CASTRIES, St. Lucia -- Reaction was swift to the EC Xpress
announcement of suspension of service March 31 to five islands in
the eastern Caribbean.
Routes included Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and
Trinidad; service to Tobago was to have started May 5.
The line flew 25 daily flights on three 37-passenger Bombardier
Dash-8 turbo props from its operations hub in Barbados.
Representatives from Dominica and St. Vincent, in particular,
said they were "devastated" by the news.
"This loss of service means that travelers, particularly those
from the U.S., once again have very limited options for air
connections to our island," said a Dominica spokesman.
Apparently, the governments of the five destinations had little
advance notice the service was being terminated.
Allan Chastanet, director, said the routes were no longer viable
due to a glut of small commuter air services within the EC
"Since EC Xpress began service a year ago, other carriers
increased capacity on our routes," Chastanet said. "This resulted
in an excessive number of seats even though there is a shortage of
jet service from the eastern Caribbean to the rest of the
EC Xpress had a marketing and code-share alliance with Air
Chastanet said the three EC Xpress planes would be folded into
the fleet of Air Jamaica Express, based in Montego Bay,
The total employee count for EC Xpress was 75, and Chastanet
said that many of the technical staff would be employed by Air
Jamaica Express. Some of the nontech employees would join Sandals
Resorts in Jamaica.
EC Xpress, headquartered in St. Lucia, carried 75,000 passengers
in its first year of service.
All passengers holding tickets on EC Xpress were either
accommodated on other regional lines -- such as American Eagle,
BWIA Express, LIAT and Caribbean Star -- or given full refunds.