Caribbean Airlines

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Caribbean Airlines
Caribbean Airlines logo-600x270.png
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 19 September 2006 (predecessor in 1939)
Commenced operations 1 January 2007
Focus cities
Frequent-flyer program Caribbean Miles[1]
Airport lounge Club Caribbean[2]
Fleet size 21
Destinations 19
Company slogan The Warmth of the Islands[3]
Parent company Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Headquarters Piarco, Trinidad and Tobago
Key people Mr. Tyrone Tang (acting CEO)[4]

Caribbean Airlines Limited operating as Caribbean Airlines is the state-owned airline of Trinidad and Tobago. Headquartered in Iere House in Piarco, the airline operates flights to the Caribbean, Europe, North America and South America from its base at Piarco International Airport.

Presently Caribbean Airlines employs more than 1,700 people and operates routes formerly served by the now defunct Air Jamaica.[5]


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.[6] The company commenced operations on 1 January 2007, servicing the remaining routes of BWIA.[7]

In the first half of 2007, two Airbus A340-300 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 27 July 2009, Mr. Philip Saunders announced his resignation as CEO of Caribbean Airlines, due to personal reasons. Caribbean Airlines appointed Captain Ian Brunton in October 2009 as CEO of the airline.[8]

May 17, 2013 - PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC- Less than 72 hours after he announced that Caribbean Airlines (CAL) had accumulated losses of more than US$100 million, Finance Minister Larry Howai Friday announced that the current board of directors of the state-owned airline had been replaced.

On Tuesday, Howai told the Senate that the preliminary unaudited figures showed US$32 million of the $70 million loss was incurred by the Air Jamaica route, with the London route also accounting for a major part of the losses.

Caribbean Airlines, which began operations in 2007, acquired Air Jamaica in 2011. The Jamaican government has a 16 per cent stake in the Trinidadian air carrier.

"On the Jamaica route, it has cut flights to Jamaica and on the London route, it has terminated the wet-leasing arrangement," Howai said, adding he expects to "significantly reduce the losses of the airline during this year".

The finance minister said the airline used a lot of its cash in the acquisition of planes and that he had instructed that a new restructuring of the balance sheet be done where the airline would have to borrow and replace the cash which had previously been used.

"It is better to leverage the asset rather than leave it unencumbered while having the company incurring significant debt obligations."

Howai said the US$40 million fuel subsidy applies to Air Jamaica and CAL. He said it was the same as last year and would end in 2015.

The airline will return its two Boeing 767-300ER aircraft to their lessor in early 2016, coinciding with termination of its only European route to London Gatwick Airport, as part of a streamlining exercise to remove unprofitable routes.[9]

In-flight services[edit]

Upon the airline's launch in January 2006, the airline retained the in-flight magazine, Caribbean Beat, and in-flight video, Caribbean Essence, of its predecessor BWIA. Caribbean Beat has been published since 1991 by Media and Editorial Projects Limited out of Trinidad and Tobago, and Caribbean Essence is produced by JCD & Associates, also out of Trinidad & Tobago.

Additionally, Caribbean Airlines continues to market itself as one of the few airlines still offering complimentary meals and refreshments, as well as two free checked bags. A movie is also shown on long-haul flights. In December 2014, Caribbean Airlines became the first airline to remove its fuel surcharge due to the reduction in jet fuel prices[10] and will introduce charges for a second checked bag, effective 1 February 2015.[11]


Caribbean ATR 72-600

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.[12] 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".[13] All aircraft in the fleet carry the flag of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as the flag of CARICOM.[14]

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.[15] The logo was subsequently redesigned without the flower[16] and replaced with fruits. The tail designs featured a steelpan, cricket balls, fruits, corals, fish and butterflies.

Operations: past and present[edit]

Caribbean Airlines ATR 72-600 in the foreground and Boeing 767-300ER in the background at Piarco International Airport

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.[17]

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.

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.[18] 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 remained at twice daily and 20 weekly (up to 28 weekly in peak season), respectively.

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 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 propjets.

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.[19]

Acquisition of Air Jamaica[edit]

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 is providing a seamless transition following Air Jamaica's closure. Once the deal is finalized, Caribbean Airlines Limited will become 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. 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.[20]

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.

Talks have begun between Caribbean Airlines' management and LIAT (Leeward Islands Air Transport, a regional airline operating Dash 8 as well as ATR-42 and ATR-72 turboprop aircraft in the Caribbean) regarding a possible partnership or merger between the two airlines. The former Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning had also expressed interest in Cayman Airways also being merged into Caribbean Airlines, but, with the recent changes in government, the future of these plans is uncertain.

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.[dated info] 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.[21]

Cargo operations[edit]

Caribbean Airlines operates cargo services using a wet-leased Boeing 767 freighter from ABX Air of the United States. The service operates to several destinations in the airline's route network including Port of Spain, Guyana and Miami and operates three times weekly. The aircraft are flown by ABX pilots using Caribbean's callsign and Caribbean Airlines flight numbers[citation needed].



Caribbean Airlines Boeing 737-800 landing in Miami

Current Fleet[edit]

The Caribbean Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of June 2015) :

Caribbean Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Passengers Notes
J Y Total
ATR 72-600 5 0 0 68 68
Boeing 737-800 12 0 16 138 154
Boeing 767-300ER 2 0 30 191 221 [22] To be retired in January 2016
Total 19 0

Former fleet[edit]

Caribbean Airlines Frequent Flyer Program[edit]

The airline's frequent-flyer program is called Caribbean Miles. This program offers many benefits to its members, and there is no joining fee. The three tiers of the program are called Silver, Gold and Executive Gold.

Incidents and accidents[edit]

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 area. There were no fatalities. At least two passengers suffered broken legs and others suffered lacerations and other injuries. The majority of the injured were treated at Diamond Diagnostic Hospital and then later transferred to Georgetown Public Hospital.[23][24][25] Caribbean Airlines confirmed 157 passengers and 6 crew members were on board the aircraft.[26]


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. Caribbean Airlines also failed to provide passengers with food and water for almost four hours during the delay.[27]

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.[28]


  • 2010, 2011, 2015 - The "Caribbean's Leading Airline" - by World Travel Awards[29]

Theme song[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Caribbean Miles, Caribbean Airlines Website, Accessed 2 July 2008.
  2. ^ Club Caribbean, Caribbean Airlines Website, Accessed 2 July 2008.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Super User. "Caribbean Airlines - About Us - History". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Friendly skies Caribbean Airlines forecasts profit next year, Trinidad Guardian, Accessed 2 July 2008.
  7. ^ "Bye Bye BWEE", Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ "Caribbean Ends Widebody Ops". Airliner World: 15. October 2015. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Caribbean Airlines introduces charges for second checked-in bag - Latest News". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  12. ^ "Caribbean Airlines launched", Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  13. ^ Caribbean Media Corporation: Hummingbird for BWee's replacement, CANA News, Accessed 2 July 2008
  14. ^ "Caribbean Airlines gets ready", Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  15. ^ Leiselle Maraj, "Caribbean Airlines flies the balisier", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  16. ^ "PNM joins Gingerbread House campaign", Trinidad and Tobago Newsday, 21 February 2008. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  17. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Caribbean Airlines on course to break even", Trinidad Guardian. Accessed 2 July 2008.
  19. ^ "Caribbean Prepping for 737s, ATRs". Aviation Week. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 7 October 2010. 
  20. ^ "Caribbean Airlines Customer Care Service Review".
  21. ^ Clint Chan Tack, "$200M profit for CAL", Trinidad and Tobago's Newsday, 15 November 2011.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Terror at CJIA… Caribbean Airlines plane crashes on landing Kaieteur News with pictures
  24. ^ "Commercial plane crashes in Guyana; no deaths". Yahoo News. 30 July 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  25. ^ "All survive airliner crash in Guyana - CTV News". CTVNews. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  26. ^ Caribbean Airlines News Releases
  27. ^ "DOT Fines Caribbean Airlines for Denying Passengers Opportunity to Leave Plane, Failing to Provide Food and Water During Lengthy Tarmac Delay". Department of Transportation. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  28. ^ "Caribbean Airlines Fined for Improperly Limiting Reimbursements for Delayed Baggage". Department of Transportation. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  29. ^ Staff writer (2011). "The Caribbean's Leading Airline". World Travel Awards. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  30. ^ "Featured Content on Myspace". Myspace. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  31. ^ "Toronto Events,". Retrieved 24 April 2015. 

External links[edit]