Flying the Caribbean Skies – New Regional Options

Go Lean Commentary

Look back at Economic History and we see a consistent lesson: nations that deploy efficient transportation systems always thrived as world powers. Consider these examples of the interchangeability of transportation and trade:

  • Romans built roads, facilitating trade and military advancement.
  • British, Dutch, French and Spanish empires thrived in trade due to their efficient shipbuilding and navigational artistry.
  • Railroad expansion across North America allowed the manifestation of the greatest industrial might in the history of mankind.
  • Banana boats created foreign markets for a tropical perishable produce, and originated cruise travelling.
  • Highway deployments allowed America to regroup and exceed competitors just as other nations where catching up with rail.
  • The “Jet Age” opened the Caribbean up to be the ideal winter tourism destination; “get there fast and then take it slow”.

This last one, is the focus of this series of commentaries; the economic realities of “flying the Caribbean skies”. This commentary commences a 3-part series on Flying the Caribbean Skies. This entry is 1 of 3 in this series from the movement behind the book Go Lean … Caribbean in consideration of societal defects in the region’s management of air travel. There is a lot wrong and a lot of remediation that needs to be done. The other commentaries in the series are cataloged as follows:

  1. Flying the Caribbean Skies: New Regional Options
  2. Flying the Caribbean Skies: ‘Shooting Ourselves in the Foot’ – ENCORE
  3. Flying the Caribbean Skies: The Need to Manage Airspace

All of these commentaries relate to “how” the stewards for a new Caribbean can empower regional commerce by optimizing the air travel eco-system, and the dependent industries. Our efforts to reform and transform the Caribbean economic engines would be incomplete without re-addressing air travel. Problems emerged in the last decade; there was one dominant airline that used to service most of the Caribbean member-states, and then they downsized their Caribbean footprint. That was American Airlines. In a previous Go Lean commentary, this debilitating history was related:

The 2008 financial crisis placed a heavy strain on the US’s largest carrier: American Airlines. On July 2, 2008, American announced furloughs of up to 950 flight attendants, in addition to the furlough of 20 MD-80 aircraft. American’s hub at Luiz Muñoz Marin Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico (PR) was truncated from 38 to 18 daily inbound flights. The holding company, AMR Corporation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 29, 2011, and the airline made cuts in July 2012 due to the grounding of several aircraft associated with its bankruptcy and lack of pilots due to retirements. American Eagle, the regional carrier, (the Caribbean’s largest), was to retire 35 to 40 regional jets as well as its entire Saab turboprop fleet. [b] American Eagle PR ceased operation in March 2013. This status created dysfunction for the entire Eastern Caribbean region.

The stakeholders for American Airlines met and deliberated; then they made a decision and executed a plan that devastated Caribbean commerce. Caribbean stakeholders were “not at the table” but we were “on the menu”.

Now that American Airlines have downsized, the Caribbean has become totally dysfunctional with the air travel eco-system. A few other airlines, stepped into the void, but not at the same level and production; air travel options are now more limited, and expensive. So more and more tourists are travelling to the Caribbean by cruise ships. With less and less air travel fulfillments, that means less stay-overs, so less hotels, restaurants, taxi cabs, etc.. This type of dysfunction affects all “job multipliers” (indirect employment down the line) in the society.

No wonder our Caribbean member-states are nearing Failed-State status.

With cracks in the economic “chain-link”, the whole job creation utility becomes dysfunctional, and the Caribbean landscape for jobs is dire. We have some work to do, to fill the void.

If the one airline, the foreign American Airlines, is a primary culprit for Caribbean Airspace dysfunction, then facilitating a local airline solution would be moving in the right direction. See one news article here, identifying a new regional carrier:

Title #1: Saint Lucia welcomes new regional airline

Press Release: The inaugural flight of InterCaribbean Airways arrived at the George FL Charles Airport, on Thursday, March 22, at 6:55 pm, from the island of Dominica. The flight marks the commencement of a direct service, 3 times a week, between Saint Lucia’s George FL Charles Airport (SLU) and Dominica’s Douglas–Charles Airport (DOM).

Flight JY293 was welcomed by the Minister of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting the Hon. Dominic Fedee, Chairperson of the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority Agnes Francis, Airport Manager for George FL Charles Kirby Toussaint and other tourism officials. The honoured guests included airline Owner and Chairman Lyndon Gardiner along with CEO Trevor Sadler.  Guests were greeted with steel band music and welcome refreshments upon disembarking the aircraft.

The new route will be serviced by an Embraer EMB120, with a seating capacity of 30. The flights will arrive from DOM at 6:55 pm on Sunday, Monday and Thursday and depart from SLU at 9:00 am on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. The service provides onward connections to the northern Caribbean including the BVI reaching as far north as Havana with an additional direct service to Saint Croix commencing on April 12.

Speaking on the airlines role in regional travel Owner/Chairman Lyndon Gardiner stated, “Our dream is connecting the entire Caribbean, we feel that once we have better air connectivity we will be able to have better integration and be able to market the Caribbean as a single destination, offering more multi-destination vacations in our region”

The airport’s proximity to the island’s main business hub and largest cluster of hotels makes it the ideal point of entry for regional travel. In 2017 the Caribbean market overtook the United Kingdom as the second largest producer of stay-over arrivals, generating 76,349 or 19.8% of total stay-over arrivals to the destination.

Minister of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting the Hon. Dominic Fedee commented on the value of the increased airlift saying, “We look forward to the opportunities that this flight allows, which connects us to even more gateways across the Caribbean.”

Source: Retrieved April 21, 2018 from:

There is a heightened deficiency in the region today, and now only a small number of airline carriers have answered the call. This dysfunction has created the urgency for permanent change. This is a prime directive of the book Go Lean … Caribbean, to optimize the region’s economic engines, including enhancements for Caribbean tourism, cruise and “long stay” visitors.

The book Go Lean…Caribbean – available to download for free – serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap fully has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

American Airlines is more than just a regional carrier; they are the world’s largest airline; see VIDEO in the Appendix below. In addition to their planes-flights, they also facilitate an alliance with other carriers around the world, to form the OneWorld Alliance. This alliance was detailed in that previous blog-commentary, listing this inventory as of May 2014:

Airline Base Country / Region
Airberlin Germany – Central Europe
American Airlines USA – North America
British Airways United Kingdom, Western Europe
Cathay Pacific Airways Hong Kong (China), Far East Asia
Finnair Finland – North Europe
Iberia Spain / Portugal – Southern Europe
Japan Airlines Japan – Far East Asia
LAN Airlines Chile/Peru – South America
Malaysia Airlines Malaysia – Southeast Asia
Qantas Australia – Austra-Asia
Qatar Airways Middle East
Royal Jordanian Middle East
S7 Airlines Russia – Siberia
TAM Airlines Brazil – South America
US Airways USA – North America

So the Caribbean took a beating, economically, because of the decline and failure of this one private American company.

You see it, right? You see the “too many vulnerable eggs in one basket”; this is called “country risk”:

Country risk also refers to the broader notion of the degree to which political and economic unrest affect the securities of issuers doing business in a particular country. – Source.

Yes, there is vulnerability of placing our own economic fortunes in the hands of just one foreign entity. This is a consistent complaint of the Go Lean movement against the Caribbean member-states:

We have subjected ourselves to be parasites, rather than protégés.

A more appropriate Caribbean solution would be to forge an equivalent multi-airline alliance. In fact, there is such an effort in place now, though limited. See the news article here identifying a new alliance in the Eastern Caribbean:

Title #2: Caribbean airline alliance promises lower fares

Barbados Nation – Three Caribbean airlines have formed an alliance which promises to make it easier and cheaper for travellers to move between 32 countries.

Antigua-based LIAT, Air Antilles of Guadeloupe and St Maarten’s Winair have joined forces under the CaribSKY project which is co-funded by the European Union’s INTERREG Caribbean programme to the tune of 4.7 million euros.

The details of the project were revealed on Tuesday during a media conference at La Creole Beach Hotel and Spa in Guadeloupe.

Air Antilles chief executive officer Serge Tsygalnitzky said CaribSKY would allow passengers to travel on any of the three airlines on one ticket. This will be facilitated through codeshares and interline agreements.

“Sometimes, a customer has to purchase two tickets, three tickets to get to a single place. Now, what we want you to be able to do is travel seamlessly anywhere you want to with a single ticket,” he told regional media.

Tsygalnitzky said passengers would benefit from more direct flights and connections, lower fares, a better airport experience and a loyalty programme.

At the same time, LIAT, Winair and Air Antilles will be able to share know-how, optimise schedules and bring their teams together while maintaining separate identities.

Together, it projected that the three airlines will operate 25 aircraft and transport 1 400 000 passengers annuals on 70 000 flights.

LIAT’s chief executive officer Julie Reifer-Jones said inter-regional travel was declining and it was hoped that CaribSKY will make it easier for passengers to move through the English, French, Spanish and Dutch-speaking territories.

In brief remarks, LIAT chairman Dr Jean Holder pointed out that the Caribbean was the most airline dependent region in the world and social, economic and cultural life depended on the extent to which there is connectivity.

St Maarten’s Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transportation and Telecommunications, Cornelius de Weever also highlighted the importance of CaribSKY.

He pointed out that it is often easier and cheaper to cross the Atlantic than to visit a Caribbean territory.

Source: Retrieved April 23, 2018 from:

This too is a good start, though limited to the small Eastern Caribbean sub-region. The Go Lean movement presents the plan to forge an alliance of multiple parties throughout the whole Caribbean region, all 30 member-states in benefit to the 42 million people. The book stresses that regional alliances are the best ways to reform and transform the Caribbean societal engines. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

viii. Whereas the population size is too small to foster good negotiations for products and commodities from international vendors, the Federation must allow the unification of the region as one … agent, thereby garnering better terms and discounts.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society. One advocacy (Page 205) details the CU’s role in promotion activities for air travel, with this quotation:

Aviation plays a key role, and so there is the need for regional coordination and promotion of the region’s domestic and foreign air carriers.

Yes, we can better promote air travel in the Caribbean; we can make our homeland a better place to live, work, fly & play. 🙂

Download the free e-book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix VIDEO – World’s largest airline fleet || American Airlines Current And Future Fleet –

Great Aviation
Published on Jan 23, 2018 – American Airlines current as well as the airplanes it has ordered. All the types as well as their seat configurations.


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