Air Caribbean plans to trade in its three Boeing 737-200s for newer -300s and expand international services with a fresh injection of equity from a potential new investor.

According to executive chairman Leslie Lucky-Samaroo, the Trinidad and Tobago-based carrier is in negotiations for an unidentified "large corporation" to take up to 49% interest in the company. The deal would include the supply of three replacement 737-300s.

The carrier hopes to dispose of its fully owned 737-200s by November and is in "negotiations to sell the aircraft to a US carrier", says Lucky-Samaroo. Air Caribbean hopes to use the replacement jets to launch new services to Jamaica and Venezuela by the end of the year.

An application has also been filed with the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to fly from Port of Spain to Orlando via Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and St Lucia. "The service would initially be limited to seasonal charter, but we've asked the DoT to relax the three-month period to fly all year," adds Lucky-Samaroo.

Air Caribbean has been operating scheduled services from Port of Spain to Miami since January and is now seeking US approval to extend this service to Guyana. The Miami application was granted in the face of opposition from BWIA and the carrier has since complained to the Trinidad licensing authority of predatory pricing on the route by BWIA and American Airlines.

The airline continues to look for a leased 767-200ER to launch services to New York and Toronto and is working to restore two grounded NAMC YS-11 turboprops to supplement four used on inter-island services. It has also opened talks on co-operation with Antigua-based start-up Caribbean Star.

Source: Flight International