PARAMARIBO, Suriname -- Caricom Airways, based in Paramaribo, Suriname, which operates a mixed fleet of small aircraft, plans to add four 50-seater aircraft to its fleet and begin scheduled service to Georgetown, Barbados, St Lucia and Boa Vista by December 2012 from its Paramaribo hub.
The airline has been in existence since 2004 and provides charter services to various destinations in Suriname, the Caribbean and Brazil.
CEO of Caricom Airways, Steven Chin-A-Kwie, thinks that small aircraft destinations are profitable and that their airfares will depend on the luggage factor, and intends to include 12 scheduled destinations into their network. Unlike Redjet that went out of business a few months ago, Caricom Airways will not be selling tickets at $9 because it’s not profitable says Chin-A-Kwie.
The company has recently recruited fifteen to twenty pilots and fifteen ground staff and mechanics, and is waiting for permits for certain destinations, such as those in Brazil. These regional scheduled flights will be operated from the airline’s hub at the Johan Pengel International Airport, Suriname, according to Chin-A-Kwie. This will enable travellers to connect to SLM and KLM flights out of Paramaribo. The company wants to develop Paramaribo into a regional transfer hub, especially now that the Johan Pengel Airport is undergoing an additional $70 million modernization.
Caricom Airways has had some setbacks since 2009 in launching flights from St Lucia to the Eastern Caribbean. The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) stopped the St Lucia-registered airline from flying in the Eastern Caribbean. Caricom Airways has an air operator's certificate AOC from the Civil Aviation Authority in Suriname, but the ECCAA demands that the airline must also get an AOC from them as well.