MIAMI — Caribbean Airlines, the national carrier of Trinidad and Tobago will return to lessor its Boeing 767 fleet as of the end of the first quarter of 2016. London Gatwick route will also be axed.
London service was launched amid much fanfare in June 2012. However, the route operated three times a week performed below the expectations, and the current management has opted to close it and return the Boeing 767-300s to ILFC. The aircraft will join Air Canada Rouge fleet thereafter.
Internal sources from the airline assure that Caribbean Airlines is taking steps to suspend loss-making routes and an optimization of the fleet. This year, the airline has returned two Boeing 737-800, and a two more are set to leave the fleet soon, thus reducing the fleet size to 12 of the type. ATR 72 fleet of five aircraft will remain without changes.
The move will allow Caribbean to reduce operational costs while focusing on its North American prime routes (Fort Lauderdale, New York and Toronto) to compete harder for the budget-wise leisure travelers on these routes, looking for the improvement of its load factors.
Since 2013, Caribbean Airlines saw its share of the US – Caribbean market plunge, partly attributed to the arrival of new Low-Cost carriers to the region and the increase of frequencies by U.S. mainline airlines. Since then, Caribbean has subsequently cut the number of flights to the United States and shed routes such as Miami and Philadelphia from its service. The future of Caracas in the network is uncertain, as the carrier has not been cleared to repatriate its income from the Latin American country. Last March, Caribbean has sought the support of its government to find a solution to the debt through diplomatic channels.