Jump to content

Caribbean Airlines

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Caribbean Airlines
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded27 November 1939 (as BWIA)
19 September 2006 (as Caribbean Airlines)
Commenced operations1 January 2007
Frequent-flyer programCaribbean Miles[1]
Fleet size19
Parent companyGovernment of Jamaica (11.9%)
Government of Trinidad and Tobago (88.1%)
HeadquartersPiarco, Trinidad and Tobago
Key peopleGarvin Medera, CEO [2]
Net incomeIncrease USD$ 24 million [3]

Caribbean Airlines Limited is the state-owned airline and flag carrier of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.[4] Headquartered in Iere House in Piarco, the airline operates flights to the Caribbean, North America and South America from its base at Piarco International Airport, Trinidad. Presently Caribbean Airlines employs more than 1,700 people and is the largest airline in the Caribbean.[5] The company slogan is The Warmth of the Islands.[6]



Early years


Caribbean Airlines was incorporated in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago on 27 September 2006.

In September 2006, following the recommendation of Peter Davies, the CEO of BWIA West Indies Airways, Caribbean Airlines got approval from the Trinidad and Tobago government to begin operations, after the failed negotiations between the unions and the management of its predecessor, BWIA. As a result, it was announced on 8 September 2006, that BWIA was to be shut down before the launch of Caribbean Airlines. During the last quarter of 2006, in an effort to scale down operations for the start of Caribbean Airlines, BWIA's management cut routes such as Manchester Airport, London Heathrow Airport, New York City and Toronto, with intermediate stops at Barbados or Antigua, ceased services to and from Saint Lucia, cut its fleet to six Boeing 737-800 aircraft retrofitted with wingtip devices (winglets) and reduced its staff to 800, with a majority of the staff former BWIA workers now contracted.

The new airline's capital included funds to close and settle BWIA's operations.[7] The company commenced operations on 1 January 2007, servicing the remaining routes of BWIA.[8]

Caribbean Airlines began operations with a fleet of six Boeing 737-800 aircraft and one Airbus A340-313, operating the London Heathrow route until May 2007. The airline offered two classes of service, first/business class and economy class on both the Boeing and Airbus aircraft. Caribbean Airlines operated daily direct services to Miami, Toronto, New York, Jamaica (with stops in Barbados and Antigua/St. Maarten), Guyana, Suriname and London Heathrow till May 2007 due to the ICC 2007 Cricket World Cup, all out of its hub at Piarco International Airport. Peter Davies resigned from his position as CEO, effective 30 September 2007, but remained as a strategic advisor to Caribbean Airlines.[9] In the first half of 2007, two Airbus A340-200 planes and a Boeing 737 Next Generation Boeing 737-800, 9Y-GND, were returned to International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) and GE Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS), respectively.

On 1 October 2007, Philip Saunders, Star Alliance VP Commercial, was appointed the new chief executive officer of Caribbean Airlines. Subsequently, the airline took over operations of Tobago Express, its domestic arm at a cost of US$24 million with the intentions to upgrade the fleet of Bombardier Dash-8 Q300 to international standards and also adding new Caribbean destinations to be served via this regional airline subsidiary.

A former Caribbean Airlines Airbus A340-300 still in BWIA West Indies Airways livery

In March 2008, the airline added a daily direct service to the Simón Bolívar International Airport in Caracas, using the Dash 8 aircraft. In May 2008, Caribbean Airlines acquired a seventh Boeing 737-800 aircraft.[10] The airline added a new U.S. route on 22 May to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Piarco International Airport. This route began operations on a four times per week schedule and later in July of the same year, the frequency was increased to daily service.

On 15 November 2008, Transavia Airlines agreed to operate a wet-lease operation on behalf of Caribbean Airlines, it increased its fleet to eight Boeing 737-800. The aircraft was re-fitted to the standard 16/138 configuration including an extra nine inches of seat pitch in the business class cabin, due to a different galley and closet placement. This allowed the airline to increase flight frequency to meet demand for the peak travel periods. The lease was contracted to be in effect until 15 April 2009. The aircraft was returned in June 2009, and Sun Country Airlines, a U.S. air carrier, then leased a Boeing 737-800 to Caribbean Airlines.

In April 2009, the airline increased its frequency of service to Simón Bolívar International Airport in Caracas from a daily service to ten flights per week. The route was operated by the Bombardier Dash-8 Q300, configured for 50 passengers in an all economy service. Daily flights to its gateways Fort Lauderdale and Miami continued. Services to Toronto and New York City remained at twice daily and 20 weekly (up to 28 weekly in peak season), respectively.

On 27 July 2009, Philip Saunders announced his resignation as CEO of Caribbean Airlines, for personal reasons. Caribbean Airlines appointed Captain Ian Brunton in October 2009 as CEO of the airline.[11] Also in 2009, Caribbean Airlines operated services from the southern Caribbean to Jamaica, as well as South America, including Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela. The airline also continued to serve the United States and Canada, in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York City and Toronto, having also established a codeshare agreement with British Airways, for services to London and beyond. As of 2009, the airline operated a fleet of eight Boeing 737-800 aircraft and five Bombardier Dash-8 Q300 aircraft, out of its main hub at Piarco International Airport, Trinidad. The Dash 8 aircraft have since been replaced with new ATR 72-600, a larger turboprop aircraft.

Acquisition of Air Jamaica

A former Air Jamaica Boeing 737-800 operated by Caribbean Airlines

Caribbean Airlines Limited, through the government of Trinidad and Tobago, announced plans to operate a base in Jamaica following the divestment of Air Jamaica which was slated to occur between 30 April 2010 to that same period in 2011. Caribbean Airlines provided a seamless transition following Air Jamaica's closure. When the deal was finalized, Caribbean Airlines Limited became the largest airline in the Caribbean with a new hub in Kingston Jamaica's Norman Manley International Airport. The divestment was scheduled to become effective on 30 April 2010 after it was rescheduled from 12 April 2010. On this day, it was planned that Air Jamaica would cease operations and Caribbean Airlines will then acquire the airline's most profitable routes and their remaining six aircraft. Plans were also announced to replace the aircraft fleet with all Boeing 737-800 Next Generation jets.

On 4 March 2010, Caribbean Airlines announced they would terminate their codeshare agreement with British Airways for the Port of Spain-London Gatwick route effective 27 March 2010 thus paving the way for a nonstop service to be operated by Caribbean between Piarco International Airport and London, UK.

On 28 April 2010, Caribbean Airlines Limited and Air Jamaica signed a final agreement for the purchase of Air Jamaica by Caribbean Airlines Limited, following the signing of a letter of intent to merge in January of the same year.[12] The agreement stated that Caribbean would continue operating Air Jamaica's routes and also retain 900 of Air Jamaica's employees. Financing was provided by the government of Trinidad and Tobago, which contributed around $50 million to complete the merger, and Jamaica, which assumed more than $800 million in costs related to the closure of Air Jamaica.[citation needed]

In August 2010, Caribbean Airlines and Air India signed a travel pact for Trinidadians travelling to India. In October, the airline announced a fleet renewal consisting of fifteen (15) Boeing 737-800 Next Generation jets and nine ATR 72-600 turboprop aircraft. The new Boeing jets were intended to replace Air Jamaica's operating fleet of Airbus aircraft.[13]

On 27 May 2011, the acquisition of Air Jamaica was completed, with Finance Minister Winston Dookeran and Jamaican Finance Minister Audley Shaw at the Prime Minister' St. Clair office, signing the shareholding agreement. This agreement allows the Jamaican government to own a 16% stake of Caribbean Airlines Limited. On 28 October 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation fined Caribbean Airlines $60,000 for limiting reimbursements for lost, damaged and delayed baggage to less than consumers were entitled under the Montreal Convention.[14]

According to chairman of the board of Caribbean Airlines George Nicholas III, Caribbean Airlines is pursuing a relationship with Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance, in an effort to support Jamaican hoteliers.[needs update] It is also reported they are preparing to start a route to Mumbai, but no date has been given. Also, Nicholas announced that Johannesburg, Nigeria, and Brazil are possible contenders for new routes. Chicago and Atlanta are the two new U.S. gateways that are being considered, Nicholas stated.[15]

On 29 March 2013, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) fined the airline $100,000 for not providing passengers with an opportunity to leave a plane that was delayed on the tarmac at New York's JFK Airport for more than four hours.

In early 2016, the management of Caribbean Airlines has set as an agenda to consider replacing its ATR fleet with comparable turboprops sourced from Bombardier due to persistent reliability problems. The former chief executive officer (CEO) Michael Di Lollo described the ATRs as "not mission capable" after they suffered from frequent AOG (Aircraft On Ground) occurrences. On his recommendation, efforts were made to sourcing Dash 8-400 aircraft to replace the carrier's fleet of five ATR72-600s.[16]

Also in early 2016, the airline returned its two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to their lessor, coinciding with termination of its only European route to London Gatwick Airport on 10 January 2016, as part of a streamlining exercise to remove unprofitable routes.[17]

In 2018, the airline posted an order for 737 MAX-8 aircraft, to replace the aging fleet of 737-800 aircraft. The order was initially placed in 2018, and put on hold after the grounding of the 737 MAX family.[18]

Also in 2018, the services Caribbean Cafe and Caribbean Plus were launched for the first time. Caribbean Plus served as an upgraded economy class with larger seats and extra legroom, but with the same service. Caribbean Cafe offered buy-on-board local snacks, drinks and amenities.

In 2019, the airline posted its first profit of four million ($4,000,000 U.S.) dollars.[19]

Rebranding and revitalization


In 2020, the airline began a rebranding exercise, introducing a new logo and livery. The first aircraft to receive the new livery, was an ATR 72-600, 9Y-TTI. The new logo retains the iconic hummingbird while infusing fluid lines and brighter hues to embody the spirit of flight, the vibrancy of Caribbean culture and connectivity within the region.[20] The rest of the existing ATR fleet was repainted gradually, with the last aircraft being repainted in 2024.

In late 2021, the airline began receiving the first of 12 737 MAX-8 aircraft, ordered previously in 2018. The delivery came a year after the 737 MAX was cleared for service by the FAA. Over the course of the next few months, the airline received 9 of these aircraft, ultimately phasing out the 737-800 entirely by 2023.[21]

The new aircraft were painted in the rebranded livery, with a vastly modernized cabin. The cabin configuration was very similar to that of the 737-800, albeit with slightly more seats. Caribbean View, a stream-to-your-device onboard entertainment system was implemented previously, but was improved on the new aircraft including personal touchscreens for Business Class Passengers.

In 2023, the airline announced that flights to Caracas, Venezuela would be restarted on a weekly basis, with frequency expected to increase. Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, Caribbean Airlines began flights to Dominica, restarted flights to Ft. Lauderdale and Caracas, introduced a temporary route from Georgetown, Guyana to Houston and stated their plans for fleet expansion and additional destinations in the Caribbean.[22]

In July 2023, it was announced that new flights to St. Thomas, United States Virgin Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico were tentatively approved. An Eastern Caribbean route expansion, including flights to Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis, was also announced with new flights from Barbados, St. Lucia-Castries, St. Vincent-Argyle, Dominica-Douglas Charles and Antigua. This route expansion coincided with the airline's order for additional ATR 72-600 aircraft.[23]

In July 2024, the airline began nonstop service between Port of Spain and San Juan, Puerto Rico[24] and announced that service to Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe was slated to commence in August. Flights to Fort-de-France, Martinique and Tortola, British Virgin Islands were also announced for the near future.

Corporate affairs



Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800
Caribbean Airlines ATR 72–600 in old livery

The colors of Caribbean Airlines are blue, green and purple and are represented in the new staff uniforms, all featuring the hummingbird, the logo of Caribbean Airlines.

BWIA's logo was a steelpan. Caribbean Airlines' image is a hummingbird in flight.[25] The image is a reference to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, where the island of Trinidad is known as "the land of the hummingbird".[26] All aircraft in the fleet carry the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the flag of CARICOM.[27]

The airline had four designs on the tails of its de Havilland Canada DHC-8 Dash 8 regional aircraft before these twin turboprops were phased out of the fleet (9Y-WIT was not painted). One of the designs raised controversy, due to its usage of the Balisier flower, the symbol of the former ruling People's National Movement political party.[28] The logo was subsequently redesigned without the flower[29] and replaced with fruits. The tail designs featured a steelpan, cricket balls, fruits, corals, fish and butterflies.

Caribbean Airlines has a theme song arranged in a traditional Trinidadian calypso music style. It was originally recorded by Explainer and the song is called "Lorraine".[30] The original lyrics, which talk about a man who needs to escape the cold United States and get back to the Caribbean,[31] were modified to fit Caribbean Airlines.

In 2020, the airline rebranded itself by launching a new logo and livery. The first aircraft to receive the new livery, is the airline's 9Y-TTI ATR aircraft. The new logo retains the iconic hummingbird while infusing fluid lines and brighter hues to embody the spirit of flight, the vibrancy of Caribbean culture and connectivity within the region.[20]


  • 2010 to 2019: The "Caribbean's Leading Airline" - by World Travel Awards[32]
  • 2017 to 2021: The "Caribbean's Leading Airline Brand" - by World Travel Awards

Inflight magazine


Caribbean Beat Magazine, established in 1992, is Caribbean Airlines' complimentary, bi-monthly in-flight magazine. It has been produced since inception by Media and Editorial Projects Limited. When the print magazine had to be temporarily removed from flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic,[33] a digital-only version was introduced in July 2020,[34] followed by a digital-only brand extension called Wanderer by Caribbean Beat in October 2020.[35] Caribbean Beat Magazine returned to print format in March 2021.[36]

Frequent flyer program


The airline's frequent-flyer program is called Caribbean Miles. The three tiers of the program are called Silver, Gold and Executive Gold.[1]



Caribbean Airlines operates scheduled services to the following destinations including incorporated services formerly operated by Air Jamaica.


Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 in current livery

As of November 2023, the Caribbean Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft:[37]

Caribbean Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In service Orders Passengers Notes
C Y+ Y Total
ATR 72-600 10 4 68 68 [38]
Boeing 737 MAX 8 9 3 16 36 108 160 [39]
Embraer E175 5 TBA [40]
Cargo fleet
Boeing 737-800F 2 Cargo [40]
ATR 72-600F 2 Cargo [40]
Total 19 16

Previously operated


Caribbean Airlines previously operated the following aircraft:[37]

Caribbean Airlines previous fleet
Aircraft Total Introduced Retired Notes
Airbus A340-300 2 2007 2007 Taken from BWIA West Indies Airways
Boeing 737-800 21 2007 2023
Boeing 767-300ER 2 2012 2016 Taken from LAN Airlines
De Havilland Canada Dash 8-300 5 2007 2014 Taken from Tobago Express

Incidents and accidents

  • On 30 July 2011, Caribbean Airlines Flight 523 (reg. 9Y-PBM) overran the runway in rainy weather and crashed through the perimeter fence while landing at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport in Guyana. The incident occurred at approximately 1:32 am. The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, broke into two just behind the first class section of the aircraft cabin. There were no fatalities.[41][42][43] Caribbean Airlines confirmed 157 passengers and 6 crew members were on board the aircraft.[44]


  1. ^ a b Caribbean Miles Archived 4 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine, Caribbean Airlines Web site, accessed 2 July 2008.
  2. ^ "Caribbean Airlines hires new CEO". The Trinidad Guardian Newspaper. Archived from the original on 5 January 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  3. ^ "CAL reports operational profit - Trinidad and Tobago Guardian". 20 January 2024.
  5. ^ Sweney, Mark (29 December 2006). "Will Caribbean Airlines fly?". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  6. ^ "South Florida Caribbean News". Archived from the original on 13 March 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2013.
  7. ^ Friendly skies Caribbean Airlines forecasts profit next year[permanent dead link], Trinidad Guardian, Accessed 2 July 2008.
  8. ^ "Bye Bye BWEE", Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  9. ^ Vella, Matthew (11 December 2011). "Peter Davies's Heathrow slot sale under inquiry by Trinidad government". maltatoday.com.mt. MediaToday Co. Ltd. Retrieved 3 October 2015.
  10. ^ "Caribbean Airlines on course to break even"[permanent dead link], Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  11. ^ "Caribbean Airlines CEO resigns 27 July 2009.Mr. Ian Brunton resigned as the CEO in November 2010 and Mr. Robert Corbie is currently acting in this capacity". Archived from the original on 31 July 2009.
  12. ^ Carol Martindale (26 May 2011). "Air Jamaica deal signed". Nation Newspaper. Retrieved 25 February 2022.
  13. ^ "Caribbean Prepping for 737s, ATRs". Aviation Week. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010.[permanent dead link]
  14. ^ "Caribbean Airlines Fined for Improperly Limiting Reimbursements for Delayed Baggage". Department of Transportation. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  15. ^ Clint Chan Tack, newsday.co.tt "$200M profit for CAL", Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday, 15 November 2011.
  16. ^ "Caribbean Airlines studying Q400 as ATR replacement". ch-aviation.
  17. ^ "Caribbean Ends Widebody Ops". Airliner World: 15. October 2015.
  18. ^ "Caribbean Airlines orders 12 B737 MAX". AVIATOR. 21 November 2018. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  19. ^ "CAL makes profit of US$4m". Trinidad Express Newspapers. 10 October 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Caribbean Airlines | Book flights, cheap tickets & low fares". www.caribbean-airlines.com.
  21. ^ "Caribbean Airlines ends B737-800 ops". ch-aviation. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  22. ^ Pinheiro, Brent. "Caribbean Airlines flying again to Caracas from May 13". www.guardian.co.tt. Retrieved 25 April 2023.
  23. ^ "Caribbean Airlines | Book flights, cheap tickets & low fares". www.caribbean-airlines.com. Retrieved 2 July 2023.
  24. ^ "Caribbean Airlines | Book flights, cheap tickets & low fares". www.caribbean-airlines.com. Retrieved 16 July 2024.
  25. ^ "Caribbean Airlines launched"[permanent dead link], Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  26. ^ Caribbean Media Corporation: Hummingbird for BWee's replacement Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, CANA News, Accessed 2 July 2008
  27. ^ "Caribbean Airlines gets ready"[permanent dead link], Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  28. ^ Leiselle Maraj, "Caribbean Airlines flies the balisier", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  29. ^ "PNM joins Gingerbread House campaign", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 21 February 2008. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  30. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Myspace. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  31. ^ "Toronto Events, Torontolime.com". Archived from the original on 14 February 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  32. ^ Staff writer (2011). "The Caribbean's Leading Airline". World Travel Awards. Retrieved 16 December 2011.
  33. ^ "Caribbean Beat". Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  34. ^ "Caribbean Beat newsletter July 2020". Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  35. ^ "Caribbean Beat newsletter October 2020". Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  36. ^ "Caribbean Beat newsletter March 2021". Retrieved 26 June 2021.
  37. ^ a b "Caribbean Airlines Fleet Details and History". planespotters.net. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Caribbean Airlines will add three ATR 72-600". 15 February 2023.
  39. ^ "Caribbean Airlines to add twelve B737 MAX for fleet renewal". ch-aviation.
  40. ^ a b c "Caribbean Airlines eyes E175s, freighters". ch-aviation. 10 October 2023. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  41. ^ Terror at CJIA… Caribbean Airlines plane crashes on landing Kaieteur News with pictures
  42. ^ "Commercial plane crashes in Guyana; no deaths". Yahoo News. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  43. ^ "All survive airliner crash in Guyana - CTV News". CTVNews. 30 July 2011. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  44. ^ "Caribbean Airlines News Releases". Archived from the original on 3 September 2011.

Media related to Caribbean Airlines at Wikimedia Commons