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Caribbean Airlines could become Saint Lucia’s national air carrier

By SNO Staff

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Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet.

Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has expressed his government’s willingness to have Trinidad-owned Caribbean Airlines made Saint Lucia’s national air carrier given the many issues facing air transport in the region.

The prime minister made this announcement on Monday evening during a live press conference on the National Television Network, stating that this may be the best option right now for Saint Lucia.

“This means that Caribbean Airlines would now be able to fly between Saint Lucia and Barbados and Trinidad and even go to Puerto Rico and other places,” he declared.

Chastanet, a former tourism minister, noted that people are frustrated with LIAT, and explained that the regional carrier cannot resolve all of the transportation needs of the region by itself.

It was also observed that the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCCAA) is a major impediment to competition in the region, simply because it has not allowed the entry of other airlines.

“I am convinced that ECCAA cannot be fixed,” Chastanet told the news conference, adding that he would like to move Saint Lucia’s Civil Aviation Authority away from ECCCAA.

“Moving our aviation to Trinidad will I believe, encourage other people to be able to open up an airline in Saint Lucia or in some of the other Islands,” he added.

Chastanet  has firmly stated that Saint Lucia would not be providing any financial support to the island-hopping carrier, LIAT, which has struggled over many years to stay in the air.

(66)(0)
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23 comments

  1. Caribbean Airlines is a FAILED AIRLINE with POOR SAFETY RECORD. Check out what happened in Guyana just a few years ago. I boarded it once long before that and swore that it would have been my last. Red lights flashing and having to turn back. I will stick to LIAT. better to arrive late than never. poor decision. poor choice that will haunt us if u do that.

    (66)(1)
  2. Is this carrier is coming to where am leaving and where it would be landing veuix fort or Castries cause am from the south

    (1)(0)
  3. St. Lucia as an independent country has the right to determine what is its best interest. However, the people of St. Lucia also need to take everything in to consideration. Firstly, they must imagine what it would be like if LIAT no longer served the country of St. Lucia.

    Secondly, for St. Lucia to demand certain things of LIAT while at the same time not being willing to become a shareholder is both hypocritical and unfair. The management of LIAT is tasked with running the airline as a business and not as a social service to the entire Caribbean. How can it be fair for Antigua, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and lately, Dominica to be the only ones putting financial resources behind this transition. The same argument is made of Grenada.

    We agree that LIAT needs to be run more on strict business lines and stop providing a social service to the entire Caribbean. We support dropping those unprofitable routes from LIAT's current schedule. Persons will be inconvenienced. But these are the harsh realities of LIAT's business. In the meantime, let's hope that Caribbean Airlines will be able to serve you better. Will the government of St. Lucia be paying subsidies to CAL for being its national carrier?

    (4)(1)
  4. Let's hurry up and get it done .

    (4)(31)
  5. What's wrong with this idea. Personally i see nothing wrong with it. St lucia needs to explore new avenues to help expand travel and tourism in general.

    (38)(56)
  6. I think the day liat decides that a government subsidized airline does not have to make a profit and just break even they will be much better off.

    (13)(0)
  7. I do hope that our island is not allocating public, taxpayer funds in a "sweetheart deal" with Caribbean Airlines to what is generally considered in the broader community to be a "beleaguered" and "cash-strapped" airline (Google it, go back from 2016 and follow the trail back several years).

    My fellow Looshans, ask our elected representatives in a non-partisan manner --- "How much taxpayer money will go to state-owned (TT, who needs the money, and selected stakeholders in our island's resort market that may be invited to the table) Caribbean Airlines. Also ask, what will be the benefits to the island (results), and how and when will they be measured? " Is there any non-published benefit of any kind being realized in any way that arises either directly or indirectly from the use of taxpayers' government funds?" The latter is a very basic question that is generally a addressed as a matter or routine with respect to showing solid governance, one of many routine questions in government transactions.

    Pull up the Annual Report of Caribbean Airlines. Pull up the last filed Annual Report of Air Jamaica. Compare their performance, as one metric, Revenue Passenger Miles (colloquially known as "bums in seats")

    A "national carrier" will make little difference to our island's economic development. 747's and Airbus 320's drive the island's economy with respect to the tourism component, not the "puddle jumper" inter-island money losing regional airlines.

    It is also worthy of noting that having a "national carrier" is completely contary to the government's stated intent for "open skies", as in no preferential treatment. That component undeniably fails the "smell test".

    That said, having a "national carrier" makes for a splashy media announcement with potentially lucrative publicity etc. It makes headlines and takes away from the over-arching, and festering need to address our islands broken economic and social fundamentals. The large money (foreign direct investment, or "FDI" for short) is no longer going to what used to be viewed as St. Lucia as a darling of the Caribbean. Our neighbouring islands are working harder for it and are getting that FDI that would otherwise be coming here.

    Look at the history of Air Jamaica and the winners and losers.

    In conclusion --- I do truly hope that this airline will do better than what happened with the crash-and-burn of the corporate entity formerly known as Air Jamaica, and that this will help lift our nation's economy with documentable results.

    For further reading, and certainly not a definitive list, below is media coverage that might be of interest and history of the two below, hopefully not on a similar path. To use a Latin expression, "Caveat Emptor"....

    https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/caribbean-airlines-could-become-saint-lucias-national-air-carrier/

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/air-jamaica--end-of-an-era_9161512

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2008/06/15/air-jamaica-bankrupt-government-support-of-airlines-will-never-be-profitable-but-might-be-necessary/

    http://www.caribbean360.com/business/caribbean-airlines-records-us60-million-losses-2014

    http://centreforaviation.com/analysis/status-quo-for-caribbean-airlines--chaos-surrounds-the-would-be-flag-carrier-of-the-region-163919

    http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=302869

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2555620/Americans-urged-NOT-use-Caribbean-Airlines-potential-threats.html

    http://nypost.com/2014/02/10/caribbean-airlines-flights-from-guyana-threatened-us-embassy/

    http://www.stabroeknews.com/2015/news/stories/01/19/jetblue-caribbean-airlines-planes-near-runway-crash-jfk/

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Trinidad-suspends-Caribbean-Airlines-pilots-to-investigate-near-aircraft-collision-in-US

    http://www.newsday.co.tt/businessday/0,221960.html

    http://avherald.com/h?article=48d9a49d

    http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/CAL-pilots-fed-up_16453744

    (169)(20)
  8. Can we get Jeb Blue and Southwest to fly into St. Lucia (SLU) Vigie from PR? Please!!!!! I love travel through Vigie instead of UVF.... Too far out.

    (26)(17)
  9. Do you have shares in lye-at. You ppl are quick to jump on others when you are no better

    (1)(0)
  10. Wow, that would be NICE! Cant wait for flights coming out of PR to Vigie. (SLU) Hope they can get more airlines willing to service St. Lucia. Liat needs to retire. The fair is high the service sucks and the aircrafts are old and broken. UPGRADE!!!

    (11)(4)
  11. I don't know, but something has to be done about LIAT.
    It is like some governments want to be held ransom by a company which refuses to improve. And one gets the feeling from other islands supporting LIAT that you must partake in an inefficient business.

    The damn arline NEEDS A SHAKEUP. Someone with balls needs to send a damn strong message to LIAT.

    (12)(1)
  12. Can the PM please tell us which airport they will use?

    (4)(12)
  13. Go and find out if he has shares in that business.

    (25)(69)
  14. if biwee actually goes to PR, im all for it! my parents in the VI don't have to be left with liat, nor wud i have to fly from south florida with biwee and have to overnight in tnt just to get to castries the next day....but only if CA actually flies to PR

    (10)(4)

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