|Founded||1969 (as Société Antillaise de Transport Aérien/Air Guadeloupe)|
|Commenced operations||July 2000 |
|Hubs||Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport|
|Secondary hubs||Martinique Aimé Césaire International Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Frequence Plus|
|Company slogan||Du Soleil sur toute la ligne (Sun on the whole line)|
|Parent company||Groupe Dubreuil|
|Headquarters||Les Abymes, Guadeloupe|
Air Caraïbes (IATA: TX, ICAO: FWI, Call sign: French West) is a French airline and is the regional airline of the French Caribbean which comprises two overseas departments of France: Guadeloupe and Martinique. The airline is headquartered in Les Abymes in Guadeloupe. It operates scheduled and charter services serving 13 islands in the West Indies. It also operates transatlantic flights to Paris using Airbus A330 aircraft under the Air Caraïbes Atlantique brand. The airline code shares with LIAT. Its main base is Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport, with a hub at Le Lamentin Airport, Le Lamentin, near Fort-de-France.
Air Caraïbes started out of the necessity to have a regional airline responding to the needs of the French Caribbean territories. The company was founded in July 2000 through the merger of various local airlines (Air Guadeloupe, Air Martinique, Air Saint Barthélémy, Air Saint Martin). In 2002, the company flew 445,000 passengers and had €68 million in revenues. It is part of the Carib Sky Alliance, an airline alliance which comprises in addition to Air Caraïbes the following airlines: Leeward Islands Air Transport and Winair (Windward Islands Airways).
It was established as Societe Caribéenne de Transports Aériens and started operations in September 1994. It started services to Paris from Guadeloupe and Martinique in December 2003 using an Airbus A330-200. The airline is owned by Groupe Dubreuil (85%) and has 627 employees (at March 2007).
Air Caraïbes Express uses Travel Technology Interactive's airline management system, Aeropack.
Air Caraibes existed before 1990. They were operating Britten-Norman BN2-A Islander and Cessna Caravan prop aircraft. That year, one of their BN2-A's was sold to a Norwegian parachute club and flown from Guadeloupe to Florida and then to Oslo, Norway.
Air Caraïbes serve the following destinations:
- Saint Martin (France)
- Sint Maarten (Netherlands)
As of September 2013, the Air Caraïbes (including Air Caraïbes Atlantique) fleet consists of the following aircraft:
|Airbus A330-200||1||0||0||12||333||345||One leased from Air Transat|
|Airbus A330-300||4||2||18||30||307||355||Operated by Air Caraibes Atlantique
To be leased between 2016 and 2017,order to be of enhanced version.
|Airbus A350-900||0||4||TBA||387||Will operate for Air Caraibes Atlantique
Entering in service: 2016 
|Airbus A350-1000||0||3||TBA||439||Will operate for Air Caraibes Atlantique
Entering in service: 2020 
|ATR 72-500||3||0||0||0||70||70||Replaced by ATR 72-600 in 2017|
Air Caraïbes has operated the following aircraft types:
At August 2006 the airline also operated:
- 1 ATR 72-500
- 2 ATR 42-500
- 2 ATR 72-200
- 1 Embraer ERJ-145 MP
- 1 Embraer 175LR
- 1 Embraer 190LR
- 1 GAF N24A Nomad
- 3 Dornier 228-200 configured for Y19
The airline also operated the following aircraft in the past:
- 1 Cessna Citation configured for Y7
- 3 Cessna 208 Caravan configured for Y9
- 1 DHC-6-300 Twin Otter configured for Y18
Incidents and accidents
20 people died after an Air Caraïbes DHC-6 Twin Otter crashed on 24 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 2 pilots) and Augustin Questel, an 81-year-old man in the house. The man's wife was injured .
Flight TX1501 was scheduled to leave at 16:00 from Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM), St Maarten, for the 15-minute flight to Gustaf III Airport in Saint-Barthélemy, 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 16:30. 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 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.
In the final report released by the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la Sécurité de l'Aviation Civile states that the probable cause of the accident was determined to be the Captain's use of the propellers in reverse beta ("reverse thrust") in flight. The thrust asymmetry caused the loss of yaw control and then roll control of the aircraft. The Captain’s lack of recent experience on this airplane type, difficulty of conducting an approach to runway 10 at Gustaf III Airport, and the pressure of time during this flight were listed as contributing factors. The low altitude at which the loss of control occurred was listed as an aggravating factor.
- Norwood, Tom; Wegg, John (2002). North American Airlines Handbook (3rd ed.). Sandpoint, ID: Airways International. ISBN 0-9653993-8-9.
- "Legal Notice." Air Caraïbes. Retrieved on 24 June 2010.
- Flight International 27 March 2007
- ILFC, http://www.ilfc.com/resources/press_releases/ILFC_leases_three_A350-900s_to_Air_Caraibes_final.pdf
- Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
- North American Airlines Handbook published by Airways International Inc 1997
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Air Caraïbes.|