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A Caribbean Airlines 737-800 landing in Miami. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Caribbean Airlines Finds Restart Through Jamaica Operations

As the COVID-19 remains a fluid one, Caribbean Airlines has taken steps to start rebuilding its island dominated route map with the relaunch of its Jamaican service. The airline started with resuming flights to New York-JFK, Miami, Toronto-Pearson and Bridgetown, Barbados. The airline will operate daily flights to the American cities once weekly for the Canadian destination and Monday and Friday flights to Barbados.

All operations will be done with Boeing 737-800 equipment and all flights will arrive into Kingston, Jamaica. New York service began on July 6 with BWA15 departing two hours late for the Big Apple at 9:05 a.m. The remaining routes begin on July 9, July 8 and July 13, respectively, and initiate the restart of U.S. service. Canadian flights will double with Sunday service starting July 19.

The Trinidad and Tobago-based airline has seen their home airport locked down to prevent cases from entering the island nation. The national carrier has been relegated to cargo and repatriation flights, of which both are still ongoing.

Caribbean Airlines CEO Garvin Medera commented on the restart, noting, “The resumption of phased commercial operations out of Jamaica marked a significant day for all stakeholders. Our teams and crews have been preparing for the restart of our flights and we have implemented several measures to keep our employees and passengers safe.”

Medera’s mention of safety measures was put in place in May, noting cleaning planes, enforcing the mask policy and passenger spacing to create social distancing as a key to the airline’s operations. The onset of COVID-19 in the tropics put a damper on Caribbean Airlines’ promising 2020, with early earning showing a 5.3% increase before losses of over $10 million which occurred during the shutdown.

Furthermore, Caribbean Airlines has attempted to keep the vital connection between Trinidad and Tobago open during the coronavirus, marking the route as an air-bridge that is commonly flown by citizens of the two islands and a large number of cargo operations. The air bridge was restarted in June and has recently expanded operations but flights are still closed to leisure travelers.

As for the hub in Jamaica, the ability to restart service at Caribbean Airlines comes in part of a merger between the flag carrier and Air Jamaica. The two airlines saw a merger as a way to solidify a place in the island market and merged into one Caribbean Airlines in 2015. The airline continues to operate now using a fleet of four Boeing 737-800s, down from 12 Boeing 737-800s and 7 ATR propeller planes at year’s start.

Ian McMurtry
Ian McMurtry
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