Caribbean Aviation Market: “Chasing the Sun”

By Roger Cannegieter

Sandy beaches, blue waters, clear skies, or isn’t it? Just like the rest of the world the Caribbean is experiencing difficult times because of record high oil prices and a softening economy in the United States. The economic slowdown is impacting the ability for airlines to secure yield improvements. Major cuts have been announced by the major United States based airlines and analysts fear more will follow. As the United States is the most important market to many Caribbean islands, the news of cuts in routes and frequencies by major United States airlines are giving worries to the Caribbean region but is it really that bad? This article will take a look at airline announcements, current developments in the Caribbean market and opportunities that might rise. The article will finalize with my conclusion.

Caribbean Aviation: Moving Forward?

By Roger Cannegieter

Airlines in the Caribbean region have always seen themselves as the national pride of the islands they represent. Pride and other emotions that are associated with traditional ‘flag carriers’ can be perceived as barriers against taking full advantage of the more rational arguments behind consolidation. In this article, Aerlines’ Caribbean correspondent Roger Cannegieter explores contemporary regional market developments.


Column: Aviation in Curacao: To be or not to be…

By Roger Cannegieter
A few weeks ago I e-mailed my short summary to my friends. One of the aerlines members of the editorial team invited me to post the story here. So here’s my general analyze of the aviation in Curaçao.

ATLANTIC AIRLINES GOING FORWARD
Atlantic Airlines sent a delegation to go excellarate obtaining its air operators certificate. Talks will also continue with banks for local funding and with CAP (airport) for available space at the airport. Negotiations with travel agencies, tour operators and the free trade zone are also ongoing. The airline says to have two Boeing 737-200Advanced aircraft already available by the end of October which could be flying by the 1st of December if all certificates have been obtained. Atlantic Airlines route structure aims at flights to the Dominican Republic, St. Maarten, Aruba, Bonaire, Venezuela and the United States.

ARUBA, CURACAO, BONAIRE
The air connection between Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire is improving. BonairExpress/CuraçaoExpress is doing a decent job in filling the gap DCA left behind with their ATR42. The 737 in my opinion is too large for island hopping with high frequency. Only during peak seasons an aircraft of this size can be attractive. Looking at the number of 737s Atlantic Airlines wants to start with (only two) island hopping might not be a bad move. Two daily flights or combining other Caribbean flights with Aruba might bring Atlantic Airlines more profits.

CARIBBEAN
The Caribbean is currently well served to Jamaica with Air Jamaica being the leader. BonairExpress/CuracaoExpress is covering the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba pretty well with satisfying loads reported. Connections to the Dominican Republic can be improved. Aeropostal of Venezuela currently flies from Curaçao to Santo Domingo on almost a daily basis. In the past both Aeropostal and DCA/ALM operated flights to Santo Domingo with decent load factors so it can be done. St. Maarten is currently underserved as BonairExpress/CuracaoExpress still doesn’t have enough capacity to increase its flights here. Atlantic Airlines can be the savior when they start 737 flights on this route. The number of passengers and cargo an aircraft of this size can carry is ideal for this route. Caribbean people are known for taking a lot of baggage when they fly so the 737 is a good aircraft for this route.

SOUTH AMERICA
Aeropostal, Aserca, Avior Airlines and AeroSol fly from approximately five destinations in Venezuela to Curaçao in total. The Venezuelan market is a large market which might attract more passengers in the future. Brazil so far has a small market which cannot scheduled flights, only charter flights. Same goes for Ecuador. These countries are great destinations as leisure charter markets but don’t offer enough demand for yearround flights, just seasonal services. With more Colombians discovering Curaçao, I would also focus more on this market as well. This market also has quite some potential…

NORTH AMERICA
Miami is the South American and Caribbean gateway to the U.S. All Latin American and Caribbean airlines have between two and four daily flights to Miami. American Airlines’ fortress hub in Miami also offers many flights. American Airlines currently has about nine flights per week to Curaçao. In the past ALM operated three daily flights with very good load factors, so more flights are possible. Atlantic Airlines can be a nice here. Surinam Airways will bring more competition on this route soon when they start Miami flights from Curacao. Atlantic Airlines is good for the local and regional travellers, but American Airlines can feed passengers from their entire U.S. network to Curaçao through their Miami hub. Most Latin American airlines flying to Miami have their own local markets that can support daily flights to Miami where American Airlines also takes a piece of the cake here. Canada has potential during the winter charter season.

EUROPE
No other European destination comes close to Holland here. Germany has some potential (especially divers) and Portugal as well. TAP Air Portugal operates charter flights to Curaçao to cater for the increasing Portuguese population on Curaçao. The Portuguese who live in Curaçao are the wealthier classes from Portugal (Funchal). I can see TAP operate scheduled flights again to Curaçao but now is not the right time yet. Two flights a week would be a nice start but this is still a long way ahead in my opinion.

CONCLUSION
As you can see Curaçao has potential. With tourism slowly increasing we might see a brighter future in the aviation as the success of the aviation is linked to the tourism for the biggest part. The local market of Curaçao cannot generate enough to fully support the aviation in its entirety. Just like all other Caribbean islands, Curaçao will always be heavily dependant on tourism. The charter business will play a significant part in this.

Airline of the World: Air Caraibes

by Roger Cannegieter

This article provides a short overview of the history of the former French Caribbean airlines and the formation of the ‘new’ Air Caraïbes as the main airline of the French Caribbean islands. It also pays attention to the aircraft and route network of Air Caraïbes.

Blog: Stealth, The Next Level?

By Roger Cannegieter
People familiar io the aviation industry all have seen the word ‘unmanned aircraft vehicle’ or UAV. These type of unmanned aircraft are now mainly used on high altitude photography for millitary purposes. Some years ago few people would have imagined these new aircraft types were actually going out on real-life missions. Let me introduce you the future of digital warfare…

A new generation of fighter jet has emerged. Fuel-type used is catalyzed A1 methane. The aircraft is made of Exoskeleton, a metal-ceramic composite with aeroelastic wings. These type of wings are actual ‘complete’ wings, no flaps and slats are attached to it, the wing bends itself to create lift and manoevrability. This new fighter jet uses pulse detonation engines with twin hybrid scramjet turbos. These new type of engines use combustors which are more thermodynamically efficient than today’s combustors. At the same time, engine systems based on these combustors are significantly simpler than current engine designs due to reduced air and fuel inlet pressure requirements. Current engines use deflagration which is what happens when you burn a mixture of air and fuel at reasonably low pressure. Detonation engines however is a far more powerful reaction of the air/fuel mixture and results in such a rapid reaction that the pressure-wave created travels at super-sonic speeds. The new fighter jet’s sensors can pick up any minor movement from five miles away.

This new fighter jet is the latest in unmanned combat aerial vehicles, or UCAVs. Even though this aircraft has so far only been seen in a movie, the terms used do raise questions about how far today’s air combat technology is. With the above mentioned technologies being studied while we speak my question is, to what extend will we actually see such fighter jet take to the skies performing our next new mission in today’s digital warfare. An advantage of these unmanned combat fighter jets is that no human pilot is used but instead decisions are accurately made using very high criteria and parameters calculated by on-board highly advanced computer systems and multiple back-up systems. Targets can be hit with almost a 100 percent accuracy. The disadavantage at the same time of these new fighter jets is that is uses computers which have no instinct or moral judgement or visual awareness of the surroundings as a human has. The difference between a computer and a human is that computers have a more ‘black-on-white’interpretation on most things as it currently lacks the characteristics that a human being has. Another crucial condition is that the information that is being fed to the computer must be accurate in order for the computer to make the ‘right’ decisions.

Even though the computer may still have its weak points we all know that computer technologies nowadays are becoming more ‘realistic’ and are increasingly able to make more precise decisions, in some cases even better than a human being will ever be able to. A computer calculates the risks that come along with each crucial decision in a matter of seconds taking a hundred or more variables into account before making the split-second decision. Humans are increasingly becoming dependant on computer technologies and the evolvement of the so-called artificial intelligence in our new ‘digital-world’.

In my opinion we are getting closer to this new type of digital aircraft. Eventually the technologies will be advanced enough and tested enough to take a more important role in today’s digital warfare. One thing which will be tough to beat is the way humans can work. The simple methods that are sometimes used are almost impossible to beat, even for the most highly advanced computers. But once a target is defined and acquired, we will get to the point where a computer will get you a 100 percent accuracy. The questions only remains: When will we be able to get the right information which contains no errors?

What is your view on this?

Boeing 7E7: Launching a New Generation

This article focuses on the suppliers for the Boeing 7E7 new generation aircraft as well as technologies used in the 7E7 compared to current technologies. Furthermore, the articles provides some information on competitive aircraft like the 767, 757, A330, A300, A310 worldwide airliner fleet to determine the market demand based on this information. The article is closed with a look ahead.Download article here.

Boeing 7E7: Efficiently going to a New Generation

The 7E7 is intended to replace 757, 767 and A300 aircraft. Boeing was looking to fill up the gap between the 737NG and 777, which up until now, was the 757/767 combination. Many people don’t see the 757/767 as an old aircraft, but the 757/767 hasn’t been selling well the last few years. Airlines are loosing interest in the 757/767 and the 757/767 productions was even threatened to be closed all together if no more sales were coming in from customers. This made Boeing decide to come up with an all-new aircraft featuring the latest in aviation technologies, explaining the ‘dolphin-like’ design of the 7E7. Editor Roger Cannegieter about the decision made by Boeing to come up with an all-new aircraft featuring the latest in aviation technologies.

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