News & Media

Caribbean Airlines Mulls Port-of-Spain – SXM – London Gatwick Service

SIMPSON BAY, St. Maarten (March 3, 2014) - Caribbean Airlines is mulling the possibility of including St. Maarten in its London Gatwick route, the airline’s new CEO, Capt. Jagmohan Singh told a St. Maarten delegation led by Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunications, Hon. Ted Richardson during a trade meeting at the recently concluded Routes Latin America held in El Salvador. Also in the delegation was Regina LaBega, managing director of SXM Airport.

Capt. Singh disclosed that the carrier had run some preliminary numbers in anticipation of the possibility to include SXM in its London Gatwick (LGW) route. Caribbean Airlines currently uses a B767 aircraft on its Port-of-Spain – London Gatwick (POS – LGW) service, which, he said, may result in capacity restrictions, as a result of the terrain at SXM.

However, prior research showed that approximately 14,500 UK travelers visit SXM, making their connection via Charles de Gaulle (CDG), Paris, France, or Schiphol (AMS), Amsterdam, Netherlands. This, according to Capt. Singh, shows that there is interest and demand. In addition, he pointed out that a London Gatwick (LGW) service, operated with a B767, would offer cargo opportunities, a critical revenue stream for SXM Airport.

Nevertheless, he said additional information was required to further explore the possibility of a double stop flight, as well as weigh a possible Piarco, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad – Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) – London Gatwick (POS-SXM-LGW) route versus a Port-of-Spain – London Gatwick – Princess Juliana International Airport (POS -LGW - SXM) route.

The Caribbean Airlines CEO also expressed willingness to explore connectivity to the Air Service Development Committee (ASDC) members and beyond. The seven-member ASDC members include Anguilla, French St. Martin, St. Barths, Saba, St. Eustatius, Nevis, and Dominica.

“People are very aware of your brand,” Capt. Singh said “and this definitely will help in developing year-round service into your market.”

For her part, LaBega said the discussions with Caribbean Airlines concerning service from SXM Airport to London is in line with the intention of the destination to open up the UK market.

“In fact, we are leaving no stone unturned in this effort as we also talked to British Airways (BA) during the Routes Latin America gathering in El Salvador. BA told us that SXM is still very much in consideration to be serviced by the carrier, especially following the presentation SXM, along with its country partners, gave to BA in October last year,” LaBega said.

“At that time, the double stop with, for example, Tobago, was presented as a possibility, during a meeting with Mr. Colm Lacy, Head of Commercial for BA at London Gatwick Airport. Due to slot constraints at London's Heathrow airport, new service opportunities would only exist in and out of London Gatwick, it was disclosed then,” LaBega recalled.

“We are excited that both Caribbean Airlines and British Airways see the possibility of servicing SXM and hope to make this a reality soon,” LaBega added.