SIX NEW JETS FOR InterCARIBBEAN
– The Sun – September 9, 2018
Over 60 airlines have failed in the Caribbean since 1981:
Aero Wings Carib Aviation Caribbean Star RedJet Trans Island Air 2000 Air Monserrat Air Caribbean Air Calypso Air Aruba Air d’Ayiti Air Jamaica EC Express Air ALM Nature Island Express
Cardinal Airlines BWIA Tobago Express Helen Air Curacao Excel Dominair Dominica Nomad Air Dutch Caribbean Express Dorado Air Eagle Air V.I. Seaplane Shuttle Guyana Airways Air Jamaica Express
Carib Express Air BVI British Caribbean Airways St. Lucia Airways SeagreenAir Transport Avia Air Fly Aruba Aruba Express Antilles Air Boats Aero Virgin Islands Carib Air Laker Airways Maya Airways Prinair
This year we have already had TIA2000 (again), PAWA Dominicana, SBA, Aserca shut their doors, while the future of InselAir hangs in the balance
Inter-Caribbean Airways has done well because its management “sees the forest and not just the trees”.
That means they looked outwards from their tiny paradise and saw the opportunities in the Caribbean, caused by government neglect, poor antiquated management all over the Caribbean.
The Caribbean is a huge graveyard of airlines, +60 since 1981, and I have been following the region for years and bewildered by the lack of progress, and creativity from local airlines, never mind the big state-owned carrier failures like BWIA, Guyana Airways, ALM, Air Jamaica, all you have left today are state-owned airlines that survive on public money for decades (Bahamasair, LIAT, Cayman Airways, Surinam Airways, Caribbean Airlines (ex-BWIA)), which today combine for around $US 100 million in annual loses/subsidies from the good people of the Caribbean, otherwise they would be bankrupt decades ago!
Then you had many small airlines that came and went, and few long-time survivors/dinosaurs that dare not venture outside their niche like Mustique Airways and SVG Air where little has changed in decades., though SVG Air has moved into the Antigua-Barbuda & Montserrat market with a BN2 and Grenada with the acquisition of Carriacou Airlines.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines Air or SVG AIR, is a national airline of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, along with Mustique Airways. SVG Air and Mustique Airways have combined to form a SVG Air / Grenadine Air Alliance, operating 17 Aircraft, with bases in St. Vincent, Antigua and Grenada.
LIAT has changed little other than its fleet, Surinam Airways network and fleet size has not changed in 30+ years, CAL got burned on trans-Atlantic like BWIA and now has B737’s instead of MD-80’s, but still burning taxpayers money, screwed up the Air Jamaica acquisition and same old thing of the 1980’s otherwise, all dinosaurs, led by inept management that cannot see the forest!
There is little to get excited about in the Caribbean these days, except inter-Caribbean Airways, Western Air (Bahamas), Guyana Airways II and Cayman Airways.
Western Air in the Bahamas runs 5 x Saab 340B’s been in business since 2001, owned by Rex Rolle it has survived the local competitive market, including state-owned Bahamasair (which talks of leaving the domestic market to local carriers) and grown, expanding to Cuba and now has 3 x ERJ-145’s on its horizon as well, job well done, as SkyBahamas is down to just 2 x Saab 340B’s in the market.
Guyana Airways II, owned and lead by Colin Abrams’s is now seeking legal action is likely to be taken against the government for removing the privately-owned Guyana Airways Corporation Inc. (GAC) from the Companies Register two years after the entity was duly registered because the name is identical to two previous companies, just 2 months before it is to start its 2 x B737 operation to Trinidad, Barbados and Cuba, after 15 years with no local airline, one would think the corrupt politicians in Guyana would welcome its arrival, no they want to “milk’ it first! and will continue is not stopped.
Let’s hope Guyana Airways makes it, with FAA Category 2 still place for Guyana, it cannot like InselAir operate direct flights to the US, and Category 1 has to come IF Guyana Airways will survive in the medium/long term, as the US is the biggest market for its diaspora.
Cayman Airways, its state-owned and losing money, but it has a mission to keep the Cayman Islands connected to US gateways and with 4 x B737-8 (Max8) on order to replace its 3 x B737-300 and 1 x B737-800 it plans on expanding its network now to Denver and with an airport extension of 500 to 900 feet at its Owner Roberts International Airport, it is eyeing the US West Coast, Vancouver, Brazil and even a Grand Cayman-Bermuda-UK flight one day! now that is vision! but then they have a sharp CEO in Fabian Whorms, a rarity in the region for sure.
Off course South America needs to be served, yet only InselAir made any attempt to do that, Surinam Airways has been doing Belem for 30+ years, but never developed 6th freedom to take them to the US or use its 5th freedoms to serve Colombia, etc.? too many ignorant dinosaurs sitting in CEO positions in the Caribbean, “doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results” (Insanity-Albert Einstein). InselAir’s CEO Albert Kluyver was a visionary as well, and then things went so wrong, and he needed A319’s and not MD-80’s and hired Global Aviation Partners (Singapore), “fake” aviation experts to find him A319’s and a “strategic investor”, which has yet to appear in Curacao, as it is surely not the ONE Laser Group (OLG) scammers picked last month.
As for inter-Caribbean Airways, they started from a small place and looked out and saw opportunities where airlines were not existing or were underserved, Haiti and Jamaica, and then moved to British Virgin Islands to do Tortola-San Juan, now to Dominica, and lots of opportunities for point to point services in the Caribbean and many islands are only too happy to have new air services, some pay millions of $US per year to airlines like AA, DL, etc, even Seaborne’s one a day Saab 340B to Dominica from San Juan received $1.0M a year! oh, the opportunities out there for someone who sees the forest!
To watch in the coming years is Ft. Lauderdale based Silver Airways (owned by Versa Capital Management) with 22 a Saab 340B’s and it also owns Seaborne Airlines in San Juan with its 8 x Saab 340Bs, and now 20 x ATR-42/72-600s are on order for 2018 to 2020 and watch that San Juan hub grow, just like when AA’s (Executive Airlines 1979-1989 and then it became AMR subsidiary) and flew Casa 212, SD360 and eventually up to 20 x ATR-72-200’s out of San Juan up to March 31, 2013 when the last AA Eagle flight was done).
Watch Silver Airways build up San Juan and enter the Eastern Caribbean market like before, again they see the forest! shame on all the rest!
Mr. Lyndon Gardiner, Founder and Chairman of InterCaribbean Airways and Trevor Sadler, CEO of InterCaribbean Airways pictured with an ERJ145 jet
Inter-Caribbean Airways (8 x EMB-120 Brasilia’s and 4 x DHC-6-300 Twin Otters) has upgraded its fleet with six 50-seater jets worth “several million dollars” ($US +/- 9 million in total), in a move that the airline’s owner and chief executive officer Lyndon Gardiner described as a “game changer” for the local and regional aviation industry.
The sleek, leather-seated Embraer ERJ jets, two of which are already in the Turks and Caicos Islands, are currently being certified by the local Civil Aviation Department and will be in operation shortly.
The other four jets will be here by the fall of next year.
“I think that the way it changes the game is, first of all, we now have the ability to go further and faster, so we’re looking to add some new city pairs with Turks and Caicos and we’re looking to add some city pairs with some of the other destinations that we operate to.
Quite frankly because of the speed of the airplane, we also have the ability to pack more flights into the day and that is certainly a positive side of changing the game,” Gardiner told The SUN in an exclusive interview.
The jets will shave about reduce the flying time to Nassau, The Bahamas and to Jamaica by approximately 30 minutes.
The new aircraft makes InterCaribbean Airways the first Turks and Caicos Islands airline to own and operate jets and the largest intra-Caribbean airline, serving 23 cities in 13 Caribbean countries.
interCaribbean operates flights in Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas, the US Virgin Islands, Dominica and St. Maarten/St. Martin. Domestic flights are provided in Jamaica between Kingston and Montego Bay, as well as flights within the Turks & Caicos Islands.
Gardiner, who is also a trained pilot, said the new jets will operate primarily on the longer routes such as Nassau, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Antigua and Cuba.
“It is not feasible to have these jets travel locally, but I think that if we have special occasions when we need additional capacity we would love to do that, but to have an ordinary schedule flight (with the jets), it’s just not likely,” added Gardiner, who is also a private jet-owner.
He said they first started looking at these Brazilian airplanes a couple of years ago because it was a natural progression of an aircraft type.
“InterCaribbean focus is actually on connecting the entire Caribbean, so we needed, first of all, to get some core routes done from Turks and Caicos.
Presently we’re doing quite a bit of connecting traffic through Providenciales to other destinations that we fly to.
We are up from 30 seats and now we are in the 50 seat market,” he said.
According to Mr. Gardiner, the longest route planned for this airplane now would be Havana to the North and George Town Guyana to the South.
“The airplane typical cruise is about 450 knots, obviously we could do a little more than that depending on the winds and the server sealing is 37,000.”
He said Embraer designed this type of airplane for shorter point-to-point flights, adding that the jet has been quite successful in meeting the mission profile that it was designed for.
“With the jets we have eight (8) EMB120’s that are operating and we have four (4) twin Otter (that is the 19 seat airplane) and we have two jets and also have more airplanes that we signed up for.
In addition to that we have three more EMB120’s that will be added to fleet over the next couple of months.”
When asked by The SUN how he feels about having pilots with such great strides in the industry, Gardiners said that InterCaribbean seeks to participate and give back into the communities that they serve.
He added: “Our first crack is obviously to hire people from those communities.
With respect of Turks and Caicos I think that our company has provided opportunities for Turks Island pilots beyond what was ever available in this country.
Looking at flying a large transport turbo prop and now a transport category jet, it gives them a wider experience and it makes them more marketable on an international scale.
I am very proud to be able to offer those opportunities as an islander myself, because I think that it demonstrates to us and to the outside world that little Turks and Caicos can punch above our weight and we also can have people with the same skill set that anywhere else have in the developing world.”
InterCaribbean destinations the company employs just over 300 people throughout the Caribbean.
InterCaribbean Airways Ltd. was founded as InterIsland Airways Charter Services in 1991.
In 2003 the Turks and Caicos Government started a push toward regional and international development and it seemed the time had come for the Turks and Caicos to have its own airline.
A scheduled license was applied for and granted, and thus began an ambitious expansion project that involved adding international destinations and acquiring larger and faster aircraft.
The company re-branded to become Air Turks & Caicos to serve key international destinations, with daily scheduled flights to cities in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Bahamas and Puerto Rico.