New airline entering Eastern Caribbean routes
By John Collins (1)
Caribbean Sun Airlines commencing service in December from San Juan to Tortola,
St. Kitts, Nevis, and Antigua.
JOHN’S, Antigua – Caribbean Sun Airlines (Sun), which is based in
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is commencing service to several islands in the
Eastern Caribbean next month, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation
describes itself as the sister company of Antigua-based Caribbean Star Airlines
(Star), headed by Texas banker Allen Stanford who also has a bank in Antigua.
According to reports the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded Sun “a
certificate of public convenience and necessity” covering services from San Juan
to Beef Island (British Virgin Islands), St. Maarten, St. Kitts & Nevis and
Sun, with colors similar to
these of Star, will be using the same Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft utilized by
Star. Under the DOT ruling Sun is reportedly authorized to upgrade its equipment
to 60-seater regional jets.
has been rumored to be planning entry into the Luis Mu#oz Marin International
Airport (LMM) for several months but was precluded from doing so because
airports in the member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)
are in the FAA’s Category 2. Aircraft based in countries in that classification,
including Antigua, can not fly to the U.S. or its territories.
The new development is
expected to further complicate an already competitive situation in the
sub-region. LIAT, also based in Antigua, has accused Star of “predatory” pricing
in the routes they both serve, a charge which Star denies. The small Nevis-based
Nevis Express suspended its service to San Juan faced with increased competition
from LIAT. Nevis Express had entered into a code-share arrangement with US
The proliferation of more
flights in the region comes at a time when it is attempting to recover from the
fallout of 9/11 marked by reduced passenger loads. The new flights will mean
more competition for San Juan-based American Eagle as it prepares to operate
separately from AMR, the parent company of American Airlines. It expects to
carry 1.9 million passengers this year and represents formidable challenger for
all new comers.
Banker Stanford is reportedly
an investor in Sun but he could not be reached for confirmation.
aviation in flux right now"
in the Caribbean is in quite a state of flux right now,” said Bobby Booth of
Miami’s Aviation Management Services. He has been watching the scenario unfold
in the region and issuing warnings and advice for years which has gone unheeded.
“Things are going to be difficult until external factors improve. That hinges on
the recovery of the U.S. economy and continued stability. The Caribbean is close
to the U.S. and Americans like a quick getaway right next door. Deeper are the
internal problems regionally which will still have to be addressed.
Other articles by the well known Caribbean author John Collins can be read
Revista INTER-FORUM is affiliated with
Any reproduction in part or whole is strictly forbidden without the authors written authorization
November 30, 2002