Caribbean Airlines Ltd. (CAL) is moving to expand its routes to include some of the other Eastern Caribbean islands.
Trinidad and Tobago Works and Transport Minister Austin “Jack” Warner in making the announcement hinted that one of the future plans for the airline was to have more mergers with other airlines to become the only Caribbean airline.
He said CAL was already in discussions with Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo as the airline will soon be flying direct from Guyana to New York.
However, admitting that the expansion could negatively impact LIAT, Warner said this move would also serve to improve LIAT’s standards.
He said the intention is to incorporate LIAT into one airline in the Caribbean.
CAL recently signed a deal with a French-based aircraft manufacturer to purchase nine new turbo prop aircraft at a cost of US$200 million.
The new planes would allow for further penetration in the southern Caribbean by CAL as part of its development strategy, said CAL chairman George Nicholas.
However, St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said if CAL wants to service routes in the southern and eastern Caribbean, those in authority in Trinidad and Tobago must talk with their regional counterparts.
Gonsalves, who is chairman of LIAT shareholders, said he had no problems with CAL operating in the region commercially, but they opposed the view that tourism would not be a priority for CAL.