by Anthony Wilson (Trinidad Guardian) After COVID-19 resulted in a near-death experience in 2020, majority state-owned Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) is now seeking to transform its fortunes with ambitious plans for new routes, new aircraft along with the hiring of additional staff.
In a signal of the airline’s new thrust, CAL’s American law firm, Condon & Forsyth LLP, filed an application with the US Department of Transportation “to operate to the full extent authorised by the Air Transport Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of T&T.”
In an operational forecast annex to 58-page document, CAL makes specific reference to Puerto Rico and St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands as new the routes.
The airline projects rapid growth for these new US destinations. An operational forecast in the application projects CAL transporting 5,339 passengers to and from Puerto Rico and earning US$694,228 in revenue in 2023. But the airline expects the Puerto Rico route to quadruple in 2024 with 21,356 passengers and revenues of US$2,776,280.
CAL’s predecessor company, BWIA, serviced Puerto Rico as part of a route that started in Miami, flew to Grand Cayman and Montego Bay with continuing no-change-of-plane service to Kingston, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Antigua, St Lucia, Barbados and Port of Spain, according to information on Wikipedia.
St Thomas would be a new destination for the national airline of T&T and it also forecast rapid growth in the US Virgin Islands. CAL projects that in 2023, it would transport 2,613 passengers to St Thomas, earning US$418,785. It expects that destination to increase by six times in 2024, with 15,678 passengers and US$2,508,480 in revenue.