aeropostal had to assume as part of the privatisation deal.

The privatisation had started a long time ago: as far back as March 2000, the government selected four bidders for the tender of 50 percent of the shares and operational control of the airline. They were Friedman Turby & Co Inc, Aserca Airlines, Lauda-air and Allegro Air. The winning bidder would manage Dominicana as a 50-50 partner with the government.

    STX Domtrave Airways    
4U   HEX Dorado Air    
    CUR Dutch Caribbean Airlines

04SEP01 The startup of this airline was planned for the beginning of September by dissolving the bankrupt Air ALM and creating a new airline without the debts of the old. This new airline was named Dutch Caribbean Airlines (DCA) on 28DEC00 and it received its operating licenses and assets of Air ALM in May 2001. DCA keeps the entire fleet of Air ALM.

Privatizing Air ALM, as originally intended, proved impossible with a debt of 250 million guilders and no money from either the local or Dutch governments. In close consultations with the Federal and Island Receivers in Curaçao, preferential creditors for 20 and 40 million guilders respectively, it was decided to execute an underhand sale of the unburdened assets, including buildings, aircraft parts, office furniture and computers valued at 25 million guilders and place them under DCA, owned by the Island Territory of Curaçao. The assets will allow DCA to accumulate working capital for what has been termed a "lean and mean" airline, free of the debt burdens of Air ALM and its operational losses, so that it can be privatized more easily as well.

The matter of personnel is crucial. Currently, Air ALM Holding, Air ALM Airlines, Air ALM Catering and Air ALM Ground Handling employ a combined 900 people. Catering and ground handling are in the process of being privatised, while DCA will employ no more than 500. It will take over the current fleet with its financial obligations ("burdened" assets).

The bankrupcy of Air Aruba and the three weekly flights to Amsterdam in co-operation with the Belgian charter airline Sobelair, meant that cash flows have increased and contributed to Air ALM's recovery. This is seen as important to attract banks to help finance Dutch Caribbean Airlines.

Chairman: Bas Kooijman



K8   CUR Dutch Caribbean Express


26JUN04 Dutch Caribbean commenced a twice-weekly service on the Curaçao-Aruba-Miami route on 04JUN04. Flights are operated on Thursdays and Sundays with the McDonnell Douglas DC9.

These flights complement the current daily, non-stop Curaçao-Miami flight.

Meanwhile, the airline has been offering flights between Amsterdam and Curaçao five times a week. These flights are operated with a wet-leased TriStar, but are due to be switched to a Boeing 767-300ER from 01JUL04.

06MAY03 From 01MAY03, Dutch Caribbean increased service from Amsterdam to its Curaçao base from three flights to five a week by adding Friday and Saturday flights. The airline credits the success of the transatlantic flights not only to the economic price, but also to the higher maximum allowed baggage weight (35 kg) compared to its competitor KLM which allows a maximum baggage weight of 20 kg for passengers.

Dutch Caribbean also plans to launch a direct, weekly flight from Amsterdam to Aruba in September 2003, thus going head-to-head with KLM which has four weekly flights. The airline is certain that fares for the Amsterdam-Aruba route will fall considerably in the latter part of 2003, which will make Aruba more affordable for Europeans to visit.

23JUN02 Dutch Caribbean will have a daily Amsterdam-Curaçao service when a Friday and Sturday flight is added on 05JUL02. These flights will offer, for the first time, a Business class cabin with 42 seats. Sobelair will be operating the flights using the Boeing 767-300ER.

06APR08 Dutch Caribbean will shortly take over all the flights of Air ALM, the bankrupt airline it emerged from last year, with the exception of the Curaçao-Santo Domingo flights which are due to be taken over on 15MAY02. These include (from Curaçao) all using using the MD-82: from 07APR02 daily except Wednesdays to Miami; from 08APR02 on Mondays and Thursdays to Paramaribo and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays to Port-au-Prince and onto Miami; from 13APR02 on Saturdays to Bonaire and onto Miami (sole operator on this route). Furthermore, its recent alliance with Surnam Airways will begin to bear fruit when it code-shares on Surinam's twice-weekly flights on this route.

28NOV01 From 10DEC01-27MAR02, an extra Amsterdam-Curaçao flight will be operated on Mondays and Wednesdays, making it five per week. All flights are operated by Belgium carrier Sobelair on a wet-lease basis using the 272-seat Boeing 767-300ER.

11NOV01 Dutch Caribbean launches today a four times a week service from Curaçao to Port of Spain and, from tomorrow, a twice-weekly service to Kingston. All flights will be operated with MD-80s. Schedules:
K83707 1347 CUR 2220-2350 POS
K83511 14 CUR 1345-1425 KIN

History Sister airline of Dutch Caribbean Airlines, set up to operate the "ABC" islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao using the Dash 8 series 300 from end-October/early November 2001. It is considered crucial to keep operating these routes.

DCE also took over the thrice-weekly flights between Amsterdam and Curaçao operated by Sobelair.

Destinations Amsterdam (from 01NOV01), Aruba (from 01NOV01), Bonaire (from 01NOV01), Caracas (from 01APR02), Curaçao (from 28OCT01), Kingston (from 12NOV01), Maracaibo (04APR02), Miami (from 07APR02), Port-au-Prince (01APR01), Paramaribo (from 08APR02), Port of Spain (from 11NOV01), St Maarten (from 28OCT01).

President: Mario Evertsz

3 x MD-82
4 x Dash 8 series 300
4 x McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30

    CUR DutchCaribbeanExel

26JUN04 DutchCaribbeanExel has announced that from 15JUL04 a twice-weekly service will be provided from Amsterdam to Curaçao. Flights will be operated with the Boeing 767-300ER of Holland Exel, owner of the DutchCaribbeanExel brand.

These flights will be in competition with those of KLM (which has a daily flight) and Dutch Caribbean Express (five times a week).

    POT Dustair Charters from Boscobel 1 x Mitsubishi MU-2P
    SLU Eagle Air Services    
JM   BGI Eastern Caribbean Express

Ceased trading on 31MAR01 after less than one year of flying after racking up losses exceeding EC$1m. Its three aircraft were returned to Air Jamaica Express (also part-owned by Butch Stewart.) at Montego Bay to help in its expansion plans.

Part-owned by Gordon "Butch" Stewart, chairman of Air Jamaica, Eastern Caribbean Express is headquartered in St Lucia, where maintenance is also done, but the operating base is in Barbados. "EC Xpress" started operations on 17APR00 with two 37-seat DASH 8s.

The airline provides connecting flights at Barbados for Air Jamaica (from New York Kennedy and Montego Bay), Virgin Atlantic Airways (from London Gatwick) and Air Canada (from Toronto) to St Lucia, St Vincent and Grenada.

Destinations are Barbados, St Lucia George F L Charles (SLU), Grenada, Port of Spain (from 14FEB01), St Vincent (from 05JUN00), Dominica Melville Hall.

President: Keith F Pope

3 x de Havilland DASH 8 series 100

The aircraft are named Spirit of Bridgetown, Spirit of Castries and Spirit of St. George's


    MHH Falcon Air Charter Charter service in The Bahamas.  
    SJU Fina Air

Plans to start service from San Juan and Mayaguez to the Dominican Republic in 2003 using two SAAB 340s.

FK WAF CPX Flamenco Airways    
    GDT Flamingo Air Services Charters between the Turks & Caicos Islands. Ceased trading in 1995.  
    CUR Flexair    
    EIS Fly BVI    
HK FSC STT Four Star Air Cargo

A division of Four Star Aviation, Inc., St Thomas-based Four Star Air Cargo operates scheduled and charter cargo within the US and British Virgin Islands and to Puerto Rico.

Arecibo, San Juan, St Croix, St Thomas, Tortola

President: F J McCarthy Jnr

3 x Convair 440
6 x Douglas DC-3C
    PLS Global Airways Charters between the Turks & Caicos Islands  
    ANU Gold Aviation

Administration office in Konigstein, Germany

Manager: Peter Notte

1 x BAe 3103 Jetstream 31
DV   EIS Gorda Aero Services    
    BQN Gulf and Caribbean Air Head office in Ft Lauderdale  
3M GFT SJU Gulfstream International Airlines

Gulfstream launched flights from its new Caribbean base of Puerto Rico's San Juan to St Thomas, St Croix, St Maarten and St Kitts (now suspended) from 01NOV99 and between St Thomas and St Croix. Initially six Beechcraft jet-prop aircraft were based in San Juan and some 75 local people hired to support the expansion. This move represented an increase of approximately 24 percent of the airline's total daily flights.

Subsequently, Tortola and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands were added to the network.

Continental, United, Northwest and COPA code-share on Gulfstream's Caribbean flights.

Flights to the Caribbean

    ORG Gum Air

On 10FEB01, one of the airline's two GAF Nomads (PZ-TBP) crashed into a mountainside in Suriname on Saturday, killing all 10 people on board, including six Brazilian musicians traveling to a carnival celebration, a pregnant woman and the pilot Piet Gummels who was the airline's owner. The twin-engine plane was on a charter flight from the South American nation's capital, Paramaribo, to Jakobkondre, a gold mining town about 40 miles to the southwest, said Vivian Harenberg, the Civil Aviation Authority's safety chief. He said rescue workers have removed the victims from wreckage at the crash site, two miles from Jakobkondre. Aviation officials were still investigating to determine the cause of the crash, Harenberg said. The Brazilians on the flight -- four women and two men -- were samba musicians traveling to participate in carnival celebrations in Jakobkondre, where many Brazilian gold miners live, said John Veira, head of the Civil Aviation Authority in Jakobkondre. There were also four Surinamese men on the plane, including the pilot, he said. The propeller-powered Nomad had fallen out of radio contact, and personnel at the airstrip in Jakobkondre said it was flying low and crashed into a mountain, where they saw a plume of smoke rise, said Lex Gummels of Gum Airlines. The pilot was his brother, Piet Gummels, 59, he said. The 20-minute flight is popular with gold miners who live in Jakobkondre and buy supplies in coastal Paramaribo, he said.

Gum Air is associated with Suriname Sky Farmers.

GY GYA GEO Guyana Airways 2000

News: 15th May 2001 Guyana Airways 2000 suspended all flights (Georgetown to New York and Toronto) from 12MAY01 due to failing finances. The airline has arranged for current ticket holders to fly with North American Airlines and the BWIA West Indies Airways.

The airline, with 150 workers including five Guyanese pilots retrained at a cost of US$140,000, is grounded until it can negotiate a new lease arrangement with the Australian-based Ansett Worldwide. The airline leased a Boeing 757-200 aircraft from Ansett, but the contract expired on 12MAY01 and the aircraft was returned to its New York base the next day. "The GA Board said it expects to resume full operations of its flights as soon as it concludes the arrangements for the acquisition of a majority interest in the airline by a new investor", said the airline in a statement. The airline's chairman, Yesu Persaud, who also runs a local beverage giant and a commercial bank, was out of the country reportedly still in negotiations to get Ansett to renew the lease.

Violence from the opposition protests that have stirred unrest since the elections on 19MAR01 may have made potential investors jittery about taking a major stake at this time in the privately owned-operated national flag carrier. A single investor is reportedly keen to buy into the airline but cannot come up with the money quickly.

Guyana Airways 2000 has debts of US$8m, almost US$5m of which represents losses incurred since privatisation in April 1999. The remainder mostly comprises a US$2.2m liability absorbed from the old operation. There is a GY$160M (US$12.2m) credit facility the airline has with Demerara Bank Limited (DBL) for which a debenture was issued. DBL has the first lien on the assets of the airline.

News: September 1999 The US DoT amended Guyana Airways 2000's exemption authority in September 1999 to include service to Santo Domingo, St Lucia, Grenada and Haïti as intermediate points on its Georgetown-New York route. The service may be conducted only under wet-lease.

History Founded in 1939 as British Guiana Airways (BGA), was nationalised in July 1965. In September 1963, Guyana Airways was established to replace BGA. After the pullout from Guyana in the late 1970s by most of the foreign carriers, GY started international routes. These included Barbados, London and, at the time of collapse, New York, Toronto and the recently-launched Trinidad.

Launched with great fanfare in July 1999, Guyana Airways 2000 was set up by Aviation Investments which bought a 51 percent stake from the government in the failed Guyana Airways for US$1.8m, with the government holding the other 49 percent worth US$1.7m in assets of the former airline. The new company was therefore valued at US$3.5m, and Aviation Investments also assumed US$2.2m in liabilities of the US$9m debt owed by the old GY. The consortium of Aviation Investments Incorporated (AIC) is made up of local privately-owned airlines Trans Guyana Airways, Kayman Sankar Aviation, Air Services Limited and Mekdeci Aviation, local private sector companies of Demerara Distilleries Limited (DDL), Gafoor and Sons (GAFSONS) Limited, Vinelli Industries Limited and Mings Products and Services Limited (MPSL) and two overseas-based Guyanese businessmen Harry Rambarran and Larry Singh.

The former state-run national carrier of Guyana was sold in April 1999 by the government after it racked up debts of over US$9m. It had halted flights in 1999 for nearly five months before the government clinched the deal with Aviation Investments. The new company, however, started operations seriously under-capitalised with burdensome debts and planned to increase its share capital to US$20-US$25m to fund an expansion programme which includes more flights and more aircraft.

Whereas the old Guyana Airways had operated international and domestic routes, the new airline decided to operate only international routes. The domestic routes were deemed unattractive due to the opening up of more roads in remote interior locations, the use of jet-boats and a reduction in the number of passengers due to the fall in world gold prices. Furthermore, the lower air-fares for domestic routes that were offered by the old GY had contributed to the collapse of the airline. The two Twin Otters inherited from the old GY which were used on domestic routes were therefore disposed of.

Staffing was also different. The old GY had employed nearly 500 people, all of whom had been retrenched. Only 30 were initially re-employed by the new GY.

The new GY wet-leased a 278-seat (24 First, 254 Economy) Airbus A300-600R from Nordstress Australia Pty for its inaugural service to New York Kennedy on 09JUL99, followed by services to Toronto on 15JUL99 and Miami on 14NOV99. The latter service was axed in late January 2000 after only three months.

GY planned to operate a dry-lease service by July 2000 in order to meet international regulations in becoming a flag carrier of Guyana but, in a big about-turn, axed the plan to acquire a second A300 and had to sign another deal with Nordstress to replace the A300 with a smaller 195-seat Boeing 757 in May 2000 to cut costs. The 757 is on a wet-lease arrangement with the option to convert to dry-lease within six months, so Guyanese flight crew will then fly the aircraft. The plan is now to convert to dry-lease by October 2000 and use Guyanese pilots.

Employees total 150 (as at May 2001)

Chairman: Yesu Persaud

Main base Georgetown Cheddi Jagan International (GEO)

Destinations Georgetown, New York, Toronto (charter)

1 x Boeing 757-200 (12 Business/183 Economy)

Photograph of cabin crew and 757

    GEO Guyana Defence Force

Operates domestic commercial Guyana flights, mainly the hinterland region. Local domestic airlines are not happy about the GDF operating commercial flights.

On 06JAN01, an Islander (8R GFN) piloted by Captain Vickram Nandan, crashed in the Ebini mountain 5.5 miles from Mahdia whilst en-route from Kato to Mahdia, Region 8 (Potaro/Siparuni), a mining community in an area where there are no airstrips. Also on board were co-pilot Lieutenant, Floyd Gittens, 27, and the charterer of the aircraft, building contractor Ravindranauth Sharma. All were killed.

In 1998, American Robert Stutzman died when the GDF helicopter he was in crashed on take off at Timehri.

1 x Bell 412 helicopter
2 x Shorts Skyvan 3 Variant 100
1 x Harbin Y-12
    CAY Guyane Aero Services    
    OGL GUYSUCO Aircraft Department Domestic Guyana flights. Division of Guyana Sugar Corp.  
9F HLS PAP Haïti Air Freight International Haïti's sole cargo carrier.  
9C   PAP Haïti Caribbean

09MAR03 Effective immediately, Haïti Caribbean is up to three weekly flights between New York JFK and Port-au-Prince from one weekly flight. Flights are operated with wet-lease Pace Airlines 757s twice per week and a TransMeridian 757 once per week. The flights appear to be operated on behalf of New York City-based tour operator TravelSpan Vacations.

History Set up in 2002 to provide passenger, mail and cargo service between Port-au-Prince and the US, specifically Miami and New York (both Kennedy and Newark). The first flights were operated by North American 757s on a wet-lease basis.

HG   PAP Haïti International Airlines Owned 55% by citizens of Haïti and 45% by a citizen of The Netherlands.  
X4 HTC PAP Haïti Trans Air Founded in 1987 by Charles Voigt, it operated flights between Port-au-Prince and Miami for eight years.  
8F HNR PAP Haïti National Airlines (HANAIR)    
WD HBC PAP Halisa Air    
2Y HCL SLU Helenair

History In May 2001, Helenair's sole valuable asset (its leased de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 300) was purchased by Bruce Kaufman, owner of Trans Island Air 2000.

    SFG Heli-Inter Caraïbes    
    CAY Heli-Inter Guyane    
    SPR Hustler Tours    
    SIG Icarus Caribbean    
  IIE SJU Inter Island Express Owner: Eric Stubbe 2 x Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
    PBM Inter Tropical Aviation    
  JY IWV PLS Interisland Airways

Parent organisation/shareholders Lyndon R Gardiner

Description Passenger and freight airline which operates scheduled flights between the Turks & Caicos Islands from its Providenciales base. Charter flights are also offered as far west as Jamaica and as far east as Barbados.

Owner Lyndon Gardiner also owns Provo Air Center, the only full-service fixed base operator in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

History Established in 1992 with one five-passenger Aztec by pilot Lyndon Gardiner.

Destinations (scheduled)
Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos, Providenciales, South Caicos and Salt Cay.

President: Lyndon R Gardiner

Main base Providenciales (PLS)

1 x BN2A Islander (9 pax)
1 x DHC6 Twin Otter (19 pax)

    ANU Inter-Island Aviation    
    VQS Isla Nena Air Service

02SEP03 An Isla Nena Caravan Cessna 208, en-route from Fajardo to Culebra, lost engine power and fell into an emergency landing in the sea two days ago near a crowded stretch of Puerto Rico's famous Flamenco Beach, on Culebra Island. The nine passengers and pilot walked away with minor cuts and bruises. The plane's engine died as the pilot was preparing for the difficult approach to Culebra's airport, which involves a curve over the beach before flying between two mountains and swooping down to a short runway. Police said the aircraft glided without an engine for 10 minutes before the pilot guided it into the sea.

Description Vieques, Puerto Rico-based charter airline with dmestic flights from San Juan and Fajardo to Culebra and Vieques.

G5   GCM Island Air    
    MBJ Jamaica AirLINK Charters within Jamaica from Montego Bay.  
  JAF KIN Jamaica Air Freighters Adhoc cargo charters using leased aircraft, bases in Kingston and Miami.  
    BZE Javier's Flying Service    
    SJU Jet Center   1 x Learjet
    HEX Jet Expreso    
    GCM Jetflight    
    OGL Kayman Sankar Aviation Domestic Guyana flights  
4M   SDQ Lan Dominicana

24MAY03 Lan Dominicana, the airline set up by LanChile, plans to inaugurate a service from Santo Domingo to Miami from 16JUN03. Flights will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays using a Boeing 767-300ER wet-leased from LanChile. The service will be extended soon to other major Dominican resort destinations, such as Punta Cana, with authority to offer combined passenger, cargo and mail operations also to New York and Santiago, Chile.

History Lan Dominicana received clearance from the Department of Transportation (DOT) of the United States to engage in scheduled foreign air transportation of passengers, property and mail cargo between Santo Domingo and Punta Cana, San Juan, Miami and New York. The permission limits Lan Dominicana to conduct these services only by wet-leasing aircraft from LanChile. The clearance came into effect on 01APR03 and is valid for one year.

LanChile has a minority equity position in Lan Dominicana along with a majority of Dominican shareholders, reflecting the strategy of expanding in the Americas through national partnerships with local investors, as it has with LanPeru and LanEcuador.

L8   GEO Laparkan Airways Cargo only. Corporate HQ in Miami  
    NAS Lauderdale Jets Head Office at Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE)  
7Z LBH FPO Laker Airways (Bahamas)

12FEB06 Sir Freddie laker, who started Laker Airways (Bahamas) in 1992, died three days ago. The airline was formed to provide airlift to Royal Oasis Resort in Grand Bahama, but in December 2003 Royal Oasis terminated its charter contract with Laker due to financial constraints. At the time, the airline provided over 30 per cent of airlift into Freeport, the destination's airport, from several US points. In particular, Fort Lauderdale, which provided most of Freeport's traffic, had that traffic carried mainly by Laker Airways.

With almost all of its business gone, the airline somehow kept going but terminated its operations in October 2004 after damage caused by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne on the Bahamas. The liquidation of the airline was in August 2005.

17MAY04 Laker plans to offer nonstop service from Rickenbacker International (LCK), Ohio, to the Bahamas. The airline said the flights will run Thursdays and Sundays, although it did not give a start date. It will use the Boeing 727 for the flights, which will include a meal.

Although Rickenbacker is mostly known for cargo flights, it opened a passenger charter terminal last year.

01DEC02 Laker has suspended their flights to Dallas/Ft Worth from Freeport, Bahamas. The flights operated twice-weekly with 727-200s. Presently, Laker flies to the following from Freeport (all twice weekly) except Ft Lauderdale (10 times a week):

  • Ft Lauderdale
  • Hartford
  • Baltimore/Washington
  • Cleveland
  • Cincinnati
  • Raleigh/Durham
  • Richmond
  • St Louis

Description Has carried over 3 million passengers to its Freeport base for tour operators since starting operations in 1992.

Call sign: Laker Bahamas

Flights to the Caribbean

Destinations Cincinnati, Cleveland, Freeport, Ft Lauderdale, Hartford, Milwaukee, Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond.

Chairman & Managing Director: Sir Freddie Laker

2 x Boeing 727-200 Advanced

28OCT04 LIAT, which is 48 years old this month, has little to celebrate as it battles to reduce its crippling debt burden and high costs. Whilst the airline declines to say how much it owes, it is known that it was EC$50 million two years ago and since then fuel costs have escalated enormously.

A cost-saving measure will be implemented from 15 November: all baggage over and above the free baggage allowance of 50 lbs per adult/child, excluding personal items will be charged for at the appropriate baggage rate. And during the Christmas period between 10 December and 9 January, when Caribbean travellers tend to carry the most luggage, all passengers will be restricted to a maximum of two pieces of checked luggage.

29JUN03 The Barbados parliament last Tuesday approved a bill to guarantee payment of US$16,462 per month, being its portion of the 9.34 per cent interest on the US$23,500 ten-year bond issue, raised by the then CIBC (later merged with Barclays as FirstCaribbean), for cash-strapped LIAT. The potential liability is US$1,975,560. The Barbados government felt obligated to assist the airline since it is a major shareholder and reckons that it will otherwise have to pay its share of an estimated US$75.3 million if LIAT were to fail. Furthermore, close to 100 nationals are employed either directly or indirectly by LIAT.

However, the Barbados government warned that it would withdraw its support for the regional airline if it does not show a return to viability by year-end. One of the problems, though, is that the viability of LIAT is also contingent upon other shareholders meeting their obligations.

In the meantime, LIAT has been cutting staff, down to 660 from over 1,000 as at last April.

01MAR03 In a further bid to save money, senior management of LIAT, as well as its pilots and engineers, will be taking a ten per cent pay cut effective next month for six months. This should save the beleagured carrier US$11.1 million.

The airline is in dire financial trouble, has short-term debts of US$11.1 million and long-term debts of US$22.2 million. Whilst additional capitalisation of US$25 million is needed, there is a pressing need for an immediate cash injection of US$9.2 million to stave of creditors. Failure to pay is likely to mean repossession of at least two of the airline's aircraft.

Eastern Caribbean governments are anxious to find a solution, but are not rushing to provide money. One of them, Trinidad & Tobago, is keen to bond LIAT and BWIA much closer together. One of the options being discussed is a holding company comprised of the shareholders of both airlines and two separate operating entities underneath, both retaining their own individual brand

22FEB03 LIAT has once again approached Eastern Caribbean governments for an injection of funds to keep trading. The airline needs US$9.2 million to keep creditors from calling in their loans. This is despite a US$4.05 million bailout only last November and a cut in its workforce from 700 to 459. But LIAT continues to struggle for reasons including competition from Caribbean Star and increased insurance and security costs following 11 September.

In response, CARICOM heads have set up a special aviation committee under the chairmanship of Maurice Edwards, director of Finance in St. Vincent & the Grenadines, with a mandate to carry out a preliminary review of LIAT's business plan, a financial audit and to help governments design proposals for funding. This will be done within the next six months with technical assistance from the World Bank. Furthermore, Ken Gordon, former chairman of BWIA is in the process of setting up a group that is expected to explore a merger between LIAT, BWIA and Air Jamaica.

04NOV02 LIAT has got yet another lease on life with an emergency EC$11 million (US$4.05 million) bailout. The beleaguered airline went cap in hand once again to Caricom governments seeking help to bail it out of its financial difficulties. It warned that if it did not get some money quickly, the airline could go belly up before the middle of this month. This prompted an emergency Caricom mini-summit in St Vincent last Saturday during which Trinidad & Tobago's Prime Minister Patrick Manning committed EC$4.4 million, the biggest share at 40 per cent, to rescue the ailing carrier. Other contributors were Barbados (22 per cent), St. Vincent & the Grenadines (10.1 per cent), St Lucia (3.4 per cent), Grenada (1.4 per cent) and St.Kitts & Nevis (0.8 per cent). Manning said that his government's contribution was partly for BWIA, in which the government has a big shareholding. BWIA itself has a big stake in LIAT. With these commitments, LIAT can borrow the money it needs.

Originally, LIAT was seeking EC$40 million (US$14.8 million), but it needed EC$11 million immediately or else it would have to stop operating by 12 November. The heads agreed that that kind of money could not have been considered at this time, but went ahead and guaranteed the EC$11 million the airline needed right now. In offering his assistance, Manning mandated that LIAT's board of directors come up with a plan to restructure the airline in two weeks. A committee was also set up, to be chaired by Trinidad & Tobago to address the question of air transport in the region as a matter of urgency.

With these new monies it means that LIAT over the past 12 months or so has received close to EC$65 million (US$24.1 million) either in loans, cash or debt forgiveness. Sometime last year the airline negotiated a loan from CIBC for EC$27 million (US$10 million), which was guaranteed by several governments, including St Lucia, Barbados, St Vincent and Antigua; it sold five of its aircraft and netted somewhere in the vicinity of EC$18 million (US$6.7 million) and St Vincent earlier this year forgave some of the airline's debts and injected cash into its operations to the tune of close to EC$7 million (US$2.6 million).

30JUL02 LIAT has leased a Dash 8-300 from Bombardier. The aircraft was previously operated by Brymon Airways as (G-BRYM). LIAT is planning to acquire two more Dash-8s.

23JUN02 LIAT will launch a Monday and Thursday flight from Antigua to Santo Domingo on 15JUL02.

Schedule from Antigua
LI500 14 ANU 1000-1215 SDQ

Schedule from Santo Domingo
LI501 14 SDQ 1255-1510 ANU

On the same day, LIAT's alliance with BWIA will commence.

A new handling company – Caribbean Airport Services Ltd, will come on stream from 01AUG02. LIAT will own 51 per cent of shares with the remaining 49 per cent held by shareholders.

09JUN02 After several cutbacks in routes operated with its own aircraft, LIAT will launch new routes by flying into Nevis from Antigua (daily from 15JUL02) and from San Juan (daily from 16JUL02). Anguilla will also benefit, as the new flight LI544 continues to that destination.

The timings enable same-day connections at Antigua for all inbound UK flights and at San Juan for all US flights.

Schedule from Antigua
LI544 daily ANU 1700-1725 NEV 1740-1810 AXA

Schedule from San Juan
LI563 daily SJU 1425-1535 NEV 1550-1615 ANU

17MAY02 LIAT today announced that its Central Telephone Sales Unit will open next Monday. Although not disclosed by the airline, it is located in Trinidad, as previously reported in this website. The unit will be fully operational throughout the LIAT network except the French and Dutch Islands by the middle of June. LIAT's current local numbers at 20 islands will still be available to customers until the centre is in full swing.

The crentralisation of sales and reservations means job losses at several islands, including the airline's twin hubs at Antigua and Barbados.

11MAR02 More than three months late, LIAT has recently obtained the injection of funds its needs to replace its 10 ageing aircraft, build up a spare parts inventory, invest in information technology, finance its voluntary severance programme, restructure some short term loans and boost marketing initiatives. EC$31 million (US$11 million) has been raised by a Unit Trust bond issue from the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia, Barbados and St Vincent and the Grenadines plus two private Antiguan companies (Antigua Commercial Bank and the Hadeed Group) who acted as guarantors for the money sourced from CIBC West Indies Holdings in Barbados.

LIAT is trying to further slim down its employee count from 700 to 459.

19FEB02 LIAT announced yesterday a new fare package which it promised would provide “ease of understanding, greater transparency, more flexibility and increased value”. Fares are at four levels:

  • Bargain Rates, which are special offers called "Gadabout"
  • Budget Fares - popular excursion levels up to 14 days
  • Value Fares - fully flexible 30-day excursions
  • Normal Fares - one ways or return yearly fares.

From now until 21MAR, LIAT will make over 30,000 seats available at the "Gadabout" levels which offer typical discounts of US$46 and above off the Value Fares. For example, Guyanese can now travel to Barbados from as US$119 return and to Antigua from US$220 return.

This news comes four days after the airline returned to the Grenadines (Bequia (BQU), Mustique (MQS), Canouan Island (CIW) and Union Island (UNI)) and Carriacou (CRU) by launching flights from its Barbados (BGI) hub. All flights are operated by the 19-seat Twin Otters of Barbados-based Trans Island Air 2000, an airline best known for its charter flights. Here is the schedule of the flights.

LI604 daily BGI 0800-0845 MQS
LI606 daily BGI 0815-0905 CIW
LI608 daily BGI 1200-1250 UNI
LI610 daily BGI 1225-1315 CIW
LI614 daily BGI 1600-1645 MQS
LI616 daily BGI 1630-1720 CIW

LI605 daily MQS 0855-0910 UNI 0920-0925 CRU 0935-1030 BGI
LI607 daily CIW 0930-0940 BQU 0950-1040 BGI
LI609 daily UNI 1310-1315 CRU 1325-1345 MQS 1400-1450 BGI
LI611 daily CIW 1330-1345 BQU 1350-1440 BGI
LI615 daily MQS 1655-1715 CRU 1725-1730 UNI 1740-1835 BGI
LI617 daily CIW 1730-1740 BQU 1800-1850 BGI

10JAN02 LIAT announces a strategic alliance with BWIA.

01DEC01 LIAT's strategy for survival and growth can be outlined as follows.

1. The switch from island hopping to operating from hub airports, namely its home base of Antigua's V C Bird International (ANU) and Barbados's Grantley Adams International (BGI). This enables the airline to better focus on its operations. In particular, LIAT is promoting itself as as the number one connector airline into its region. This is mainly out of the Barbados hub and the winter 2001/02 schedule, which went into effect on 16NOV, has four daily flights to St Vincent (one continues to Grenada and Port of Spain, one continues to Grenada and back to Barbados), one daily flight to St Vincent which originates in Antigua, five daily flights to St Lucia (two continue to Dominica of which one continues to Antigua, two continue to Antigua and one is stopping) and four daily flights to Grenada (one continues to Tobago and Port of Spain, one is stopping and the other two have been referred to above).

2. The deals with other carriers to extend its network and cut costs. Examples are the operation by Carib Aviation and Air Caraïbes of flights on behalf of LIAT, code-sharing on flights of its CaribSky partner WINAIR and LIAT's sole agreement to provide Air Jamaica with connecting flights at BGI. Unfortunately, Air Jamaica does not consistently show LI flights, eg its reservations system shows JFK to St Lucia flights connecting with BW rather than LI ...

LIAT is also trying (again) to get closer to BWIA and would like BW's BWee Express to be folded and its Dash 8 routes flown by LIAT.

3. Elimination of debts by converting money owed to Caribbean government shareholders and employees to 2.5 per cent redeemable preference shares. All the government shareholders have agreed to this. Furthermore, the governments of Antigua & Barbuda and St Vincent & the Grenadines have increased their investment in the airline, with Antigua & Barbuda doubling its investment to about EC$4m (US$1.48m).

4. Beefing up the top management in January 2001 with the appointment of a chief operations officer, a Director of Commercial Planning and a Chief Financial Officer.

5. Cost cutting, including a reduction of staffing from 1,016 to 850.

6. Re-equipping of its fleet, either with 12 48-seat ATR 42s offered by the manufacturer on generous terms (times are hard these days) or Dash 8s from Bombardier, the supplier of LIAT's existing Dash 8s.

7. The launching of a Unit Trust bond issue in Barbados and Trinidad, which should have been completed by the end of November 2001. The issuance of the bonds is expected to inject some EC$25m (US$9.26m) into the ailing airline. The this added capital would be used for the airline's fleet replacement programme, spare parts and retrenchment.

8. The establishment of a single reservations centre in Port of Spain to cut costs, including eight reservations agents in Antigua and four in Barbados. What is noteworthy is the selection of RSL, which handles reservations for American Airlines and American Eagle, to provide the reservations service instead of BWIA. What swung the decision for LIAT was the much lower costs and better service by RSL. Furthermore, BWIA was surprised to find that it even had competition, did not expect to have to make a business proposal and did not appear to be planning to treat LIAT as anything more than an extension to its own reservation service.

The centre should open early in 2002 with opening times from about 0700-1900.

01SEP01 This week, LIAT sent redundancy notices to employees in three countries - Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent - where agreements on cost-cutting had not been made. The biggest numbers being lost are in Barbados where only four of more than 25 employees will be retained. These four, with Caribbean Aircraft Handling, will continue to provide a service. An agreement has been reached in Dominica and negotiations are continuing in Antigua, St Lucia, and some of LIAT's locations in the northern islands. The airline is looking for a reduction from 1,016 to 850 employees in a bid to cut annual costs by EC$750,000 (US$277,777).

In March 2001, LIAT obtained shareholder approval to offer 2.5 per cent redeemable preference shares to each creditor shareholder government in lieu of debts owed to them as at December 31, 2000. Also, 2.5 per cent redeemable preference shares will be offered to LIAT staff, being “part of an agreement to write off salary and outstanding vacation provisions”. The amount of money owed to staff members is not immediately known but the airline has a long outstanding debt of approximately EC$20 million (US$7.4 million) to regional governments for landing and navigational fees.

The restructuring is part of the 3-year business plan, under the theme “Cooperation, the Key to Success”, approved by LIAT's board in July 2000 which also envisaged alliances with WINAIR and BWIA and additional DASH-8s.

LIAT currently owes US$80m in total but won't have to repay all of it, especially to the Antigua government which injected US$8.8m in the late 1990s and has virtually waived US$5.1m owed in landing and navigation fees. The St Lucia government has also written off US$1m in 1994. In November 2000, the Antigua government disclosed a further US$925,000 loan guarantee pending a business plan. However, Caribbean governments want overdue landing and navigation fees paid, including Barbados (which is owed an undisclosed but substantial amount), St Lucia (US$2.07m), St Vincent (US$1.4m), Dominica (US$0.56m) and Grenada (US$0.44m). St Lucia has given LIAT a deadline of 01NOV00 to start paying its debts.

The airline's 850 workers will not be getting a pay-hike until a sound net profit is recorded, which may not happen until 2003.

25JAN01 LIAT announced yesterday a reorganisation of its management structure, with the appointment of a manager for daily operations and the splitting of the commercial department in two. Garry Cullen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Antigua-based carrier, said the new portfolios approved by the Board of Directors were part of the overall strategy to ensure LIAT became a profit-making entity while consolidating its alliances with three smaller carriers [CaribSky] and BWIA.

In charge of day-to-day activities at the 40-year-old carrier is Louis Harkin who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO). Harkin, a former Director of Operations at Aer Lingus, would manage the operations of engineering and cargo services. Another new face is Rens Van Eenennaam, formerly of the Dutch Antilles airline ALM. He is LIAT's Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He will also be in charge of Information Technology, Internal Audit, Procurement and Corporate Planning. With the Marketing Department now split in two, Vice President (Marketing) David Stuart has been made Director of Marketing to focus on delivering LIAT's challenging passenger revenue targets and handle all critical contacts with customers and travel agents. Danny Oliver has been appointed Director of Commercial Planning. Oliver, who has been with LIAT for 20 years now, is responsible for Pricing, Scheduling, Market Planning and Analysis as well as co-ordinating all LIAT's alliance activities.

Description Provides frequent inter-island flights in the Eastern Caribbean from its Antigua and Barbados bases, with a big operation at St Lucia's George F L Charles. Seventy per cent of LIAT's market is the point-to-point intra-regional passenger, business, VFR (visiting friends and relatives) and leisure.

History Prior to 1995, 11 governments of the region owned LIAT. It operated to a quasi-social mandate, in that it was obliged to operate certain services that were not commercially justified. In return, it was due a monthly subvention. In 1995, it was decided to privatise the company. The outstanding monies owed to LIAT from subventions and the monies owed by LIAT for non payment of landing fees, etc. were written off at that point. The former being the larger amount. LIAT was partially privatised in that approximately 65 per cent of its shares were sold to private shareholders. The company was given a clear commercial mandate but it was inadequately capitalised. It was also burdened with a very high wage bill, as it had not reduced staff in line with its cut back in fleet size in the 1990s. The company struggled for its survival until, in February 2000, the shareholders took a decision to give LIAT one more chance, following R Allen Stanford's withdrawal of interest in investing in the company.

They instructed that the management team be strengthened to implement a major cost-cutting programme, build alliance relationships with other carriers including, particularly, BWIA and to consolidate its market position through investment in its brand and people. The business plan to implement this change programme was approved by the shareholders in September 2000. It called for a major financial restructuring programme involving the conversion of Government Debt into Preference Shares and the raising of US$25m in equity capital. This recapitalisation of the company (overdue since 1995) was necessary in order to fund the social costs arising out of the redundancy programme, replace the older Dash 8-300s in the fleet and to invest in a major corporate renewal programme including staff training and development.

Unfortunately, only US$2m was raised through a rights issue, which still left a shortfall of US$23m. In December 2002, a number of the shareholders agreed to guarantee loans up to US$13.2m to keep LIAT in a positive cash flow position during the financial restructuring period. US$4.1m of this is raised so far and LIAT is hopeful of raising the balance very shortly (as of June 2003).


CaribSky (Founding member)

Call sign LIAT

Destinations Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Canouan Island, Dominica (Cane Field and Melville Hall), Fort-de-France, Georgetown, Mustique, Nevis, Point-a-Pitre, Port of Spain, San Juan, Santo Domingo (from 15JUL02), St Croix, St Kitts, St Lucia George F L Charles, St Maarten, St Thomas, St Vincent, Tobago, Union Island, Tortola

Note: (1) Carib Aviation operates all LI flights from Antigua to Point-a-Pitre and Dominica Cane Field (2) Air Caraïbes operates all LIAT flights from Fort-de-France to St Lucia (3) Trans Island Air 2000 operates all LIAT flights from Barbados to Bequia, Mustique, Canouan Island, Union Island and Carriacou (4) LIAT code-shares on WINAIR's flights from St Maarten to Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis and Antigua (5) LIAT will use its own aircraft to Nevis from 15JUL02

Pass LIAT offers three Air Passes

Chairman: Wilbur Harrigan
Chief Executive Officer: Gary Cullen
Chief Operating Officer: Louis Harkin

4 x de Havilland DASH-8 series 300
7 x de Havilland DASH-8 series 100

TU LTA PMV Linea Turística Aereotuy    
    GBJ Marie Galante Aviation    
    SIG M & N Aviation    
    FPO Major's Air Services    
    CAP Marien Air Air Taxi from Cap Haïtien to anywhere in Haïti and to the Dominican Republic, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and Jamaica.  
MW MYD BZE Maya Island Air Info also at  
EY   GUA Mayan World Airlines    
    SXM Melmik Aviation    
    SJU Merlin Express    
      Mission Aviation Fellowship Based at Port-au-Prince's Aviation Generale  
Q4 MAW SVD Mustique Airways    
    POS Nealco Air Services    
VF   NEV Nevis Express

Inaugurated Nevis-St Kitts flights in December 1993 with 9-seat Britten-Norman Islanders, and now operates four daily flights using the same type of aircraft. The airline also operates a daily St Kitts-Nevis-San Juan and a daily Nevis-San Juan flight.

There are day trips to St Maerten and St Barth every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Alliance GoCaribbean

President: Alan Haddadi

3 x Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander
1 x Beech 1900C (added June 2001)

    ANU Norman Aviation Owner: Martin S Norman 2 x Piper PA
      Overeem Air Service Based at Nieuw Nickerie  
    SLU Pan Europeenne Air Service Based at Lyons Airport  
    CUR Pelican Air    
    SIG Pro-Air Services  

1 x Gulstream Aero Commander
2 x Piper Aztec F

    PLS Provo Flying Service Charters between the Turks & Caicos Islands. Ceased trading in 1995.  
    PRA Puerto Rico Airways The US DOT granted Puerto Rico Airways a waiver in July 2000 from dormancy provisions through Jan. 29, 2001, to begin operations. PRA was granted DOT certificate authority in July 1999. The startup told DOT it "continues to diligently pursue funding from potential investors" and expects to conclude investment negotiations soon. At least three financiers are considering investment in the carrier, PRA told DOT. It has "signed a letter of intent with a prominent and well-recognized aircraft lessor for several aircraft pending funding" and is working on securing airport services. PRA plans low-cost service between Puerto Rico and the U.S. mainland.  
5G QNA SDQ Queen Air

10MAY03 Receives from the Dominican Republic Aeronautical Authority its Dominican Flag Carrier Certification on behalf of Viva Airlines.

DOT approved a one-year exemption renewal in December 1999 for Queen Air to conduct, under wet-lease, scheduled service between Santo Domingo and co-terminal points Miami, New York and San Juan.

    MHH Reliable Air Service    
    SIG Roblex Aviation One of their Douglas DC-3s ditched into the lagoon next to San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marin Airport on 04APR01. The aircraft was being flown on a test flight when both engines failed. Both pilots were rescued.  
  ROR OGL Roraima Airways

Domestic Guyana flights

Most pilots are freelance as low scheduled operations cannot justify permanent pilots

Destinations: Eterinbang, Georgetown Ogle, Lethem, Mabaruma, Skeldon

1 x Cessna 402B (for sale)
2 x Britten-Norman BN2 Islander
1 x Bell 206L-1 Long Ranger

V5 VKO AUA Royal Aruban Airlines

25NOV03 Royal Aruban is hoping to finally launch operations with service from Aruba to Curaçao (double-daily) and Ft Lauderdale (daily) on 01DEC03. Flights will be operated with the DC9.

10MAY03 Royal Aruban has acquired a formerly leased Brasilia operated by Aserca Airlines Reg. YV-7036. However it is still parked at TNCA pending some permits before the start of the new airline. The EMB-120 in RAA colors has been returned since.

Operations planned to start in early 2002, but delayed until end-April, with flights from Aruba to Curaçao, Bonaire, Las Piedras and Maracaibo and maybe Caracas. The Air Operating Certificate was finally obtained in July 2002. This must have been a relief as the first Embraer had been flown in from Miami in early April 2002.

The airline's problems did not end there, as it was granted only two daily flights to both Curaçao and Bonaire - commercially not viable with 29-seat aircraft. Here is an explanation of this limited frequency.

The present Bilateral Agreement between Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles is based on a limitation of frequencies (flights). For instance: As per the bilateral, the Netherlands Antillean airline Dutch Caribbean, using Dash8/50pax, DC9/80pax and MD80/140pax aircraft, is granted 35 flights per week between Curaçao and Aruba. The two Aruban airlines (Avia Air and Royal Aruban Arlines using 16 and 29 passenger EMB aircraft) are collectively granted the same 35 flights per week between the two islands. For Bonaire the number of flights is 28 per week. The Aruban Aviation Authority has divided the 28 flights to Bonaire by two, and granted 14 per week to each airline, which translates to two flights per day to Bonaire for Royal Aruban.

Local press reported in late September 2002 that the airline had ceased trading. It seems that no flights were ever operated.

Manager: Eric Hagens

2 x Embraer Brasilia 120
2 x DC9-14

    SJU San Juan Aviation   1 x Beech King Air
    NAS Sandpiper Air    
    NAS Seair Airways Description Fixed Based Operator at the Nassau Million Air Terminal, provides charters in The Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Cuba on behalf of Majestic Tours. The fleet comprises 5-seat Piper Aztecs and 7-seat Islanders.  
ES ESA ANU Seagreen Air Transport Charter cargo from Antigua and Ostend.  
BB   STX Seabourne Airlines

Description Solely on water operator which carries 500 passengers per day (over 145,000 per annum) using 17-seat floatplanes. About a hundred people are employed in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Destinations Old San Juan (SIG), St Croix (SSB), St Thomas (SPB) (scheduled); the BVI (sightseeing tours)

President and CEO: Marcus T Sessom

4 x deHavilland Twin Otters on Wip-line floats

5S PSV HEX Servicios Aereos Profesionales

Largest carrier in the Dominican Republic and has one of the biggest fleets (25 aircraft) of any Caribbean airline. Owns Air Santo Domingo.

Destinations (scheduled) Santo Domingo, Punta Cana, New York Kennedy.

President: José Miguel Patín

  LNR ORG Sky Liners    
RU SKI PLS Sky King Airlines

14NOV04 SkyKing introduced the first of two modern Beechcraft 1900D airliners to operate in the Turks and Caicos earlier this month. The second Beechcraft 1900D airliner will arrive on December 6th, 2004 and this will increase SkyKing's fleet to five 19-seat Beechcraft 1900s.

The main advantages offered by the Beechcraft 1900D airliner are increased passenger comfort provided by the 6-ft tall stand-up cabin, soft leather seats, shorter flight times to the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba and improved baggage/cargo capacity. These airliners are equipped with ultra-modern glass cockpit displays providing pilots with invaluable flight information at their finger tips, identical to the display screens seen in larger commercial jet aircraft. In addition, the more robust Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6 dash 67D engines provide an unsurpassed level of performance and reliability that will enable SkyKing to provide service to farther destinations in greater comfort, less flying time and increased payload performance.

The arrival of the first Beechcraft 1900D airliner coincides with the implementation of SkyKing's revised winter flight program which includes additional flights to Grand Turk from Providenciales and direct flights from Grand Turk to both Puerto Plata & Cap Haitien. In support of the winter tourist season and project development slated for Grand Turk, SkyKing has increased its frequency of service to nine daily departures offering more direct flights throughout the day than ever before.

Description TCI SkyKing evolved out of Charles Air. The airline commenced service in 1995 utilising Piper Aztecs, Cessna 402s, and Cessna 404 Titans. Over a period of time the company transitioned to a Shorts 360 and finally selected the Beechcraft 1900C as its mainline aircraft due the unmatched route performance and dispatch reliability required for the Turks & Caicos and Hispaniola markets.

SkyKing is now the largest domestic scheduled carrier in the Turks & Caicos Islands in terms of passengers emplanements and total seat capacity. Skyking provides domestic commuter service to the islands of Providenciales, South Caicos, and Grand Turk utilizing two (2) Beechcraft 1900C pressurized airliners and one (1) Cessna 404 Titan (passenger/cargo aircraft). SkyKing's primary international markets are Haïti and the Dominican Republic with daily service to Cap Haïtien and five days per week to Puerto Plata.

Future growth plans entail scheduled flights to Santiago de Cuba and Great Inagua Bahamas.

The company maintains a solid reputation of providing premium schedule service and a reliable charter operation (corporate and med-evac).

SkyKing currently has passenger ticketing agreements with British Airways, Delta Air Lines, US Airways, Northwest Airlines and United Airlines providing valuable connecting/ticketing service for passengers continuing on to the family islands of the Turks and Caicos or to Hispaniola (Haïti and Dominican Republic).

TCI SkyKing, Ltd. is also in the process concluding negotiations on the purchase of the current leased Beechcraft 1900C aircraft from Raytheon by the end of January 2003.

President & CEO: Harold Charles
Vice-President: John Shearer

3 x Beechcraft 1900C Airliner
2 x Beechcraft 1900D Airliner (inc 1 due in December 2004)

    NAS Sky Unlimited Charters in The Bahamas from Nassau  
    POS Southern Caribbean Airways 04APR04 Trinidad-based startup is looking for crew. The plan is to fly between Port of Spain and Tobago.  
  SBU SBH St Barth Commuter

Description Saint Barth Commuter is the only local airline based on the French Caribbean island of St Barthélemy. The airline operates scheduled flights to St Martin and Sint Maarten, as well as charters.

Director Bruno Magras

4 x Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander
1 x Piper Aztec PA-23-250
  SVD SVD St Vincent & Grenada Air

02DEC01 SVG Air will add an extra Islander to its fleet in early 2002. The aircraft will be stationed in Nevis, a new base being established to take advantage of the restrictions being placed on Nevis Express's operations. The aircraft will be used to operate a new scheduled route (Nevis-Antigua-St Kitts).

In November 2001, the airline appointed Caribbean consolidator CaribJet its only agent in the UK for flights to St Vincent, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis.

Bought Airlines of Carriacou in late 1999 and continued to operate this airline's 1999/2000 schedule, including flights from Grenada to Carriacou and Union Island. Profitabilty was achieved by raising fares.

Destinations (charter): Barbados, Bequia, Canouan, Carriacou, Grenada, Mustique, St Vincent, Union Island

CEO: Martin Barnard

4 x BN2 Islander (plus 1 due in January/February 2002)
3 x Aero Commander 500
2 x Cessna 402

    SML Stella Maris Resort Aviation Charter flights throughout The Bahamas and Turks & Caicos.  
    SJU Sun Airways    
    NAS Sunshine Air Charter Offers one-day executive charters.  
PY SLM PBM Surinam Airways

04FEB04 Surinam has bought a Boeing 747-300 (PH-BUW) from KLM. This will be the only widebody aircraft in the fleet. The aircraft, which had been stored in the Mojave desert, is being overhauled and repainted by KLM in Amsterdam. It will then be delivered to Paramaribo. Surinam plans to use the aircraft from Paramaribo to Amsterdam from next summer three times a week.

Currently, KLM operates five weekly flights on this route, on which Surinam codeshares.

06APR02 From 09APR02, Surinam will be selling seats on its partner's Dutch Caribbean flights -- Paramaribo-Curaçao-Miami. Surinam used to wet-lease an aircraft from Miami Air for the Miami flights.

Surinam Airways lost over US$1m in the year ended 31MAR01 (US$1.2 y/e 31MAR00). The company is expected to reduce its staff of 600 employees.

Re-started twice-weekly Paramaribo-Curaçao-Miami flights on 02NOV00 using Boeing 727-200s on wet-lease from Miami Air.

Flights to the Caribbean

2 x de Havilland Twin Otter Series 300
1 x McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50
1 x 747-300

    FDF Take Air Lines Take Air Lines has begun an operation from the French island of Martinique. Two Dornier 228 and one Caravan 208 are currently employed with a pair of Embraer 120 due to be added by July 2005. The airline operates under a franchise agreement with Air Caraïbes whose Airbus A330 serves both Martinique and Guadeloupe from Paris CDG. The airline flies out of Fort de France to Port of Spain, St Lucia, Dominica, Barbados and Grenada with Haiti and Caracas planned for July 2005.  
    FPO Taino Air Bahamas charters.  
   TIN HEX Taino Airlines

21APR02 Taino Airlines asked the US DOT for authority for US-Dominican Republic cargo service using DC-8-63 aircraft wet-leased from ABX Air, a US carrier. Taino, a carrier of the Dominican Republic, which is in FAA's Category 2, wants to operate scheduled flights between Santo Domingo and Miami, New York, San Juan and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

In March 2001, the US Department of Transportation granted Taino the rights for scheduled cargo service between Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and Miami, New York and San Juan and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Since Dominican Republic is a Category 2 country under the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment program, the carrier may operate the service only under wet-lease from an authorised carrier.

    HEX TASA Transporte Aereo    
    FDF Taxi Caraïbes Air

Formed in September 2001.

TC Air owns a brand new 4-passenger Piper Seneca V model 2001 for charter/taxi operations from Martinique to all Caribbean airports.

    MBJ TimAir Charters within Jamaica from Montego Bay.  
    TAB Tobago Express

History Launched in January 2001 with the intention to start operations between Tobago and Port of Spain on 01MAR01 (actual start in June 2001) using a Dash 8-100 aircraft. BWIA owns 49 per cent of Tobago Express, while Tobago Airbridge Consortium, The Ragoonathsingh Group and Orchid Investments each owns 14.6 per cent. Air Trinidad and Tobago, held by Azaad Hosein, an ex pilot, owns 7.2 per cent making up the 100 per cent stake in the airline. Tobago Express is worth US$20 million (according to BWIA's Aleong in April 2002), with BWIA investing $US 1 million to the start-up effort.

The airline carried about 110,000 in its first year of operation.

The second Dash 8 was acquired in April 2002.

General Manager Capt Fitzroy Wellington

2 x Dash 8-100
1 x Dash 8-300 (lsd from BWIA)

TI TOL SJU Tol-Air Scheduled and charter cargo  
  TAD SDQ TRADO Trans Dominican Airways    
    SDQ TRADO Trans Dominican Airways    
    SBH Trans Helico Caraïbes    
    HEX TASA Transporte Aereo    
T6 TBH NAS Trinity Air Bahamas    
    AXA Trans Anguilla Airways

Trans Anguilla has charters from Anguilla to St Maarten and day trips to St Barths, St Kitts, Nevis and Virgin Gorda.

Destinations (scheduled) Anguilla, St Maarten

Manager Lincoln Gumbs

2 x Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander
1 x Beachcraft Super King Air 200
1 x de Havilland Twin Otter (for business charters)

  TGY OGL Trans Guyana Airways

11NOV03 The 15-seat Shorts Skyvan of Trans Guyana Airways crashed three days ago killing two of the seven people onboard. One of the dead was an airline employee working as a dispatcher, the other was a passenger. The crash occurred at 1100, just one minute after takeoff from Ogle Aerodrome, after one engine failed. The Skyvan was on its way to Ekereku Bottom in the Upper Mazaruni. Both pilots and three passengers were hospitalized but are recovering well.

The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), which has been removed from the crash site, and the suspected faulty engine are to be both sent to the US National Transport Safety Board.

Following a request from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to the UK, two experts - one from the Department of Transport and the other from the UK Aircraft Accident Investigation Board - were quickly dispatched and are due to arrive in Georgetown today.

15NOV01 A Trans Guyana Airways flight which left Lethem for Georgetown early yesterday morning, arrived at the Ogle Airstrip about eight hours later after it was hijacked by four passengers on board. No one was hurt during the mid-air takeover of the Cessna Caravan (8R-GTG) aircraft since the other nine passengers said they followed instructions and remained calm though having no idea of the men's intentions.

The 13 passengers along with pilot, Zaul Ramotar, boarded the aircraft at about 08:20 hours at Lethem. Five minutes into the flight, four of the passengers drew what passengers said appeared to be automatic handguns, and informed them that they were taking over the plane. The men were identified as Colombians and Brazilians based on their speech. A source at the Takutu Guest House in Lethem, where the men stayed Tuesday night, said they checked in the hotel as Raimundo DeSouza, Raimundo Pedro, Clovef Sauta, and Ramon Torres. Two of these reportedly spoke Portuguese, while the other two spoke Spanish (one of these spoke a little English). The source recalled that one of the men had passed through the area before. She said they did not look suspicious from when they checked in at about 1730 Tuesday to when they departed early yesterday morning. The passengers were returned to Ogle on the hijacked plane by another pilot, Captain Dominic Mendes.

About five minutes after takeoff, four armed men said they were taking over, two of whom were sitting behind the pilot and two at the back of the plane. The passengers were told to put their hands up, were bound with masking tape and told to shut up. No one reportedly got hysterical or tried to give the men a "hard time" but followed instructions. No one seemed to be able to give a good description of the men who hijacked the plane.

The pilot was ordered to fly low (just about 400 feet) and was later told to land at a farmland in Brazil where the passengers remained on board for about 20 minutes. The hijackers scouted the area. They boarded the plane again and the pilot was told to circle a few times before being ordered to land again at the same location. They were then told to disembark and were taken to a ranch house where one of the men explained that he was in some trouble but was not a murderer and would not harm them. He told them they were allowed to go and they calmly returned to the plane and left, only to be pursued shortly after by a Brazilian military jet since they had no authorisation to be in Brazilian territory. Passengers managed to make hand signals to the pilot who pointed to the radio set. One of the passengers, Shirley Melville, approached the pilot to communicate with the Brazilians since she was the only person on board who could speak Portuguese. She said she was able to speak to the military jet and explained that they had a problem with the flight since it was hijacked and was making its way back to Guyana.

The pilot was told to land in Brazil but explained that he was running low on fuel. During this time the two planes were circling in Brazil. The pilot was then escorted to the border and landed the plane at Lethem. The drama in the air between the two aircraft was witnessed by residents in Lethem who said it lasted about 15 minutes. Melville said they were escorted to the border where she sent a resident of Bom Fin to the military on the Brazilian side of the border to explain what had transpired since the military jet was still circling and they probably wanted to know what was happening. "...we definitely need better security on our border. We know we do not have the manpower to do so but they always have been able to implement systems whereby we could work. And most likely we could have a task force from the Brazilian side also", she said. She added that this was especially needed with the bridge across the border Takutu River coming on stream. Referring to notices at the Trans Guyana Airways concerning passenger checks and other safety measures, Melville said security was definitely lacking. "...all four persons had their firearms with them this morning", she stated. The pilot was, however, commended by passengers for handling the situation excellently. The Trans Guyana aircraft returned to Lethem just before noon after it was reportedly taken some 100 miles off course, somewhere near the border between Colombia and Brazil. Sources said the hijackers immobilised the radio set aboard the aircraft and took away from the pilot a firearm he had. While the aircraft was flying back to Lethem, Ramotar used another radio set the hijackers did not detect and alerted the Trans-Guyana agent at Lethem that he was returning. Captain Roy Jainandan of Trans Guyana, told reporters at Ogle earlier yesterday the plane had initially been treated as missing because there was a period in which the company lost track of it with a break in communication. As a result two of the company's aircraft were sent on a search and rescue flight and were joined by a Guyana Defence Force plane. He said the hijackers had their own navigational equipment to monitor the course of the plane to ensure the pilot was following their directions. He said the hijackers became somewhat agitated after the aircraft landed at a homestead location in Brazil, because they seemed to have been uncertain they had arrived at their intended destination. Jainandan hoped that those responsible for "an act of piracy" will be dealt with "alacrity and severity." He said his company was willing to play its part in ensuring there was adequate security, but pointed out that the effort has to be a collaborative one between the Government and the airlines. He said Trans Guyana has applied for permission to build a terminal facility at Lethem which will house the relevant security personnel.

On 03MAY00, an Islander (8R-GAC) ferrying fuel crashed into a mountain shrouded in mist near the Kurupung Bottom airstrip, killing the pilot Clement Joseph. His father was killed in a plane crash in 1985 when he slammed into a mountain in Region Nine, also while transporting fuel.

In 1998, experienced pilot Dereck Leung and his employee Wasim Sattaur died when the Cessna they were in crashed into dense jungle in the vicinity of Omai Gold Mines Ltd.

In 1994 21-year-old Nyron Naseem Mirza, piloting a Trans-Guyana Airways aircraft and two passengers Isaac Daniels, 42, and his son-in-law Kenrick Babb, 27, were killed when their plane went down in the Ekereku, Cuyuni area.

Domestic Guyana flights

2 x Cessna 206 Grand Caravan
3 x Britten-Norman BN-2A Islander

  TRD BGI Trans Island Air 2000

13NOV03 Trans Island Air 2000 is acquiring two more Twin Otters to be based at Barbados. One arrived three days ago, the other is due to arrive on 01DEC03. This will bring the Twin Otter fleet to four at Barbados plus two at Antigua operated by Carib Aviation.

These aircraft are used to operate flights on behalf of LIAT (by Trans Island Air 2000 from Barbados to the Grenadines - Union Island, Mustique Island, Canouan Island and Bequia - and Carriacou; by Carib Aviation from Antigua to Anguilla, Nevis, Point-a-Pitre, St Lucia George F L Charles and Dominica Cane Field) and for shared scheduled charters from Barbados to the Grenadines and Carriacou.

These scheduled charters are also operated under the Grenadines Air Alliance which commenced on 01JUL03 in collaboration with Mustique Airways and St Vincent & Grenada Air. Under the agreement between the three carriers, Trans Island Air operates all the flights, thus providing a two-pilot, all-turbine Twin Otter service to the Grenadines and Carriacou.

12NOV02 Trans Island Air is still suffering from the effects of September 2001, with reduced business from the tour operators. It is difficult to predict when the airline can return to profitability, especially as bookings are made late these days instead of well in advance. Costs are higher, with insurance the highest after employee and fuel costs.

Fleet rationalisation is being done, with the two Islanders due to be sold by the year-end. They are being replaced with two Twin Otters, with the acquisition of another one being considered.

Parent organisation/shareholders Bruce Kaufman

Alliances Member of CaribSky alliance.

Description Trans Island Air 2000 is the main part of a Barbados-based, airline group which incorporates Antigua-based Carib Aviation (purchased in November 2000). The Trans Island Air caters specifically to the island-hopping business by offering seats to tour operators on a shared private transfer charter basis for their clients to connect to their final destination or as part of a multi-centre holiday. Some 80 percent of the business comes from UK tour operators, including the top ones.

The airline operates shared charters from Barbados to the Grenadines and Barbados to the Grenadines - Union Island, Mustique Island, Canouan Island and Bequia - and Carriacou, where it is by far the biggest player. These look like scheduled flights but will not stop at an airport if there are no passengers for embarkation or disembarkation. The schedules vary depending on the season.

In the low (summer) season, the Twin Otters operate Barbados-Mustique-Union Island-Canouan-Bequia. In the high (winter) season, the Barbados-Mustique-Union Island-Canouan route is operated by Twin Otters and the Canouan-Bequia route by the Bandeirante. In winter 2002/03, there are four daily flights departing at 0800, 1300, 1600 (gets Virgin Atlantic passengers) and 1630 (gets British Airways passengers).

Another business is operating all LIAT flights from Barbados to Bequia, Mustique, Canouan Island, Union Island and Carriacou. The contract with LIAT is that the airline is paid by LIAT for hours flown on an ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, insurance) basis.

CEO Kaufman claims that his airline connects better at Barbados that LIAT or Caribbean Star for US flights.

The fleet grew from three to 14 aircraft ranging from six to 19-seaters, but is being rationalised. The Aero Commanders are used for charters.

The airline has 14 pilots, 12 based at Barbados and two based at St Vincent (as at November 2003). So, there is a total of 28 pilots, including the 14 based at Antigua who fly for Carib Aviation.

History Purchased on 24DEC99 by Canadian Bruce Kaufman from local investors for US$2m, with a further US$6m invested within two years. The airline's name was changed from Trans Island Air to Trans Island Air 2000.

Kaufman had made his money from manufacturing exit signs, and had retired to Barbados. However, after five months he was urged by his wife to get out of the house and get into an office. He then decided to invest in local charter carrier TIA which was short of money. The US$2m spent soon increased to US$8m, though Kaufman said in November 2001 that he had no debt and reckoned that his business was worth US$7.5m. Kaufman also said that TIA 2000 had made money in 2000 (nine percent of turnover) but business had been badly hit by the events of 11SEP01.

CEO: Bruce Kaufman

3 x DHC-6 Twin Otter (19 seats)
1 x AC500 Aero Commander (5 seats)

1 x Twin Otter due 01DEC03

DZ NOE SBH Transcaraïbes Air International

Flies principally between Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélémy.

Promoted by general sales agent Air Tropical.

PM TOS BZE Tropic Air   6 x Cessna 208B Grand Caravan
M7   PAP Tropical Airways d'Haïti


26AUG26 All 19 passengers and both pilots were killed two days ago when flight 1301 crashed shortly after takeoff on a domestic flight from Cap-Haïtien to Port-de-Paix. The aircraft was a Czech-made, 19-seat LET 410 twin-engine turboprop. Witnesses said they saw smoke billowing from the stricken plane and then watched as the rear door opened and baggage tumble from the sky. All on board were Haïtiens except one of the pilots.

The cockpit voice recorder has not been found.

Meanwhile the airline continued to operate its several daily flights to major Haïtian cities and to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands with other Czech-made LET-410s.

The Haiti National Office of Civil Aviation promised to increase oversight, but said there was no need to cancel flights.

21APR02 Tropical launched its first international flight - a daily service - from Cap-Haïtien on 11FEB02 using the Short SD3. The route is "going well ahead of expectations", says an airline source. The other operator on this route is Provo-based SkyKing which has nine weekly return flights.

31OCT01 Delivery was taken of two Short SD-360s in early October 2001 about three months late due, says the airline, to lessor problems. One is expected to be in service in November 2001 and the second one in December 2001. One of the aircraft will be used between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien and the other to expand the network.

Date established 1998

Description Operates scheduled and charter domestic Haïti flights, carrying 100,000 passenger per annum.

Destinations Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haïtien, Port-de-Paix and Jeremie. Cap-Haïtien to Providenciales (from 11FEB02).

President & CEO: Philippe Gornail
Executive Vice President: Frank Sturt
Chief Financial Officer: Patrice Backer

3 x LET 410
1 x Cessna 402B (for charters)
2 x Short SD3-60-300

VF TOA KTP Tropical Airlines

Suspended operations in 1999

Operates charter flights on behalf of Gemini Tours. Domestic daily - Kingston Tinson Pen-Montego Bay. International: to Santiago de Cuba from Tinson Pen - Sundays and Fridays, From Montego Bay - Mondays and Thursdays.

PQ TKX SKB Tropical International Airways

This St Kitts-registered, Barbados-based startup carrier was planning to launch a weekly Natal-Barbados-St Kitts-London Stansted service on 08DEC00 using a Lockheed L-1011 Tristar operated by Tradewinds Airlines. The launch has been delayed to early 2001 at the earliest as no licence application has been lodged with the UK government for the Barbados flights

The planned deal with Tradewinds was later replaced with American Trans Air.

Tropical had in January 2000 asked the US DoT for authority to start scheduled services between Basseterre and Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, St. Croix and Washington, plus intermediary points at Antigua, Freeport, Nassau, Barbados, Bermuda, Santo Domingo, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Georgetown, Port-au-Prince, Fort de France, St. Lucia, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Trinidad, Providenciales and Porlamar.

    PLS Turks Air Cargo between the Turks & Caicos Islands and Miami  
QW TCI PLS Turks and Caicos Airways National carrier of the Turks & Caicos Islands  
    AXA Tyden Air

Operating since 1984, Tyden has charters from Anguilla to St Maarten and day trips to St Barths, St Kitts, Nevis and Virgin Gorda.

Member of CaribSky alliance.

2 x BN-2A Islander
UW UVG GEO Universal Airlines


25SEP05 It is now four weeks since Universal Airlines ceased operations when its sole aircraft, an Airbus A320 wet-leased from El-Salvador-based TACA Airlines, was withdrawn by the lessor. It is rumoured that Univeral was unable to pay its bills. This rumour has been given some substance when the Guyana government revealed in mid-September that on three occasions in the previous two months the airline had sought the return of the $17 million bond held in escrow. President Bharrat Jagdeo, however, refused these requests despite a Cabinet paper which approved the return of the bond..

The $17 million bond was lodged because there had been a number of failed airline ventures, including Guyana Airways 2000, which had been run by a group of local businessmen. When this airlines folded in May 2001 it left a number of passengers stranded in Guyana and the government paid the airfares to get them out of the country. It was then that the government decided that any scheduled service (not a charter) had to put up a bond. Therefore when Universal applied for a licence, government insisted that the $17 million bond be lodged.

All of the bond has been used to get 191 people out of Guyana on BWIA. The government expects the airline to deal with the other passengers.

The airline claims that it will return and is thinking of expanding, but this cannot be taken seriously unless a large injection of funds is made into the company to restore creditbility with potential lessors and to replenish the bond. So far, Universal has failed to lease another aircraft. It is quite likely that Universal will be another Guyana-registered carrier to fail to keep operating.

The govenment does not intend to run an airline again, having privatised the failed Guyana Airways in April 1999 and noting the richer Trinidad & Tobago is contemplating getting out of the airline business.

14JUN03 Universal signed a one-year wet-lease deal with Air Atlanta Icelandic to provide a Boeing 767-300ER, flight crew, cabin crew, maintenance engineers and operations staff. The service, which started 07MAY03, replaced the LOT deal.

The airline has also announced its summer schedule starting 16JUN03 which features two new destinations: Ft Lauderdale and St Kitts. On Mondays and Thursday, there will be a late JFK-Ft Lauderdale (FLL)-Georgetown (GEO) service, with a continuation on Thursdays to Paramaribo (PBM). And on Saturdays, there will be an early morning JFK-St Kitts (SKB)-GEO service. No airline currently flies from FLL or SKB to Georgetown.

To complete the picture, there will be on Wednesdays a late JFK-Port of Spain (POS)-GEO service; and on Saturdays a late JFK-POS-GEO service.

Weekly maintenace of the aircraft is done after the 2335 arrival into JFK on Tuesdays and the 2355 departure the following day.

14MAY02 The wet-lease of the Boeing 767-300ER from LOT has been extended by two years.

08DEC01 Startup Guyanese carrier Universal Airlines will launch on 13DEC01 twice-weekly flights from New York Kennedy to Port of Spain and home base Georgetown.

UW003 47 JFK 0015-0545 POS 0630-0730 GEO

All flights will be operated and crewed by LOT Polish Airlines, which has three Boeing 767-300ERs. These aircraft are currently used twice a week between Warsaw and JFK.

Universal's 767 is much bigger and more expensive than the rivals' (North American and BWIA) aircraft on the same route, but aims to attract passengers by offering more luggage.

The airline has plans to add Paramaribo, Porlamar and Miami to its route network.

10NOV01 Established in 2001 to operate charter flights from New York Kennedy to the Caribbean. Operations are planned to commence on 13DEC01 using a wet-leased 767-300ER with 18 seats in Business/225 seats in Economy and 87cm cargo space. Flights are planned five times a week to Georgetown (some stopping at Port of Spain). Furthermore, some flights will continue from Georgetown to Paramaribo.

Universal has gained approval from Guyana and is awaiting approval from Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname.

Parent organisation/shareholders
Chandrawattie Harpaul and Ramashree Singh

New York Kennedy-based airline established in 2001 to serve the Guyanese market. Its sole aircraft is a wide body, Boeing 767-300ER damp-leased from LOT-Polish Airlines. The aircraft has 243 seats of which only eighteen are business class (since the Guyanese customer base does not demand more) and 87cm cargo space. The flight crew is Polish but the cabin crew comprises only Caribbean nationals.

Universal pays LOT US$18.4 million annually for the aircraft, flight crew, maintenance, fuel and insurance.

The airline is owned by two US-based Guyanese sisters, Mrs Chandramatie Harpaul and Mrs Rameshri Singh. They came by their business experience in the US. Singh and her husband run a trucking company that delivers fruit and office products around metropolitan New York. And Harpaul used to help her husband run a string of Sizzler steak restaurants.

Much of their start-up capital came from 11 investors from Guyana, including one -- family friend and rice farmer Khelawam Persaud -- who put up close to a million dollars. The Singhs are also main investors.

The sisters and their families had been dreaming of owning an airline for 14 years, but their opportunity only arose with the failure of Guyana Airways 2000 in May 2001. The business plan is not to compete with the incumbents (BWIA and North American) on the New York-Georgetown route, but to fill a void left by the collapsed national carrier - it is fact that ethics like to fly the ethic carrier.

This ethic airline has its customer bases in the 100,000 Guyanese immigrants in New York City and those in Guyana. The flights leave JFK at 2255 so that immigrant travelers can work all day, board the aircraft and arrive at dawn, saving a hotel stay. The airline charges bulk rates for unlimited baggage so that immigrants can stock up on gifts of all sizes for their families. And cabin crew serve Guyanese foods like roti and curry.

The airline has been granted Guyana flag carrier status for flights between Guyana, North America, the Caribbean and Brazil (for one year from October 2002).

Destinations Georgetown, Ft Lauderdale, New York Kennedy, Paramaribo, Port of Spain, St Kitts.

President: Sudarshan Singh
Chief Executive Officer and Chairwoman: Chandrawattie Harpaul
Senior Vice President: Harribhajan Persaud

 1 x Boeing 767-300ER (SP-LPB)
VI VES VQS Vieques Air Link    
    STT Virgin Islands Seaplane    
    SJU Viva Airlines

10MAY03 Queen Air has received from the Dominican Republic Aeronautical Authority its Dominican Flag Carrier Certification on behalf of Viva. This approval is significant to Viva's plans, allowing Viva to begin to advertise, accept ticket sales and commitments and make arrangements for the eventual commencement of scheduled service.

It is expected that Viva will formally own 49 per cent of Queen Air in the near future.

Furthermore, the planned acquisition of Aerocontinente Dominicana will not go ahead as Viva expects that its deal with Queen Air provides it with the structure, licencing and tools to commence the operation of full service airline operations.

Viva has also purchased last April a Lockheed L1011-385-50 TriStar and two spare Rolls Royce RB211 engines and associated spares. This is the first of three wide-body aircraft planned for acquisition. This aircraft was formerly operated by Trans World Airlines and has recently undergone a heavy maintenance work package, strip and repaint, avionics upgrades and interior reconfiguration and modifications to seat 300 (28 in Business Class and 272 in Economy Class). The intention is to have this aircraft operated and managed by Tropical International Airways of St. Kitts and Nevis.

01MAR03 Viva is to buy all the common stock of AeroContinente Dominicana for US$1.2 million in cash. The deal must be closed on or before 30APR03. This gives Viva its Dominican Air Carrier Certificate and one Boeing 737-200. Two more 737-200s are to be purchased and delivered during the month of March. There are plans to fly from Santiago to New York (JFK), Miami, Georgetown (Guana), Cancun and Lima (Peru).

Additionally, the airline is maintaining its efforts to acquire Queen Air.

11DEC02 Viva Airlines announced today that it has offered a letter of intent through Fiesta Airlines Holdings, LLC (a private consulting & management organization) to acquire Queen Air, Aeronaves Queen, S.A. (a Dominican Republic Corporation and air carrier). Queen Air has the authority to operate international air transportation of persons, property and mail from Santo Domingo, D.R. to New York, Miami, Caracas, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Sao Paula, Milano and San Juan.

Viva is optimistic about this deal going through and believes that this acquisition, along with its wet-lease from Falcon Air Express, will move the airline that much closer to its start of doing business.

06DEC02 Startup carrier Viva Airlines plans to launch flights from its San Juan base in the first quarter of 2003. It appears that destinations include New York, Miami, Orlando, Ponce, Aguadilla, Santiago, Santo Domingo and Punta Cana. US flights will be operated by Falcon Air Express on a wet-lease basis.

The airline has announced a merger with The Auxer Group, Inc. of New Jersey. The merger is expected to occur by mid-December.

President and Chief Executive Officer: Robert J Scott

 YH WCW ADZ West Caribbean Airways

28AUG03 West Caribbean Airlines has taken delivery of a Boeing MD-81 and an MD-82 as it eyes potential opportunities from the grounding of ACES. The airline is planning to use one aircraft to cover the Medellin-Bogota service and the second to launch a jet operation on the Medillin-Panama-San Andres-San Jose route.

Description This San Andres-based, Columbian-funded carrier started operations in late 1999 with a LET 410 to Providencia Island (PVA) 50 miles away. There are four daily flights. Permission was then obtained from the Columbian government to fly to the mainland, so a 44-seat ATR 42-300 was ordered in December 2000 for flights to Cartagena (4/week), Barranquilla (3/week) and Montería (4/week).

West Caribbean has an agreement with ACES to carry ACES passengers (flown from Bogota) to Providencia.

    SAQ Western Air

Parent organisation/shareholders
Rex Rolle and Shandrice Woodside-Rolle

Description Private charter airline based at San Andros, The Bahamas. In November 2003, it acquired the Bahamasair Andros routes.

President and CEO: Rex Rolle
VP and COO: Shandrice Woodside-Rolle

5 x Fairchild Metro III
1 x Piper Chieftain

    SXM Windward Express Airways 15NOV01 St Maarten-based Windward Express Airways is owned by Captain Jean Halley and his wife. Currently it is a one man operation, however a flight ops person is about to be hired, and it uses the services of a parttime ground agent. Operations started in May of 2000. WEA operates one BN-2A-26 (Britten Norman Islander) and is looking at possible expansion.  
WM WIA SXM WINAIR (Windward Island Airways International)

29OCT04 WINAIR has been acquired by the ExelAviationGroup and will continue to operate but will be renamed in futureas WinairExel. The acquisition was finally approved by all stakeholders, local creditors, island governments and central authorities in Curacao. Exel paid an amount of 4.75 million Antillean guilders (US$2.7 million) to secure the future of the regional carrier thereby guaranteeing the continued airlift between the islands of St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius. WINAIR is officially known as Windward Islands Airways International N.V. and was a government owned regional airline founded in 1961. The airline operates flights from its base at Princess Juliana Airport in St Maarten to the islands of Saba, Statia, St Barts, St Kitts, Nevis, Antigua and Tortola.

ExelAviationGroup (EAG) is headquartered in The Netherlands and is an alliance of companies and divisions active in the global airline industry. The group consists of companies such as ArubaExel, BonairExel, CuracaoExel and DutchCaribbeanExel which all operates in the Dutch Caribbean.

08DEC02 WINAIR is still waiting anxiously for the US$1m pledged by the Central government, but is hoping to get it soon.

In order to cope with high seasonal traffic, two aircraft have been leased for this winter: a Twin Otter which arrived last month and an Islander which will arrive soon.

22MAY02 The Central Government of the Netherlands Antilles has made NAf. 1.8 million (US$1m) available for WINAIR though bond issues. Several bills require payment, including NAf. 700,000 (US$393,300) for the overhaul of two Twin Otter engines in Miami. Without this injection of funds, the airline had threatened to cease operations. A government priority remains that the airline should become profitable and be privatised.

01DEC01 WINAIR is leasing a "middle-aged" Twin Otter 300 from Las Vegas-based Twin Otter International, with delivery due by mid-December. One of the current Twin Otters is reaching the end of its cycle will be in use till March 2002, so the airline will have five Twin Otters (for the first time) to bridge the peak winter season.

Furthermore, the airline will launch a daily St Maarten-St Eustatius-St Kitts service on 15DEC01. This will reintroduce a direct flight between the latter two countries.

Further indication of the airline's optimism is the hiring back of some part-time workers who had been dismissed and that some employees on part-time are working more hours.

WM bought two 19-seat Twin Otters with a US $2.5 million loan from The Windward Islands Bank for delivery in September/October 2000 to replace one of the existing three which reached the end of its cycle in September 2000 (which was sold as it would have been too expensive to extend its life) and to increase the fleet. These additional aircraft will enable WM to increase the number of flights to the islands of Saba, Statia, St Kitts and Nevis, St Barths, Anguilla and Tortola. New destinations, such as Dominica, some of the other Virgin Islands and maybe Martinique are under consideration.

The first aircraft finally arrived in mid-November and the other is having work done on its avionics and on the removal of its toilet.

Future plans include the lease of two more Twin Otters and the purchase of two others in a bid to build a fleet that will last until 2020, code sharing arrangements with other airlines and the expansion and refurbishing of the hangar. This is linked to the objective of making the airline a successful one that potential buyers will want to take over when the privatisation process has been completed in 2001.

WM's market integration strategy is to secure interline agreements with other regional and international airlines so that connecting passengers at its Princess Juliana (SXM) base would not need to go through customs, pick up their luggage, check in or need their boarding passes stamped. An agreement is in place with US Airways but American Airlines refused to sign a deal, citing problems back in 1996 when WINAIR used to lose AA passengers' bags.

Alliance GoCaribbean

President: Commissioner Michael Ferrier
Managing Director: John Strugnell

4 x de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otter 300 series (PJ-TSB leased from Nov 2002-Apr 2003)

2 x Britten-Normand Islander

  WOL   Wings Aviation

Guyana-based Wings Aviation was established in 1984 to respond to the demand of the local mining sector for reliable and economical air transport service to Guyana's interior. The company provides charter services to mining and residential communities at various hinterland locations and in November 1985 with acquisition of new aircraft extended its service to the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and North America. It also runs charter services to destinations in South America. In 1993, it became an International Civil Aviation Organisation approved aircraft-operating agency in Guyana.

The company had registered the trading name Air Guyana since January 1999.

Manager: Ronald Reece

    KTP Wings Jamaica


25DEC01 One of the airline's two Cessnas (6Y-JWB) crashed shortly after take-off from its Tinson Pen Aerodrome base on 23DEC01, killing flight instructor Leighton Bennett. The other person in the aircraft, 18 year-old student, Mark Coley, escaped with only minor injuries. The Cessna 150 went down at about 1520 in bushes about 500 feet from the aerodrome and 200 feet from the Portmore Causeway.

Description Air Charters - Local and Overseas, Airport Transfers, Sightseeing Tours, Flight Training, Air Ambulance, Banner Towing.

Manager: Frederick Carl Barnett

1 x Beech Baron E55
1 x Cessna

    SJU WRA/Caribbean Wings    

Visit the complementary page International Flights To The Caribbean.

Home page

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Roger Chung-Wee
Permission is granted to freely copy and distribute this document in whole or in part provided that it is not done for profit and that this entire copyright notice remains attached.