Caribbean Airlines will face new competition later this month when the Barbadian short haul, low-cost carrier, REDjet, begins its commercial operations to Trinidad.
The development follows a three month saga in which Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica denied entry to REDjet due to safety concerns.
The controversy has sparked a debate in the region concerning the cost of intra-regional travel, competition and safety in the aviation industry.
While many critics remain unconvinced that the low-cost business model will work in regional skies, REDjet is expected to make Port of Spain its third destination (it currently operates between Barbados and Guyana).
Similar upstart carriers who have failed include: Carib Express, Air Jamaica’s EC Express, Caribbean Star and Caribbean Sun.
How Will Caribbean Airlines Benefit?
So what will the new entry mean for industry leading Caribbean Airlines - which was recognised as the Caribbean’s Leading Airline in 2010 by the prestigious World Travel Awards?
The launch of REDjet’s new route from Barbados to Trinidad on July 28th, could mark an opportunity for Caribbean Airlines carrier to carve a niche for itself and secure its reputation amongst high end travellers.
That is assuming REDjet is successful in its mission to tap into the budget market.
Trinidad-based carrier Caribbean Airlines, which reported a 92 per cent on-time performance in March, already goes the extra mile to offer an excellent service for business and economy travellers, with its promise to make passengers “feel special”.
Caribbean Airlines business class passengers can enjoy services such as a dedicated check-in, a business class lounge, offering privacy and comfort, priority booking and baggage retrieval and fast-track facilities. Meanwhile in-flight, passengers are promised authentic Caribbean cuisine, fine wines and a high level of hospitality.
Pictured, left to right: James Khan, WTA global sales director, joins Robert Corbie, vice president customer experience and commercial, Caribbean Airlines and David Falcon, WTA senior vice president, presenting the award for Caribbean’s Leading Airline in 2010
Just a few months on from its major acquisition of Air Jamaica, Caribbean Airlines has been integrating its operations so as to achieve its “one airline, two brands” strategy as seamlessly as possible.
Caribbean Airlines’ reservations and booking system has been enhanced to improve functionality along with the customer experience.
Although some teething problems are expected, a statement from Air Jamaica explained: “Airlines are often susceptible to the initial problems associated with the migration of large amount of data since there is also a steep learning curve for our personnel.”
According to a recent index published by Global Traveller, following the acquisition of Air Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago’s air travel ranking has climbed, meanwhile Jamaica’s ranking dropped five spots below T&T for the first time ever.
T&T is at 102 compared with 110 in 2010 and 104 in 2009.
Meanwhile Jamaica dipped two places to rank 107 out of 192 countries on the Flight Connectivity Index (FCI), which measures air route connectivity.
Caribbean Airlines is likely to evolve into the dominant carrier in the region following the recent acquisition of Air Jamaica
Caribbean Airlines sets itself apart from other carriers as it is committed to customers and employees, as well as the environment and social initiatives.
“We recognise that we fly in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and we want to protect our wondrous ecosystem to keep it beautiful,” argues the company.
In order to achieve this, the carrier subscribes to carbon offsetting practices, such as investing in wing tips for its Boeing 737-800 fleet, which decreased CO2 emissions by up to 3,825 tonnes in 2008.
In addition to its green initiatives, Caribbean Airlines participates in career days and supports youth and educational projects, in order to contribute to the involvement of the young generation in current affairs and promote the concept of civil society in the region.
Last week Caribbean Airlines operated its inaugural flight to Orlando, Florida.
Also in the Caribbean today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new guide to Trinidad & Tobago.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.