Antigua -- The need for more carriers and more airline seats in the
Caribbean -- a region described as ripe for competition by Edward
Gilkes, CEO of Caribbean Star -- is a factor that has contributed
to the rapid growth of his carrier, he said.
Our rate of
growth since our formation in 2000 has been phenomenal, beginning
with 30% in the first year, and another 25% on top of that each
succeeding year since, Gilkes said. We anticipate another 15% to
20% growth this year.
healthy, according to Gilkes. It forces us to stay on our toes, to
scrutinize our competition and to pay close attention to whats
happening in our own backyard.
Stars backyard are several carriers, including BWIA, LIAT, Air
Jamaica and American Eagle.
Gilkes, who ruled
out a possible merger of BWIA and LIAT, despite industry talk in
some circles that certain Caribbean countries want the merger to
take place, said that the presence of these carriers helps all of
us keep fares in line and stay focused on customer
Air Jamaica is
less of a competitive threat to Caribbean Star because we dont
serve Jamaica and we dont fly to the U.S.
sister airline, Caribbean Sun, which was formed in 2002, competes
with American Eagle from San Juan to Tortola, St. Maarten and St.
Our names are
similar, but we are separate airlines under the same owner, Gilkes
Caribbean Star is
headquartered in Antigua; Caribbean Sun, based in Fort Lauderdale,
runs operations from San Juan.
Caribbean Star last year, following a 35-year career in the
industry, most recently with LIAT.
Star has more
than 100 flights a day in the English-speaking Caribbean, as far
north as Tortola and as far south as Guyana, Gilkes
flight is its two-hour Barbados-to-Guyana service; its most
successful routes are Barbados to St. Lucia, five flights daily,
and Barbados to St. Vincent, also five flights a day.
fastest-growing route is between Barbados and Port of Spain,
Trinidad, where we have four flights daily, Gilkes said.
could be in the works, although Gilkes declined to say where. He
did rule out plans to expand to the U.S. mainland or to merge with
reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].