New Caribbean Airlines services from Trinidad and Barbados to London Gatwick set to stimulate demand

Caribbean Airlines’ Chairman George Nicholas, Trinidad and Tobago transport minister, Devant Maharaj, and Caribbean Airlines’ Acting CEO Robert Corbie.

New route celebrations: Caribbean Airlines’ Chairman George Nicholas, Trinidad and Tobago transport minister, Devant Maharaj, and Caribbean Airlines’ Acting CEO Robert Corbie. Caribbean Airlines will launch Trinidad-London Gatwick services in June competing with British Airways. While BA has feed from its other Gatwick operations, CAL stresses the advantages of its own onward connection possibilities such as Georgetown (Guyana) and Paramaribo (Suriname).

The recent announcement by Caribbean Airlines that it plans to launch flights to the UK starting in mid-June made anna.aero curious about the development of traffic between the UK and various Caribbean destinations over the last decade. Looking at the top 10 country markets in the region, total passenger numbers grew by 50% between 1998 and 2007, from around 1.8 million to 2.7 million. However, passenger numbers overall have dropped in each of the last four years and in 2011 totalled some 2.25 million.

UK - Caribbean 1998-2011 Annual passengers

Source: UK CAA

Barbados has been the biggest market throughout the period under review with traffic reaching a peak of just over 700,000 annual passengers in 2008. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic both operated daily flights this winter from London Gatwick.

Caribbean Airlines plans to launch flights from Trinidad to London Gatwick on 14 June with four non-stop flights using a 767-300ER formerly operated by LAN. Later in the summer, a second 767 will enable the airline to add a further three weekly frequencies from Port of Spain, but these will operate via Bridgetown in Barbados. While British Airways has the advantage of traffic feed from its other operations at Gatwick, Caribbean Airlines is keen to stress its onward connection possibilities to destinations such as Georgetown (Guyana) and Paramaribo (Suriname).


Comments

  1. John Gilmore says:

    Re: CAL POS-LGW Article

    In addition to the issues you raise there is the not so minor issue of ETOPS.

    The B767-300 is a new aircraft/engine combination for CAL. CAL has no prior experience with over 60 minute ETOPS operations. In such circumstances both the FAA and UK CAA require a minimum of 6 months lead time to evaluate an ETOPS application (In the US it has taken Allegiant – a substantial airline – 18 months and counting to get ETOPS for its planned 757 operation to Hawaii).

    While the TT CAA can fast track the ETOPS authority required, I suspect this will raise serious concerns as to its underlying oversight capabilities both with the FAA (with a downgrade to CAT 2 possible) and the UK CAA.

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